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Re: MS declaration of war



At 6/21/01 04:13 PM -0400, you wrote:
While this is slightly off topic, it will be of interest to enough people
here to be worth the post (certainly more so than my mustang owners thread!)

This is from Microsoft's new EULA for the Mobile Internet SDK.  I call it an
open declaration of war, and [...]

...and again I'm forced to (partially) disagree with you.


First, I'm as upset about Microsoft's bully tactics as anyone else, including (but not limited to) their strong-arming, their price-gouging, their competition-stifling, and their use of vaporware and restrictive licensing.

Second, I'll use "SDK" in this email to represent MS software subject to such licensing, and "GPL" to represent all of what MS calls "Potentially Viral Software." Consider them generic terms just so this email is easier to read.

Having said all that about MS, they do have one valid concern. I'll just highlight that phrase from your text:

For purposes of the foregoing, "Potentially Viral Software" means software which is licensed pursuant to terms that: (x) create, or purport to create, obligations for Microsoft with respect to the Software or (y) grant, or purport to grant, to any third party any rights to or immunities under Microsoft's intellectual property or proprietary rights in the Software.

The GPL requires that, when you use GPL-licensed software, that any software you distribute in conjunction with it also abide by its terms. So, if you wrote something on Linux and used GPL-licensed tools to develop it and *also* wanted to include the MS SDK, then you'd be agreeing to subject MS to the GPL for their SDK... a big no-no to MS, who has no interest in having their software be subject to the GPL.


Also, the only conditions are that you not (a) distribute the SDK with GPL-licensed software and (b) not using GPL-licensed tools to build things that require the distribution of the SDK. Both are situations in which you would commit the MS SDK to live under GPL license.

Sure, you'd have no legal right to do so and MS could sue your ass off, but by the time 270,000 programmers did the same there'd be a legal morass the size of Alabama to dig out of.

Their text is inflammatory and war-like, they're being assholes about it, they're taking every chance they can to smear others, they're being sleazy, they're doing a lot of things wrong and I'm highly upset about the way they're doing this... but somewhere in there is a grain of logic and reason in what that text says: they don't want *you* committing *them* to licensing terms *they* don't want applied to *their* software.

I'm already moving away from all MS products slowly; I'll just continue to influence the world in what way I can to do the same.


-- Rodolfo J. Paiz rpaiz gold guate net





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