back to article Microsoft's latest open-source release catches a wrinkle

Microsoft has published its .NET architectural pattern under an OSI-approved open-source license to a mixed reception. The company's ASP.NET Model View Controller (MVC), released at Mix 09 just last month, has been published under the Microsoft Public License (MS-PL). ASP.NET author and vice president of the .NET development …


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  1. Will

    April fools too late?

    If it weren't the 2nd I'd think it was. So MS have said you can't redistribute their entire $bn product without the license in it. Duh? It's actually a pretty nice license, of course code under MS-PL can <includeshockhorrorhere">Only</includeshockhorrorhere> be licensed under it, as otherwise they'd throw away their heavily invested code.

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  3. mittfh

    A step in the right direction.

    OK, so MS-PL isn't perfect - but then again, MS aren't exactly used to building open-source stuff, so they'll probably need to take baby steps to change their attitude.

    Remember, this is a company that got worried when IE dropped below 90% market share, so hastily started work on a new version "inspired" by its main rival.

  4. Henry Wertz Gold badge

    Not nice at all...

    In my opinion, this is not nice of Microsoft at all, if the info about the EULA prohibiting redistribution is true. It underscores the important difference (which I don't usually harp on like Stallman...) between open source software and free software. MS-PL *is* an open source license, and so the software is literally open source (and microsoft will make sure everyone knows "Oh look we're being open!!") while the EULA prevents it from being free sfotware. It in fact would only meet 2 out of 4 points of free software.

    The four freedoms:

    * The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).

    Yes, I assume. I suppose I haven't looked to see if there's odd restrictions in the EULA but I doubt it.

    * The freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your needs (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.


    * The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).


    * The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements (and modified versions in general) to the public, so that the whole community benefits (freedom 3). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

    No! Possibly a diff would be OK, but if distribution's prohibited it's prohibited.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Who cares?

    Um, MVC is simply a methodoligy, really, so anybody can write web apps in that style. Why would a non-MS developer find this the least bit interesting? Anybody using .NET obviously wouldn't care less about licensing and would not find this a hindrance, and somebody using PHP/Perl or whatever is going to go "meh" at this yawn-worthy announcement...

  6. Anonymous Coward

    This is clearly...

    a definition of "open source" with which I'm wholly unfamiliar.

  7. David
    Gates Horns

    MPL is a cancer

    It contaminates all that work with that license with Microsoft disease.

  8. Craig

    Nice progress

    I usually appreciate reading about Microsoft's efforts to make its technology more accessible, and am happy to hear of another step forward.

    Shame that even if Microsoft were to release all code for all its products and didn't restrict that code with any sort of license someone would find a reason to complain!

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Three words...

    Embrace, Extend, Extinguish

    Does this sound familiar to anyone?

  10. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Licensing guide for newbie journalists

    Ms-PL also stands for Microsoft Permissive License. There are also Ms-LPL, Ms-LRL and a few others. Take care (and legal advice) to make sure that you understand exactly what the license really means before making any contribution to Microsoft's software.

    As Microsoft Licenses go, the Microsoft Public License is not that bad. The most obvious limitation is you cannot distribute software that has Ms-PL and GPL code linked to together (even dynamic linking). If I had any patents, I would take more time to understand the automatic world wide royalty free patent license I would confer by distributing Ms-PL software.

    The more subtle limitation involves the non-Ms-PL software required to make any use of Ms-PL software. You will probably find you need to license some non-free software in order to distribute something useful based on Microsoft's free looking software. Microsoft are undisputed world experts on technology lock-in. Take time and advice before considering playing their game.

    The OSI have approved many licenses. Some are pointless repetitions of others. Some are more free than others. Some are carefully prepared legal documents that have similar meaning all over the world. Others aren't. Even so, "OSI approved license" means slightly more to a penguinista than a Microsoft marketing phrase attributed to Miguel de Icaza.

  11. Stuart Jones
    Thumb Up


    Nuff said.

    As an aside, we've been using ASP.NET MVC through the CTPs, Beta and now the final release in our upcoming product - it is excellent. Much better than bloated web forms.

  12. Avalanche

    GPL does this too...

    And how is this different from the conditions of the GPL? I'd say pot - kettle - black...

  13. raving angry loony


    What part of "embrace, extend, extinguish" don't people understand? This is just more of the same. It's got nothing to do with "open source", and everything to do with Microsoft attempting to redefine the term in order to introduce even more FUD into the equation - invariably in their favour.

    It's a SCAM. By including all the cruft they maintain control of the code without the license. Don't like a competitor? DON'T LICENSE THE PATENT! Fuck the license, it's got nothing to do with open source, and everything to do with Microsoft being the scummy underhanded bastards that they are.

    Between the EULA, the patents, and other shit they've left in, there's NOTHING about open source in this mix, and everything about Microsoft lying again.

    I wonder how many ignorant, easily misled so-called "journalists" are going to start trumpeting this as a triumph of "open source"? Because I KNOW that their bought-and-paid-for shills are going to be doing it.

  14. Tim Croydon

    Can you even protect architectural patterns?

