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Free Software Magazine: Licensing Bait and Switch

Oct 24, 2005, 23:30 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by David Sugar)

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"Several years ago, at the eGovOS summit, Microsoft desperately tried to introduce its form of 'Shared Source' as if it were a valid form of 'Open Source.' And to claim their new licensing strategy they offered 'freedom' to others. This effort met with extreme skepticism from me, and I wasn't the only one. Since then, they have appeared at many free software related advocacy events, as well as using their own closed and special government conferences, and have been desperately trying to sell this idea: that 'Shared Source' is 'Open Source.' At last, they may have found a way to make this claim and thereby confuse and deceive the marketplace. They may even accomplish this with the full help of OSI (Open Source Initiative) and even the Free Software Foundation--simply by writing three software licenses that nothing important will ever be released under.

"I think Microsoft believes it is important because they fear that 'Open Source' or free software licensing will be used as a checklist for approved public purchases. Indeed, some nations are doing this today. Peru, for example, just introduced a public procurement policy that explicitly states that vendors who offer freedom will be preferred in public sector purchasing..."

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