Open Source

How Microsoft dealt with GPLv3

The easiest way for Microsoft to avoid the snare of the Free Software Foundation is to step around GPLv3 and leave it to their partners -- this is certainly the case for Silverlight.

The news of Silverlight 1.0 being released allows some insight in the way that Microsoft will work with GPLv3.

In simple terms, Microsoft will not work with GPLv3. That is the line that they have drawn, and their rhetoric and actions now show this to be so.

The easiest way for Microsoft to avoid the snare of the Free Software Foundation is to step around GPLv3 and leave it to their partners. This is certainly the case for Silverlight as Novell are now the officially sanctioned partner to provide Moonlight, the open source implementation of Silverlight that will appear on Linux and OS X.

As IP lawyer Kay Lam-Beattie stated "An easy analogy is a car park with a sign that says you are bound to a given contract if you enter into that car park," she says. "Anybody can enter, but you have to accept the terms, and the signal of you accepting those terms is when you enter. You have to do something positive to accept the terms — you have to act."

It appears that the standard operating procedure for Microsoft will be to send open sourced partners into the GPLv3 car park.

It's a good strategy for Microsoft, it gets their platforms onto systems it would otherwise not enter, it avoids any legal pitfalls and the hard work is done by somebody else.

Now the question becomes, what is in it for the partners?

About Chris Duckett

Some would say that it is a long way from software engineering to journalism, others would correctly argue that it is a mere 10 metres according to the floor plan.During his first five years with CBS Interactive, Chris started his journalistic advent...

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