No Grandfathering the New
Licenses"> Matusow told eWEEK that the new licenses, in an interesting decision, would only apply to future Shared Source projects and not to the existing ones, like WiX, FlexWiki and WTL, which will remain under, and be governed by, the conditions of their existing licenses. "If it makes sense to do so in the future and after the community talks to us about it, we may decide to [retroactively apply the new licensing scheme]. But there is certainly no commitment to do that at this time," Matusow said.Next month, Microsoft also plans to release the next version of the Windows CE Bluetooth Wrapper under the Permissive License. The first version will continue under its existing license. "But none of these newly licensed technologies will use the platform restriction [or the Microsoft Limited Permissive License]. That license is essentially an option for Microsoft, as a commercial software provider, to reserve some rights," Matusow said. "At some point as a commercial provider, there may be something we wish to release that has more complex, competitive issues associated with it or different things that we may be concerned about and we then have as an option the ability to limit its use to the Windows platform," he said. Click here to read more about Microsofts Shared Source program. The decision to create two separate "Limited" licenses, for the Community and Permissive Licenses, was made to avoid confusion and make it clear that projects licensed under them had a platform limitation and could only be used on the Windows platform, he said. With regard to compatibility with the GNU GPL (General Public License), under which the Linux kernel is licensed, Matusow said that these reciprocal licenses from Microsoft were not compatible with other reciprocal licenses like the GPL. But the licenses would be compatible with a large number of existing OSI-approved licenses, he said, adding that "probably the majority of them will be compatible, but there are so many variations its impossible to make a blanket statement that they are all compatible with one another under all of these variations." Microsoft also intends to restrict the number of licenses it allows in the future, to make the process more efficient internally, which would lower the transaction cost of getting projects out of the door and allow its product groups as well as customers and partners to focus on the technology rather than the license, Matusow said. Check out eWEEK.coms for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.
Microsoft will also announce on Wednesday that it is releasing and making available eight new Visual Studio 2005 starter kits under the Permissive License, so, Matusow said, "the door is wide open for people to take the code, modify it and turn it into a business if they choose to."