Microsoft Wants OSI Approval of Shared Source Licenses

As part of its goal of increasing engagement with the open source world, Microsoft has submitted its open source licenses to the Open Source Initiative for approval.

Yes, you read that correctly. Microsoft announced at the O’Reilly Open Source Conference last week that it will be submitting its “shared source” licenses for certification by the Open Source Initiative as true open source licenses. Redmond’s Bill Hilf called the move “the culmination of Microsoft’s growing engagement with the open source world.”

On Port 25, Microsoft’s Jon Rosenberg wrote:

…[I]f the licences are approved, [it] should give the community additional confidence that the code we’re sharing is truly open source.

And open source advocate Tim O’Reilly says OSI approval of the Microsoft licenses would be “earth-shaking.”

But don’t count your chickens just yet. If the licenses win OSI approval, Microsoft wants the open source organization to make some structural changes. According to ZDNet UK, Rosenberg’s argument goes something like this:

OSI [should] accept members from the IT industry who would be able to exert more control over the organization’s future.

Microsoft is willing to make use of certified open source licenses for its “shared-source” projects, which is a step toward giving the developer community a say in how the company evolves, and the OSI should be willing to do the same for its constituency by becoming a membership organization.

I’m not surprised that Microsoft is looking for quid pro quo. It’s a businessArticle Submission, after all. What remains to be seen is how the OSI will receive Redmond’s requests.

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