Home > Microsoft > Microsoft’s Windows Communications Protocol Licence Explained Microsoft’s Windows Communications Protocol Licence Explained Submitted by Seb Flyte 2005-03-18 Microsoft 16 Comments Microsoft is guilty of breaking EU competition law, and has come up with a way to make amends. ZDNet dissects the resulting licence and find a very peculiar world indeed. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 16 Comments 2005-03-18 11:33 pm these guys crack me up. the way they keep on playing around with all these govt orgs trying to prevent their monopoly… stuff like this scare me from M$ products… 2005-03-18 11:58 pm I wrote Microsoft recently to urge them to change their license. The chance of this is probably about the same as a penguin not breaking a sweat in hell, but I figured I would take it directly to the sole player who could effect quite a number of businesses who would like to ship OTHER OPERATING SYSTEMS with the PCs they sell, and suffer no penalty for it because of standing ‘licensing’ agreements with Microsoft. To me, a software license is not much beyond a simple copyright statement, to protect the company from being ripped off, and to let the public know how the company expects their product to be reasonably used. Reasonably. I tried to explain to Microsoft that, while it’s probably illegal what they are doing beyond the scope of what is reasonable–that is, what one would normally expect a license to do, and to cover–it is also unfair and goes against their proclamations of being fair in the wake of the Antitrust suits. If I wrote a book, I’d have a copyright page like other books, but I wouldn’t have a ‘license’ there telling the reader that he couldn’t read it in the backyard, for instance. Or one saying that he had to read it only while standing on one leg. Again: Reasonableness should apply. Some common sense. A ‘license’ should do everything to reasonably protect the product. I don’t think anybody would argue with that, and I surely don’t think it extends to ensuring dominance left and right, and extending their power through the proxy control of other companies with whom they license the product. Third parties should not be placed in a position of helping to maintain a monopoly, nor should that be the price of working with a company to survive and put food on the table. I won’t lie: I never liked Microsoft. I’d love to see them blown off the face of the planet by a healthy dose of competition. If the field were leveled, they would *NOT* stand a chance in hell of surviving (and I really don’t believe they will survive for too much longer, anyway). An open challenge to Microsoft: change those licenses to the point where they’re not much more than copyright, and we’ll see who is boss. –EyeAm (stakes sign into ground: OPEN Season) 2005-03-19 1:12 am From what I understand, the EU ruling & fine earlier, came down to: MSFT can make their own closed-source software, they can make up their own closed specs, but when it becomes vital enough for the IT industry as a whole, at least specs that allow inter-operation, MUST be opened enough, so that 3rd parties can make their own implementations. So MSFT goes through a years-long court case, gets handed a record fine, and then comes up with a license that doesn’t speak of handling costs, but speaks of royalties, non-disclosure, and specifically excludes open-sourced implementations? That sounds to me as openly ignoring the EU, courts, and previous fine(s). The EU shouldn’t take that lightly. If they’re serious, then there’s only 1 thing left to do: get MSFT where it hurts. If previous measures make no impression: give them another fine (*significantly* bigger), and see if that gets the point across. Or put a EU-wide sales ban on non-compliant MSFT products. In other words: step up the pressure to a level that *does* have effect. Or maybe the EU should just let it go, and promote/mandate open protocols (and OSS where possible) for all things government-related. That way, MSFT would have no choice than to follow these open specs. Like proper web standards support in future IE versions, or supporting OpenOffice file format(s) in next versions of Word. Damn EU, show some backbone here! –If you can’t beat them, make them irrelevant. 2005-03-19 1:15 am Microsoft is not an innovator nor a very good software developer. But they know how to play the game, from their humble beginnings selling vaporware to Altair – to being the proof that monopolies are harmfull to society. Ignoring and showing disrepect to The European Union is not a very nice way to play the game, if my small company did this to the government i would be shut down before i could say “but microsoft can do it!” — so how do we handle Microsoft? Hurt them where it hurts the most, an ultimatum: “open up the protocols or cease to sell your products within the European Union, you have 10 business days to comply” And on top of that, i think the government branches of the European Union should stop buying software from a criminal software company (remember the willful destruction of evidence, abuse of monopoly power, cartel pricing etc?). That would cost them a pretty penny too, instead of slapping them on the wrist with one hand, while handing them a fistful of cash with the other. 2005-03-19 1:21 am ….if it wasn´t so sad. But honestly, this is the best piece I have ever read on ZDNET. 