Microsoft to allow open source apps in Windows 8 Store

Microsoft to allow open source apps in Windows 8 Store

Summary: Microsoft is providing a loophole in its Windows 8 Store developer agreement that allows for inclusion of OSI-licensed open source apps.

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Microsoft is planning to allow applications licensed under Open Source Iniative (OSI) approved licenses to be distributed via the Windows 8 app store.

That tidbit comes from a December 7 post on "The H" (which I saw via PCWorld). The H combed through a pre-release version of Microsoft's Windows Store App Developer Agreement and found mention of how open-source apps will be grandfathered in.

The H explained:

"Apps that are released under an Open Source Initiative-recognised open source licence can, at least in the pre-release version of the Windows Store, be distributed according to terms that contradict Microsoft's Standard Application License Terms if this is required by the open source licence. Among other things, the Standard Application License Terms prohibit the sharing of applications."

This loophole may help open-source developers avoid the kinds of issues encountered by some who were stymied Apple's more restrictive iOS App Store terms and conditions.

Microsoft officials shared more details about the coming Windows Store earlier this week. Metro-style applications will be licensable, marketable and downloadable from the Windows 8 Store. Non-Metro-style Desktop Apps will only be marketable from inside the store, with links provided to developers' sites for sales/downloads.

If you need a refresher as to what a "Metro-style" app is, here's my post from the Build conference about Metro earlier this year. And here's an updated architectural diagram, courtesy of Microsoft Most Valuable Professional Rockford Lhotka, with more detail as to what Metro vs. Desktop Apps on x86/x64-based Windows 8 looks like.

I've had a few developers ask me whether Microsoft will allow the use of open-source languages/development environments -- like PHP, Ruby, Python, Eclipse, etc. -- to create Windows 8 apps. The Windows 8 architectural diagrams (from Microsoft and others) make me believe the answer is no, even though HTML5/JavaScript/CSS are all supported (and treated as better than first-class citizens in Windows 8)....Anyone know otherwise?

Topics: Software, Microsoft, Open Source, Operating Systems, Windows

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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23 comments
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  • Linux fanbois will interject that this is some sort of evil trap

    Given the overreaction to Mono, zealots will have a problem with this as well.
    Your Non Advocate
    • Never trust the devil

      Embrace, extend, extinguish...
      ScorpioBlue
      • RE: Microsoft to allow open source apps in Windows 8 Store

        @ScorpioBlue

        Do you even know the basis behind that line being used by the Supreme Court? Furthermore, do you really think is has any real bearing on what is being done with Mono? And, lastly, what relevance does it have to the app store?
        Michael Alan Goff
      • RE: Microsoft to allow open source apps in Windows 8 Store

        [i]Do you even know the basis behind that line being used by the Supreme Court?[/i]

        Apparently you don't know, Goff.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embrace,_extend_and_extinguish

        It didn't originate with the Supreme Court but applied to internal memos circulating around Microsoft regarding control of both the internet and marketshare.

        [i]Furthermore, do you really think is has any real bearing on what is being done with Mono?[/i]

        If you want to know where the distrust of Microsoft in the FOSS community comes from, then look no further.

        [i]And, lastly, what relevance does it have to the app store?[/i]

        Because those open source apps won't stay open source once Microsoft controls it's distribution, that's why.

        Get a clue, Goff. Think before you speak.
        ScorpioBlue
      • RE: Microsoft to allow open source apps in Windows 8 Store

        My mistake, internal memo.

        As for the distrust of the OSS, they obviously need to move on from a 10+ year old case. As for the nature of the store, I suppose that you have evidence.

        No?

        Kindly get some evidence, or kindly go away.

        Please?
        Michael Alan Goff
      • The devil is still there

        [i]My mistake, internal memo.[/i]

        You're always full of mistakes. That's why you need me to guide you.

