Microsoft is NOT distributing open source Drupal, osCommerce, phpBB, Gallery, etc.

Microsoft inches closer toward distributing open source software in a big way

I was shocked when reading the following on Matt Asay's blog:

As I discovered from Dries Buytaert's blog yesterday, Microsoft's Web Application Installer comes with out-of-the-box support for Drupal, OScommerce, and other popular open-source web applications.

Shocked, not because Microsoft could be distributing open source software on a large scale; it's only a matter of time. Rather, I was shocked that there was no news of this on Port 25.

Matt suggests that Microsoft's Web Application Installer "arguably puts Microsoft on the legal hook for this open-source code."

I found this clause in the license agreement for Microsoft's Web Application Installer:

THIRD PARTY SOFTWARE. This software enables you to obtain software applications from other sources. Those applications are offered and distributed by third parties under their own license terms. Microsoft is not distributing those applications to you, but instead, as a convenience, enables you to use this software to obtain those applications directly from the application providers. By using the software, you acknowledge and agree that you are obtaining the applications directly from the third party providers and under separate license terms, and that it is your responsibility to locate, understand and comply with those license terms.

Unlike Matt, I am not a lawyer. I have heard of similar arguments by lawyers when it comes to liability and distributing any oss code. However, the license agreement seems to exclude Microsoft liability. So, in the eyes of Microsoft's lawyers, Microsoft is not distributing open source (at least not with Microsoft's Web Application Installer).

Is that how you, as a user, see it?

In any case, this is cool news -- that I should have read on Port 25. It's definitely another step in the right direction for Microsoft and open source. Keep it up.

p.s.: I should state: "The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies, or opinions."

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