Friday, 18 February 2011 11:25

Some open source licences banned from Windows Phone Marketplace

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Microsoft has banned applications which are under some free and open source software licences from its Windows Phone Marketplace..


Specifically banned are the GPLv3, Affero GPLv3 and LGPLv3. Any code that is released under the equivalents of these three licences is also not allowed in the Marketplace.

The terms were outlined in the agreement that developers of applications for Windows Phone Marketplace have to accept and brought to light by Red Hat employee and open source advocate, Jan Wildeboer.

It states, with regard to the definition of excluded licence, "'Excluded License' means any license requiring, as a condition of use, modification and/or distribution of the software subject to the license, that the software or other software combined and/or distributed with it be (i) disclosed or distributed in source code form; (ii) licensed for the purpose of making derivative works; or (iii) redistributable at no charge. Excluded Licenses include, but are not limited to the GPLv3 Licenses. For the purpose of this definition, 'GPLv3 Licenses' means the GNU General Public License version 3, the GNU Affero General Public License version 3, the GNU Lesser General Public License version 3, and any equivalents to the foregoing."

This would also exclude the GPLv2 - under which about 45 percent of free and open source software projects are licensed these days - and numerous other licences which require redistribution of code and provision of source code.

Just before the GPLv3 took effect, the Free Software Foundation chairman Richard Stallman told iTWire: "I decided to include the date cut-off that makes paragraph 7 (of section 11) forbid only deals made after last March - which means it will not forbid Novell from distributing GPLv3-covered software under the effects of its deal with Microsoft.

"When Novell does that, paragraph 6, which has no date cut-off, will apply. We expect this to make the deal backfire against Microsoft, by extending the deal's limited patent protection for Novell customers to the whole user community. That is a better outcome than forbidding Novell from distributing the software, and that is why I made this decision."

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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