        [i]As for the distrust of the OSS, they obviously need to move on from a 10+ year old case.[/i]

        Nope. Because they need to be reminded. Continuously.

        [i]As for the nature of the store, I suppose that you have evidence.[/i]

        That wiki link up above provides a track record for you. I don't need to hold your hand and spell it out for you.

        [i]Kindly get some evidence, or kindly go away.

        Please?[/i]

        No.
        ScorpioBlue
      • RE: Microsoft to allow open source apps in Windows 8 Store

        So all you have is a 10 year old case.
        Michael Alan Goff
      • RE: Microsoft to allow open source apps in Windows 8 Store

        In legal circles, 10 years isn't that long.

        As I said, never trust the devil.
        ScorpioBlue
      • RE: Microsoft to allow open source apps in Windows 8 Store

        @ScorpioBlue

        In legal circles when you are talking about tech? Yes, 10 years is a hell of a long time and should not really be being litigated anymore, if the company has changed their behavior, as Microsoft has.
        Lerianis10
        • @lerianis10

          "In legal circles when you are talking about tech? Yes, 10 years is a hell of a long time and should not really be being litigated anymore"

          please pass that message along to M$'s patent troll department.
          asmoore82
  • RE: Microsoft to allow open source apps in Windows 8 Store

    I am sure open source to build apps will be allowed but they have to fit in the programming model, so I expect things like JQuery, IOC containers, and some MVVM frameworks etc will show up with open source licenses .
    nanderto
  • What is the deal

    Can someone explain to me the rationale behind [i]not[/i] allowing open source in? I don't see what the issue is, but I may be missing something.

    Does it have to do with MS's right to revoke? If so, I'd rather see [i]that[/i] go. :)
    x I'm tc
    • Sharing of applications

      @jdakula

      You can't share a Metro app but you can't restrict the use of an OSI app. Therefore the OSI license will take precedence over the Windows app policy.
      LiquidLearner
  • RE: Microsoft to allow open source apps in Windows 8 Store

    Nice reporting as always. You're one of the tech journalists whom always just reports instead of trying to take a buddy-buddy tone or being overly prejudiced against certain technologies. Always like reading your stuff.
    Dodgson1832
    • Thanks!

      Appreciate the kind words. MJ
      Mary Jo Foley
  • About Mono

    So, regarding to Mono: What effects this story will have to it? Is this a good or a bad thing to Mono ?
    ovabus
  • windows is a free software

    who will show windows kernel for the open source developers for developing a good and precise applications for windows 8 and why use open source funs windows 8 ?
    I don't think that the open source fans will use windows!
    petux7
  • RE: Microsoft to allow open source apps in Windows 8 Store

    I worry about open source apps ever since I took a course on IT security, the fact is that with open source apps you either pursue a caveat emptor strategy and if you get screwed it's your own fault or you build into your app store the ability to check out the app before you purchase it, which presumes users know enough to recognize a threat when they sees it. A managed app store like Apple's is much safer. I'll be keeping my iPad and Linux, and my personal information safer, thanks you.
    CAP198462
  • RE: Microsoft to allow open source apps in Windows 8 Store

    I worry about open source apps ever since I took a course on IT security, the fact is that with open source apps you either pursue a caveat emptor strategy and if you get screwed it's your own fault or you build into your app store the ability to check out the app before you purchase it, which presumes users know enough to recognize a threat when they see it. A managed app store like Apple's is much safer. I'll be keeping my iPad and Linux, and my personal information safer, thanks you.
    CAP198462
  • RE: Microsoft to allow open source apps in Windows 8 Store

    I worry about open source apps ever since I took a course on IT security, the fact is that with open source apps you either pursue a caveat emptor strategy and if you get screwed it's your own fault or you build into your app store the ability to check out the app before you purchase it, which presumes users know enough to recognize a threat when they see it. A managed app store like Apple's is much safer. I'll be keeping my iPad and Linux, and my personal information safer, thanks you.
    CAP198462