Talk:Shared source

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Requested Move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived debate of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the debate was Request withdrawn. Duja 10:49, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

agree with the current title this page is misleading: there is no usage of this term outside of the Microsoft licenses posted on this page. There are false statements regarding the usage of this term, or type of licensing by other companies that should be fixed. As it stands this page is suspiciously like an advertisement that aims to confuse two separate marketing terms. Hendrixski 01:59, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

oppose the proposed title is cumbersome and POV. Microsoft's PR spin can be discussed in the article. --Groggy Dice T | C 00:13, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

OK, I'll remove the proposal to move the page. I guess my major problem was that there were false statements which made this article seem more like a marketing gimmick than an informative page. Now that they are fixed, the title may stay.Hendrixski 14:42, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the debate. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Needs clarification between MS-PL and MS-RL[edit]

The difference between MS-PL and MS-RL is ambiguous. After reading, I can't see the difference between the two. Plus even if the article says MS-PL is "the least restrictive license.", but I feel like MS-RL is. It needs clarification — Preceding unsigned comment added by OlivierToupin (talkcontribs) 13:39, 7 September 2011 (UTC)

Uninformed or biased[edit]

Many projects under Microsoft's Shared Source initiative allow free modification and redistribution. Most statements on the page seem uninformed or biased blanket statements.

I have tried to fix it --Jutiphan | Talk - 17:03, 26 January 2007 (UTC)


"Shared Source" is fully "Open Source" given the argument that's being made, the correct term would be "Free (as in freedom) software" i.e; It's Open Source but not Free Software because of critical restrictions.

Huh? Did you read Open source vs. free software? The free software and open source terms are more-or-less equivalent. Also, "Shared Source" is not a specific license, and licenses under "Shared Source" are usually neither free software nor open source. I tweaked the final remark about Free Software categorisation a bit. --Erik 15:16, 7 November 2005 (UTC)
The presentation of facts on this page is totally incorrect. It should be noted that this is neither open source nor free software, The microsoft page says so itself. Also that this is licensing unique to Microsoft. Hendrixski 01:48, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

Not a license[edit]

First of all, the biggest problem with this article is that Shared Source initiative is not a particular license. It covers many seperate programs with a bunch of different licenses, some being extremely restrictive and others meeting the standards of the Open Source Initiative. Sweeping changes are in order? I know I'm a newb but if I screw up free feel to undo what I did. But I figure any work on this page is an improvement so I'll give it a shot. -- Foofy 17:52, 31 August 2005 (UTC)

Hey, I cleaned up things quite a bit, at least made it not look like frantic anti-MS babling, but I'm really not sure what to do about the Criticism section? Other license pages like GPL have long sections on that but I'm not sure if I should remove the points that don't make any sense? I should leave that to a pro, maybe. -- Foofy 00:54, 1 September 2005 (UTC)

Criticism links[edit]

I'm gonna go ahead and remove these, no other article on licensing has such commentary links, and if Wikipedia was to link to every individual opinion on every topic, things would get messy pretty quick. Revert if you think I'm in error. Foofy 16:58, 4 October 2005 (UTC)

Without having looked at what you've done specifically, I'll say that the criticism section here is pretty small and tame compared to other criticism sections for software, licenses, and most anything else. Hendrixski 14:48, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

About criticism[edit]

Now that people are starting to edit this page again, I thought I'd bring this up. The reason a lot of the criticism in the article was removed is because it was biased and outside of the criticism section, and because a great deal of the criticism was invalid and made claims that were not true (misunderstanding of what Shared Source is, etc.). -- Foofy 01:30, 18 October 2005 (UTC)

It's unclear to me how part of this line is justified: "Free software enthusiasts see shared source licenses as being equal to, if not worse than, proprietary licenses." I understand the use of "equal to" (the following quotes by prominent figures back that up) but the "if not worse than" seems a bit odd, considering the standpoint of "free software enthusiasts" is often characterized as being that software is either Free or Not Free. So a Shared Source license is Not Free, and not in some unspecified way Worse Than Not Free simply because it is connected to Microsoft. In fact, Shared Source offers at least one of the FSF's four freedoms (study) so, numerically, it's more free than closed source which has none of the four. --

