This sounds good:
I have some good news to announce: Microsoft will be applying the Community Promise to the ECMA 334 and ECMA 335 specs.
ECMA 334 specifies the form and establishes the interpretation of programs written in the C# programming language, while the ECMA 335 standard defines the Common Language Infrastructure (CLI) in which applications written in multiple high-level languages can be executed in different system environments without the need to rewrite those applications to take into consideration the unique characteristics of those environments.
"The Community Promise is an excellent vehicle and, in this situation, ensures the best balance of interoperability and flexibility for developers," Scott Guthrie, the Corporate Vice President for the .Net Developer Platform, told me July 6.
It is important to note that, under the Community Promise, anyone can freely implement these specifications with their technology, code, and solutions.
You do not need to sign a license agreement, or otherwise communicate to Microsoft how you will implement the specifications.
The Promise applies to developers, distributors, and users of Covered Implementations without regard to the development model that created the implementations, the type of copyright licenses under which it is distributed, or the associated business model.
Under the Community Promise, Microsoft provides assurance that it will not assert its Necessary Claims against anyone who makes, uses, sells, offers for sale, imports, or distributes any Covered Implementation under any type of development or distribution model, including open-source licensing models such as the LGPL or GPL.
But boring old sceptic that I am, I have memories of this:
The Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC), provider of pro-bono legal services to protect and advance free and open source software, today published a paper that considers the legal implications of Microsoft's Open Specification Promise (OSP) and explains why it should not be relied upon by developers concerned about patent risk.
SFLC published the paper in response to questions from its clients and the community about the OSP and its compatibility with the GNU General Public License (GPL). The paper says that the promise should not be relied upon because of Microsoft's ability to revoke the promise for future versions of specifications, the promise's limited scope, and its incompatibility with free software licenses, including the GPL.
That was then, of course, what about now? Well, here's what the FAQ says on the subject:
Q: Does this CP apply to all versions of the specification, including future revisions?
A: The Community Promise applies to all existing versions of the specifications designated on the public list posted at /interop/cp/, unless otherwise noted with respect to a particular specification.
Now, is it just me, or does Microsoft conspicuously fail to answer its own question? The question was: does it apply to all versions *including* future revision? And Microsoft's answer is about *existing* versions: so doesn't that mean it could simply not apply the promise to a future version? Isn't this the same problem as with the Open Specification Promise? Just asking.
07 July 2009
This sounds good: