09.13.09

Microsoft Licences Grow Unpopular While the GPL — Despite FUD — Keeps Expanding

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD, GPL, Microsoft at 5:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Summary: A look at unrest caused by Microsoft licensing and FUD which entities close to Microsoft throw at the favoured alternative

WE previously provided many citations regarding Microsoft EULAs and also some critique of the SUSE EULA. Microsoft, unlike Novell, is able to get away with a very appalling EULA because a lot of computers have Microsoft software tied to them, whether the buyer accepts the terms or not.

According to this new report from IDG, Microsoft’s software licensing is becoming a “nightmare” to businesses.

Despite efforts from Microsoft over the years to simplify its software licensing for businesses, a new analyst report said it’s more complex than ever for companies to figure out the most cost-effective way to acquire products from the vendor.

A new report by Directions on Microsoft analysts Paul DeGroot and Rob Horwitz called “5 Reasons Why Microsoft Licensing Is Hard” claims that Microsoft licensing isn’t likely to get any easier any time soon, mainly because Microsoft is not motivated to make it so. The report is available online and is connected to a series of “boot camps” the firm hosts to help companies get up to speed on Microsoft licensing.

Compare the complexity of Microsoft licences to the simplicity of the GPL. The GPL encourages any business to download and to spread not only the program but also the code. It is free for everyone to use. How can any business overlook such fantastic opportunity?

Microsoft spreads a lot of GPL FUD [1, 2] probably because it fears that more businesses will realise the appeal of Free software. Just watch how Microsoft deals with GPL-licensed software that it was forced to disclose and make available because it had violated the GPL [1, 2]. Microsoft lost interest in developing this code, as evidenced by some Novell-Microsoft trouble over the maintenance of a loadable module. From IDG comes the following Kroah-Hartman (Novell employee) quote:

“Unfortunately the Microsoft developers seem to have disappeared, and no one is answering my emails. If they do not show back up to claim this driver soon, it will be removed in the 2.6.33 [kernel] release. So sad…,” he wrote.

Lastly, speaking of Free software FUD, less than a week ago we wrote about the Gartner Group throwing some more FUD at such Free software. IDG, with its apparent bias against the GPL , more or less parrots Gartner, whereas OStatic directly challenges these claims.

No, the Cloud is Not Killing Open Source

Andrea DiMaio from the Gartner Blog Network asks an interesting question in a post titled “Is Cloud Computing Killing Open Source in Government?,” and InfoWorld [IDG] weighs in on the issue as well. One might as well not limit the question to government usage.

[...]

For that matter, Cloudera, which provides commercial support for the open source Hadoop software framework, straddles the worlds of cloud computing and open source precisely in the middle. Countless ambitious cloud initiatives rely on Hadoop, such as this one at the New York Times. As another example of how cloud computing and open source can walk down common paths, Ulteo, which we’ve covered before, allows users to use the OpenOffice applications online, and offers them free storage. Ulteo is very competitive with Zoho and Google Docs in terms of quality of its offering, but it’s combining cloud services with open source.

Why all the hostility towards Free software from analysts who are regularly doing business (monetary transactions) with Microsoft? A cynic might begin to theorise that Microsoft is not a fan of Free software.

“Open source is an intellectual-property destroyer [...] I can’t imagine something that could be worse than this for the software business and the intellectual-property business. I’m an American; I believe in the American way, I worry if the government encourages open source, and I don’t think we’ve done enough education of policymakers to understand the threat.”

Jim Allchin, President of Platforms & Services Division at Microsoft

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