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Slashdot: MS Releases WinCE 3.0 Source (Legal issues for Free Software developers who peek?)

Jul 22, 2001, 20:00 (11 Talkback[s])

As a first intimation of its "Shared Source" strategy, Microsoft has offered the source to Windows CE 3.0 -- a move embedded systems developers have been anticipating for a few months now. The question asked here centers around the registration requirement, which could be used to prove a given developer saw and used Microsoft source for a project later down the road:

"But since you may not distribute the licensed Microsoft code "in source or object form for commercial purposes under any circumstances," nor use it to run a business, it may be unlikely that such a suit would arise. All in all, I'm not sure who besides companies selling Win CE hardware or software will benefit from this "sharing."

However, if you ever intend to work on any Open Source programming project which might involve similar code, you might want to think twice about downloading any code under the provisions Microsoft lists here: a simple database query can establish whether "Yourname Lastname" had access to the Microsoft-owned code, which could result in legal problems down the road. Even if you never look at the downloaded code, the electronic trail will look like you did -- which is perhaps the most insidious aspect of this version of sharing."

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