Subject: Re: [FYI] Microsoft license spurns open source
From: "Karsten M. Self" <>
Date: Mon, 25 Jun 2001 12:18:02 -0500
Mon, 25 Jun 2001 12:18:02 -0500
on Sun, Jun 24, 2001 at 05:24:21PM -0400, Keith Bostic ( wrote:
> Bill Gates says:
> 	I don't know that anyone has ever asked for the source code for
> 	Word. If they did, we would give it to them. But it's not a
> 	typical request.
> Who do we know that has sufficient industry status to officially
> ask Microsoft for the source code to Word?

Microsoft would undoubtedly provide the code, with stipulations and very
probably for consideration.

They wouldn't provide it under free-to-redistribute terms -- BSD, let
alone GPL, licensing.  I can guarantee that.  Tell you what, I'll bet my
current income against Gates's aggregate compensation package.

A request, if formulated, could meet the stipulations implied by Mr.
Gates's statements:  they will provide the code on request.  But only
under limited conditions and (quite probably) a price or partnership
arrangement.   Possibly code escrow, though this has been shown to be of
limited use (tangled code, no developer base) in the past.

If we seriously want to proceed with this suggestion, we should do so in
a manner that highlights these distinctions between the free and
proprietary software worlds.  We'll walk in knowing that MSFT could very
well hand us the keys to the house, but clamp a ball and chain to us in
the same act.  The distinction of terms, not the access to code, is

Karsten M. Self <>
 What part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?       There is no K5 cabal

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