I just removed the whole "Criticism" section, since there wasn't even a hint of factuality to it. This is not to be taken as disapproval of having a Criticism section, on the contrary. I came to this article hoping to find an informed discussion of how it compares to other licenses in the eyes of experts, but the existing text didn't provide me with any information. Rp (talk) 15:01, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
You could just mark it as needing expansion instead of removing it. I brought it back and added some sources. Azrael Nightwalker (talk) 16:18, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

Free Software shared source licenses exist[edit]

It should be noted that, according to FSF Europe, two of Microsoft's Shared Source licenses seem to be Free Software licenses. Press release here. It seems to me that mainly template-like software use these licenses. --Erik 17:55, 24 November 2005 (UTC)

It's already in the article.

Blogger submits Shared Source license to OSI[edit]

Probably should go in the article, just not sure where yet. Foofy 14:47, 25 August 2006 (UTC)

It's already in the article. Azrael Nightwalker (talk) 23:05, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

IP Taint[edit]

Another concern is that viewing Shared Source may "taint" a developer with knowledge of licensed code, preventing participation in other projects where such code may be inadvertently used in violation of the shared source license. [1]

I removed this section from criticisms because it was incorrectly applied. If you read the article it has to do with how Microsoft if they open sourced Windows they would have to deal with taint internally. Not from Shared Source developers dealing with IP taint in their companies products. PPGMD 20:05, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

Perhaps the wording was poor. The concern is genuine. What is a company were to use the knowledge from the licensed code in their application, then Microsoft would sue them for intellectual property infringement?Hendrixski 14:50, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

Yes the concern is genuine but is much more clearly stated with the current critisim that "much of it is equivalent to an NDA". It is not more or less "evil" than an NDA. Trying to say it is somehow different is just confusing and perhaps ranting.


When I googled "shared source" and Sun Micrososystems the only results I got were for Suns community source licensing which is an open source project, and VERY different from the licenses published here. There is no citable fact that this term is used anywhere other than by Microsoft. Either someone is intentionally trying to confuse the facts by creating a marketing term that sounds like "open source" but is not", or simply misunderstood licensing. Hendrixski 01:45, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

Criticism: Why it is not open source[edit]

Now that microsoft are applying for OSI approval, i think the article should include thorough criticism telling why shared source is not open source. See this slashdot comment for some examples of the limitations of shared source. The Ms-LCL clearly shows that it only applies to software made for MS Windows. -- 10:27, 30 July 2007 (UTC)

I just added examples of non-open shared source licenses (previously only the PL and CL were listed), and briefly described why they violated open-source standards (technology bias). Hopefully that makes things a little more clear Talyian 21:18, 21 August 2007 (UTC)

I think the current critisism is pretty much correct and nothing needs to be added or removed. The problem is simply that a lot of "shared source" (but not all) is equivalent to an NDA. Microsoft's only evil move is their attempt to get things that are open source and things that are NDA all confused in people's minds by calling the whole thing "shared source". It might be useful to put the two open source licenses in their own page (with links from here) and title it something like "Microsoft open source licenses" thus making the distinction clear. Then again maybe that is a bad idea...

It would be nice to delete a lot of the crap at the top of the page. The table for instance seems to say that shared source and open source are identical except shared source has "in many cases" added to each sentence. This is just stupid. The license list is by far the clearest and informative part and except for the history everything before that can be deleted. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Spitzak (talkcontribs) 08:41, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

Individual Articles for MS Public/Reciprocal Licenses[edit]

I think that these licenses almost deserve their own articles. Other software licenses have their own articles (List of software licenses), and I don't see why these two should be any different, assuming we can come up with content for them, which shouldn't be too difficult. Opinions? Bradkoch2007 00:37, 21 October 2007 (UTC)

I second this motion. I arrived here from Microsoft Public License, wanting to read only about that particular license, but was redirected to this page, which is confusing and annoying. I'll try to improve things. Rp (talk) 15:15, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

Page title[edit]

