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06.12.08

What Open Source Means to Microsoft, Nokia

Posted in DRM, Fraud, GNU/Linux, GPL, Kernel, Microsoft, Novell, Patents at 2:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Play by the rules or pick up those toys and go home”

Microsoft’s understanding of open source consistently mirrors its own ambitions — ones that define it to be hybrid and vendor-dependent. Here is the latest example.

It’s official: Microsoft will not accept any external code contributions to its planned Dynamic Language Runtime (DLR), which will run Microsoft’s new scripting languages for the web and Silverlight content on .NET

Microsoft will, though, continue to accept source-code contributions to its slowly emerging implementation of Ruby for .NET, IronRuby. Contributions are helping to build IronRuby and shepherd the language towards the first-full release.

[...]

The reason Microsoft decided to leave the DLR closed, despite taking contributions to the languages that will run inside it, is to protect itself from unwanted licenses and IP claims.

If you look more closely you’ll find that what Microsoft wants is free labour — moreover labour that results in developers and end-user getting dependent on proprietary and pricey programs.

“Give us code, lots of code, more code…”

“But it’s ours. We control it.”

That’s not open source (Free software aside). The story behind Microsoft's grab of Ruby with .NET is noteworthy also, particularly in light of those Silverlight-bound ‘extensions’. It’s mainly about control. Remember what Microsoft said just days ago and this quick interpretation also: “So could you ask, what is this collaborative development, this new syntagm [Microsoft's] Mr. Matusow is using all over the place? Well, buried deep towards the very end of his post,”

Sadly enough, Nokia too seems far from committed. It is adamant about enforcing software patents, DRM and other consumer-hostile mechanisms. Bruce Pernes has just responded to that latest lecture from Ari Jaaksi.

…perhaps the community has some education for Jaaksi and Nokia. Jaaksi hosted me at a Nokia dinner in 2000, he’s a nice guy and has been interested in Linux for a long time. But Nokia’s barking up the wrong tree this time, because Nokia can do everything it wants with DRM, IPR, and SIM locks without bothering the Linux developers about it – and both Nokia and the Linux developers will like it better that way. It’s surprising that Nokia doesn’t understand that at this late date.

Here is what Pamela Jones said about this: “Do what you like, but if you wish to use the code, you obey the license. If not, please write your own. Personally, I won’t use DRM’d products. I can wait. I understand Hollywood is a problem for you, but until they wake up and realize they are destroying their old business model by scrupulously avoiding any new ones, instead trying to graft the old one onto a new age, I’ll just avoid their offerings. I can live without Hollywood, I find, when it’s something this vital. I understand that puts Nokia in a tough spot, because they want to do deals with Hollywood. Go ahead and do deals, but leave me out. And please don’t use FOSS code until you are ready to play by the rules. I just won’t buy or use any Nokia phones if you break the rules. I think that’s fair.”

Why can’t these 2 companies simply abide by the rules and spirit of the licences/establishments they embrace (OSI in the former case and GPL in the latter)? Novell is no exception. Novell too happens to be among those sinners. It uses GNU/Linux to sell proprietary software (“mixed source”) and it signs software patent deals.

Gates on SUSE

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5 Comments

  1. Bob said,

    June 13, 2008 at 8:42 am

    Gravatar

    You are aware that open source isn’t about freedom, but about making useful programs? What MS and Nokia are doing here are taking the fruits of the community and using it to make their own offerings better. Everything is fine as long as the product gets better, right? Open source isn’t like free software

  2. Lyle Howard Seave said,

    June 13, 2008 at 9:11 am

    Gravatar

    @Bob:
    Open source IS free software but Tienman, Raymond and company thought up of the new name in 1998. Free as in libre scares some people.
    Just because you just fell off the turnip truck Bob doesnt mean we all did.

    The freedom you refer too is the Four Freedoms of the GPL, not of this thing you call ‘open source’ which has become a bastardized word that even Microsoft uses.

    If you use GPLed code, you have to respect the four freedoms.
    If you dont, you can use BSD or Microsoft licenses.
    Same thing with MS and Nokia, they can participate and use the fruits of the community work but MUST abide by all the tenets (read the MS ‘open source’ license to see the subtle differences which make it incompatible with the GPL) of the license.

    Roy is right, Microsoft wants free labour and to get to control the code.
    They get to pick and choose and call it open source.

  3. Ajay said,

    June 13, 2008 at 10:28 pm

    Gravatar

    i think most organizations are fool and insecure because they are not using open source.
    please check what is open source
    some time open source software vendor not provide any support for the failure.
    not every things comes free dear some one in paying for it.
    do you thing end customer has any thing to do with source code?

  4. Victor Soliz said,

    June 13, 2008 at 10:44 pm

    Gravatar

    16

    You are aware that open source isn’t about freedom, but about making useful programs?

    You are aware that you are incredibly wrong/misinformed? That statement is so wrong that the only logical explanation is that you are some sort of drone from MS, if you are not, please get informed:

    Please memorize this:
    http://opensource.org/docs/definition.php

    My favs:

    5. No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups
    10. License Must Be Technology-Neutral

    However, Just open source is not enough, the ideal is something that fulfills both open source and free software:

    * The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).
    * The freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your needs (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
    * The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).
    * The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements to the public, so that the whole community benefits (freedom 3). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

    More things to memorize: http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html

  5. Roy Schestowitz said,

    June 13, 2008 at 11:30 pm

    Gravatar

    Under almost all circumstances, most expenses are not acquisition-related, but maintenance- or customisation-related instead. The whole idea of Free software is based on the assumption that better business and better software can be made this way.

    Gates: No! There are no significant bugs in our released software that any significant number of users want fixed.

    FOCUS: Oh, my God. I always get mad at my computer if MS Word swallows the page numbers of a document which I printed a couple of times with page numbers. If I complain to anybody they say “Well, upgrade from version 5.11 to 6.0″.

    Gates: No! If you really think there’s a bug you should report a bug. Maybe you’re not using it properly. Have you ever considered that?

    FOCUS: Yeah, I did…”

    Bill Gates, FOCUS Magazine, 1995

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