Subject: Re: Interesting "almost open source" Microsoft tactic
From: "Benjamin J. Tilly " <ben_tilly@operamail.com>
Date: Tue, 02 Mar 2004 03:27:00 +0800

"La Monte H.P. Yarroll" <piggy@timesys.com> wrote:
> Russell Nelson wrote:
[...]
> It looks like the same patent license included with their office file 
> format documents.

For those (like me) who had not read it, see
http://www.microsoft.com/mscorp/ip/format/xmlpatentlicense.asp

You're right that they are similar, and I'm guessing that this
reflects corporate thinking on how to deal with open source
and standards.

> Its very clear that they are attempting to be GPL compatable.

That is not clear to me.  It is also not clear that they have
succeeded.  In fact my initial reaction is that they have not.

However the caller-id license did move a lot farther towards
being open source.  Any licensee can sell anyone else's
implementation?  I think that someone at Microsoft has seen
the benefit of a copyleft kind of arrangement in setting
standards.  Since they want caller-id to become a standard,
they are trying to encourage as wide a usage as possible.

> The inability to sublicense just confuses me.  It isn't as if there is a 
> license registration procedure.

IANAL, but here is what my reaction is to that phrase.

If Richard sues Microsoft over patent infringement and
Microsoft revokes Richard's license, you can't tell Richard
that he can sell implementations using YOUR license.  And
you also can't sell your valid license to Richard for his
use.

In other words if Microsoft tells Richard, "We're not going
to let you sell implementations of X" then they aren't.
Really.

Cheers,
Ben