    Thought you could only protect an implementation. Happy to be corrected if anyone can explain what this story actually means in practice.

  15. davcefai


    I fully agree that it is a step in the right direction. However, I question whose right direction it is.

    It may be Open Source but is incompatible with the GPL and still, essentially, a lock-in licence.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ A step in the right direction.

    Sorry, I don't buy it.

    Microsoft has made a whole marathon heading the wrong, way, so one step in the right direction is still several miles short from where it has to be to be trusted by *anyone*. It has proven over the years to be extremely toxic to innovation and collaboration, given that leadership hasn't changed much I refuse to believe it can change its spots that quickly.

    And we've seen these "public switches" before - only to find it was a new way to shaft competition, regulation and customers alike.

    Give it 5 years of clean behaviour and *maybe* it would be possible to begin trusting them. And I'd still be very wary.

    They have the same track record in industry that most banks currently have in finance.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    License vs decent software

    Instead of licensing this guff, couldn't they spend a bit more time taking the massive bloat and the huge security holes out of their operating systems and applications?

    I mean if I've got a unix system, I probably already know Microsoft operating systems are rubbish. So based on that, why would I want to install any of their other software? I'd just develop using Java/Perl and Apache/Tomcat! That would also have the benefit of not having to put up with their other bullshit...

    Now, don't get me wrong, I don't think Microsoft are evil, this isn't a rant. I'm sure many people would agree that their software is unjustly lionised and seems to have taken market share more through dubious business practices than through any actual benefit or innovation.

    De Icaza said "I strongly believe that the same innovation, rapid adoption and experimentation that has happened with the new wave of web stacks will come to ASP.NET MVC across all platforms."

    Which in English means, MS are arriving late to the party (again). The next thing we know, they'll be throwing millions of dollars at this and trying to crush all the alternatives.

    It's not going to bloody work though, is it?!?

  18. Psymon

    nice to see this old dog is at least trying a new trick...

    Unfortunately, as with all inter-continental globocorps, they're infested with a plague of lawyers.

    The Jobsian crown can all collectively take your foot out the styrrup of that high horse, because Apples licensing is even worse.

    It's such a shame when you see genuinely good intentions perverted by the legal department

  19. Mountford D

    Ulterior motive?

    Microsoft is a money-making organisation. They will never give away their code unless it benefits them in some way. This is how it works: Give away something so that open-sourcers will start working on it and sooner or later, based on the infinite monkeys principle, a killer application will emerge. This will of course be based on some proprietary licensed layer and if you want the killer app, you have to pay for the licence. Microsoft sucks you in again. You lose again. Expect to be eaten if you play with sharks.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    Fully Paid-Up MS Shills

    Where can I apply to be one ? I could do with some extra income and I'd be happy to write glowing posts on Internet forums about everything MS does if it means I can earn a few extra beer tokens a week. Is there an online form where I can sign up for the job ?

    Whadayamean they're just the product of a paranoid imagination ? Sod that for a game of soldiers !

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    So we all start using this like everyone used FAT because MS refused to ever authorise/include drivers for other disk formats that weren't their own. So companies who manufacture SD and CF cards used FAT so that their storage could be read on Windows and then of course companies who wanted to use those storage devices in their own kit had to use FAT to maintain compatibility and MS sat there and then said "OI, thats's our patented technology, pay us a fat licensing fee or we'll sue your fucking company into the ground".

    Microsoft will NEVER release anything under licensing terms that aren't either going to allow them to maintain a stranglehold on the PC workspace or wont allow them to suddenly turn round when that technology is pervasive and demand royalties.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The haters are at it again

    Since when does open source have to be free? There are plenty of packages that are open source but are still a paid for product.

    MS have made a good step in the right direction in making the source code available - it doesn't follow that they are jumping into bed with the freetards and giving everything away.

    At the end of the day they are a business with the aim of making money. As many ventures have proven over the years, OSS is a good thing but how many companies distributing FOSS are making billions every year?

  23. Jerome

    Calm down

    Look, I hate Microsoft as much as the next guy, but there's nothing evil about the MS-PL. It's recognised as a free software license by both the OSI and the FSF. Sure, it ain't BSD, and it's not like Microsoft are suddenly the good guys, but we should be careful to criticise them for the right reasons.

  24. David Whitney
    Thumb Up

    FUD merchants

    MS-PL, as a general rule, is no problem if you're already working on Windows. Oh, ASP.NET? Yeah, so that's that sorted.

    I'm always amazed how people can drag this stuff so far off topic.

    ASP.NET MVC is a very mature implementation of the MVC pattern, it works well, it's light and well thought out.

    The MS developer division have been pushing out some fantastic work since Guthrie "took over" and this is another example of good Microsoft software. Unless you've used it feel free to not share your opinions on the quality of the product.

  25. sage

    re: who cares?


  26. Anonymous Coward

    open-source dot .NET

    Does that mean that dot.NET is Open Source and if so where is the full source code that can be downloaded and incorporated into other Open Source projects.

  27. Chewy

    RE: open-source dot .NET

    No its just their MVC implementation rather than the whole .Net framework

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