I wonder about the title of this page. Its present content is exclusively devoted to Microsoft's "Shared Source Initiative", which is a particular software distribution and licensing program by a particular company. Google brings up another "Shared source" initiative, from Castle for Risc OS. Other than these hits, I cannot find any reliable looking uses of the term "shared source", and therefore I doubt that it is really worthy of having its own Wikipedia entry. Personally I am not against including vendor-specific information on Wikipedia, so I propose to retitle the page to Microsoft Shared Source Initiative and create a disambiguation page for the term Shared source that will point to it. Opinions? Rp (talk) 18:36, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

I agree. This would mix well with creating separate pages for Shared Source licenses. --Erik (talk) 16:38, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

Section "Benefits of shared source" is written like an ad[edit]

The section states that shared source has benefits, but it is unclear in comparison with what it has benefits. My interpretation of the second paragraph is: "the open source licenses may be better for the user than certain proprietary licenses, while the proprietary licenses may be better for the copyright holder than certain open source licenses"; this is a rather weak statement.

Also, I find it difficult to see how the added restrictions of the proprietary ("limited") versions of the open source licenses would be of value to a copyright holder (unless the copyright holder is Microsoft). --Erik (talk) 16:35, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

I've modified it. Check it out. Azrael Nightwalker (talk) 15:45, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

Limited Licenses[edit]

Microsoft seems to have removed the Limited Licenses (LPL and LRL) from it's Shared Source page. The individual html files still exist though and can be found by search on MS site. Should we note it in the article? Has any project used these licenses? (notability...) Azrael Nightwalker (talk) 23:07, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

I can see that Microsoft is using a special academic license for Device Emulator [2] which is a modified Ms-LPL. Also Windows CE has it's own Shared Source license[3], just like Shared Source CLI[4]. Azrael Nightwalker (talk) 13:39, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

MS-PL is GPL compatible?[edit]

The article states "Redistribution of the source code itself is permitted only under the Ms-PL." Then, later it says "According to the Free Software Foundation, it is a free software license and is compatible with the GNU GPL version 3". However, the Free Software defines license compatibility as "A license p is compatible with a license q (or is q-compatible) if [a] work licensed under p can be distributed under the terms of q." To me, this seems contradictory. How can a license that states that redistribution of the source code is only permitted under a certain license be distributed under the terms of another license? —Preceding unsigned comment added by DarkPhoenix (talkcontribs) 08:34, 11 April 2008 (UTC)

You may want to read [5]. In any case, this is sourced [6] so I suggest you either ask the FSF if you believe they have made a mistake or seek clarification from somewhere like the FSF or WP:RD of you still don't understand. This talk page is intended for discussions about ways to improve the article Nil Einne (talk) 15:39, 20 April 2008 (UTC)
Well the FSF website has changed now and someone has already updated the article [7]. It's not clear why the FSF decided it was GPL incompatible although there was no known public discussion according to [8]. There may have been some confusion because of the "must be under same license term. It appears some [9] regarded it as the same as a similar BSD clause and compatible with GPLv3 [10]. Perhaps the mention of the specific word license is the reason, I'm not really sure. Anyway this is a bit OT Nil Einne (talk) 11:10, 18 September 2009 (UTC)

Ms-RL - verification[edit]

"‘it has a copyleft that is not strong, but incompatible with the GNU GPL’ is not enough of an explanation - a reason needs to be given" (comment by user:Gerbrant)

What more explanation do you need? FSF is an authority about that, if you want more explanation - ask them. I submitted Ms-RL and Ms-PL to Richard Stallman for inclusion on the FSF's license list, so if he didn't write anything more about it, then probably it's just enough. If not, ask him.--Azrael Nightwalker (talk) 20:58, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

For example, why the license is incompatible with the GPL? The thing is, the Free Software Foundation has no legal authority at all to decide if a license is compatible with the GPL or not. As long as they don't give any further information, their position is not a priori more authoritive than anyone else's. Shinobu (talk) 16:14, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

"Microsoft Community License" ???[edit]

I looked at the Wikipedia article on Community source because Opencast appears to be using the term to define their licensing. On that page, there is a link to a nonexistent page called Microsoft Community License. This term does not appear in the Shared Source article, so I Googled it, and found this article about SugarCRM partnering with Microsoft and using this term. What exactly is Microsoft Community License, should it be part of the Shared Source page (to minimize the damage from Microsoft "diluting" the Open-Source-like ideaspace) or maybe the Microsoft Community License article should be created and linked from the Shared Source article? -Tzf (talk) 05:46, 1 August 2008 (UTC)

