Microsoft involved in Free Software license violation

It seems that Microsoft wanted to use some Free Software in their Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool, which they have now removed from their website to investigate the license violation. Taking FOSS code would be fine, no one would stop Microsoft from doing this if they would abide by the terms of the GNU General Public License under which the original code was published. In fact, I’d welcome it if Microsoft would stop their own silly suite of “open source” software licenses and just develop under the GNU GPL like they do for their Hyper-V drivers, but MS seems to be on some sort of holy war against the GPL.

Anyhow. So Microsoft took GPL code and incorporated it in their own CD downloader/writing utility (what the heck did the tool do in the first place?). This is still fine. But then they refused to give out the source to their modifications and they changed the license to be a more restrictive one. You cannot do that with Free Software under the GPL! You must license the code you took under the same terms as it was licensed to you.

I’m looking forward to see how this will play out. We’d all welcome Microsoft to the Free Software field, but my guess is that they wouldn’t be able to compete anymore if their software were Free Software. Also, they ought to have enough lawyers to understand the GPL, so perhaps the team behind the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool should ask one next time they take some Free Software code.

Update: Microsoft have admitted their mistake and are now providing the source code to the tool, as the license demands. Congratulations for solving this the right way! And enjoy trying out the GPL. Maybe you’d like to shift some more projects to that license? 😉

0 thoughts on “Microsoft involved in Free Software license violation”

  1. From what i’ve read, they purchased the utility from a third party company, which should have told Microsoft, that they used gpl’ed code. While usually not being an advocate of Microsoft, i do think, that they reacted in the best way they could in that situation. And hey, who would have thought some years ago to find once a GPL license attached to a MS product? 😉

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