2005-03-19 1:37 am This has cracked me up. You can tell that the lawyers (who don’t even know what in if statement is) wrote this up! It is rediculous! Noone in their right mind would accept that! I like how they hint at things like exchange being the reason why it takes 24 hours for an AUTOMATED email response 2005-03-19 1:39 am I’d love to see them blown off the face of the planet by a healthy dose of competition. If the field were leveled, they would *NOT* stand a chance in hell of surviving (and I really don’t believe they will survive for too much longer, anyway). Actually, the fields were even and they won. And yes, they will sruvive for much longer. Microsoft’s budget if bigger then my country’s. Think about it. 2005-03-19 1:40 am Arent they deliberately making this move so that everyone can be outraged and then accept the solution they had planned all along, that wouldnt go through had they not proposed something that the EU could turn down? I read somewhere this is how some controversial bills are passed in the US, there’s one or two fake ones, decoys, that causes outrage, but pave the way for the “real” bill that could not have been introduced first without being voted down. Throwing the EC a bone by introducing a license they know will never get approved. 2005-03-19 7:41 am “Actually, as the article explains on the second page, the license does in fact specifically exclude open source; and not just GPL software.” No, the license specifically excludes the use of licenses that require the source code to be published. This means the GPL is 100% excluded, but not licenses where disclosure of the source code is left to the developer/modifier’s discretion. GPL != open source. Basically the license prevents the use of another license to force you to release your code, but allows the use of licenses where disclosure of your code is voluntary. All of Micorsoft’s public domain licenses have the exact same kind of clause. If you’re trying to GPL the whole implementation, forget it. If you’re using a BSD license, no problem. In essence, yes it’s made to exclude the GPL, but not open source. The FSF FUDsters can stop now. 2005-03-19 12:59 pm Would you please exemplify what Open Source (OSI approved) license permits the NONdisclosure of the sources? This is an excerpt from http://opensource.org/docs/definition.php —————————————— 2. Source Code The program must include source code, and must allow distribution in source code as well as compiled form. Where some form of a product is not distributed with source code, there must be a well-publicized means of obtaining the source code for no more than a reasonable reproduction cost–preferably, downloading via the Internet without charge. The source code must be the preferred form in which a programmer would modify the program. Deliberately obfuscated source code is not allowed. Intermediate forms such as the output of a preprocessor or translator are not allowed. ————————————————- Please, enlightnen us. 2005-03-19 1:14 pm No wonder all the talented guys at Microsoft who just want to write software are leaving. The place is being run by marketers and lawyers who can only see pound and dollar signs in their eyes. 2005-03-19 1:35 pm Sounds like Microsoft’s version of open source is your source code opened for them? Now you’re just being cynical. Just like a scorpion will allways sting no matter what it says. 2005-03-19 3:18 pm Because the OSI is contradictory and cannot properly represent open source licenses. Note that the BSD, MIT and Apache licenses are all OSI ‘approved’, yet none of them contain any clauses that explicity require you to disclose your source code. So how did they get approved? You are also free to use and distribute components with a different license and not required to disclose your sources for that, nor cover them under the same license. The OSI also doesn’t define the source code of what to distribute, nor does it define what is considered the “original program”, and several other things, which you can imagine will give legal eagles a very, very fun time. The definition of open source on the site is also specific to “OSD open source”, just like the FSF’s definition of “freedom”. You can image how much more fun lawyers will have with that. Maybe it all boils down to the world having too many laywers. ;P 2005-03-21 1:46 am When the EU demanded that MS open its interop specifications, it didn’t give third parties a green light to raid the cookie jar. People that want to use MS’s IP are allowed to do so, as long as they pay reasonable licensing fees and agree to non-disclosure. Licensing fees are obvious: MS developed the IP. They deserve to profit from it, as long as the fees are reasonable. I will defer to the EU to interpret what “reasonable” means. As for non-disclosure, do you understand why MS would require non-disclosure? Because, in effect, third parties are gaining access to what amount to trade secrets and, if free disclosure were permitted, it would amount to releasing the info into the public domain — which the EU most certainly did not intend. 2005-03-21 3:15 am Hurt them where it hurts the most, an ultimatum: “open up the protocols or cease to sell your products within the European Union, you have 10 business days to comply” Look, there’s no cause for ultimatums. MS developed the protocols. If you really need the protocols, purchase a license. Sheez. 2005-03-21 8:44 am No, they did not. MS actually did not invent any of the technologies they use. They just changed existing protocols and technologies enough to make them incompatible with the parent protocols. SMB is an IBM protocol, AD is a mix of LDAP and Kerberos. And besides, even if they HAD invented everything they’d still be obliged to disclose the INTERFACES (not code!), ’cause they are a proven monopoly. Different rules apply to monopolistic companies.