What part of "Microsoft Reciprocal License (Ms-RL) ... Initially known as the Microsoft Community License, it was renamed during the OSI approval process." in this article didn't make sense? Anyway, I've created a redirect from Microsoft Community License to Shared source#Microsoft Reciprocal License .28Ms-RL.29. RossPatterson (talk) 14:26, 2 August 2008 (UTC)

Not exclusive to Microsoft[edit]

The first sentence of the lead states:

"Shared source is a term for one of Microsoft's legal mechanisms for software source code distribution."

The principle is not exclusive to Microsoft. Therefore I propose rewording to:

"Shared source is a term for a software company's legal mechanisms for software source code distribution."

I also propose that Microsoft's SSI of May 2001 is cited in the lead as one of a number of notable examples. --trevj (talk) 10:07, 28 February 2011 (UTC)

Interesting. Given that the entire rest of the article is about MS's shared source programs then we would probably need to add a first level heading, "Microsoft Corporation", and increase all the subsequent heading levels by one. Then hope that others come along and populate with details of such programs from other companies. Maybe a plea on the WikiProject: Computer Software page would attract some contributors. The alternative is to rename (move) this one to "Microsoft Shared Source programs" or some such. That would be an easier fix for the issue you raise, but I don't see why MS's programs need an article of their own unless and until the combined article gets huge. Besides, other shared source programs would have to be documented on their own articles, and that's a higher bar to contributions: It's easier and a lot less intimidating to add a short section to an existing article, rather than to create a whole new article; at least for me. Jeh (talk) 17:37, 28 February 2011 (UTC)
I think that this article should be about the general principles, with sections maintained on the various Microsoft programs. Of the many pages which link here, there must be more than a handful of non-Microsoft implementations. As you say, these can then be added. --trevj (talk) 21:57, 28 February 2011 (UTC)
If some decent third party group is linking the various 'shared source' definitions together, in a citable manner, then I think it'd be appropriate. But if it's just lots of people calling lots of different schemes 'shared source' with one (or more) different license per scheme then there doesn't seem to be a reason for a combined wiki page, and I'd recommend removing the links to 'shared source' from the other wiki pages. The terms 'open source' and 'free software' do seem to have more formal definitions, but that seems to be lacking in the 'shared source' world.--Flibble (talk) 00:12, 1 March 2011 (UTC)
Shared Source is a term coined by Microsoft. I don't know if other companies have used this term for their own offerings, but if they did, it must have been in reference to Microsoft. I think that the problem here is more about the difficulty to explain what "Shared Source" is, something which lead to criticism about Microsoft for even inventing this term. Shared source is in fact mainly a marketing term from Microsoft. However, writing that it's mainly a marketing term would be WP:OR. Therefore I changed the intro to "Shared source is an umbrella term for some of Microsoft's legal mechanisms for software source code distribution", which I think is accurate and not OR. Hervegirod (talk) 12:48, 20 March 2011 (UTC)

Broken link[edit]

The Windows Embedded CE Shared Source License link is broken:

I couldn't find it anywhere though :( — Preceding unsigned comment added by Fmarier (talkcontribs) 05:14, 20 March 2011 (UTC)

This article is a list of Microsoft licenses[edit]

Calling it "Shared source" shall profit from well-known brands such as open-source software or open source hardware or free and open-source software. This is not forbidden, but the article, is a mere list, with some comments to each license listed. Why not call it list of Microsoft licenses? User:ScotXWt@lk 20:46, 3 July 2014 (UTC)

There are a lot of Microsoft licenses that are not part of their Shared Source program. However, I do agree that the title should indicate a specificity to Microsoft. Maybe "Microsoft Shared Source"? Jeh (talk) 21:14, 3 July 2014 (UTC)

Can I build Windows from Source?[edit]

There is some criticism about the rights staying with Microsoft. Pesonally, I wouldn't care about that as much as the question, do they give out the full source, so one can build the software from scratch? I tried to do some web searches, but came up empty. Has anyone knowledge about this? It would be nice to include such information in the article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:03, 25 March 2016 (UTC)