Saturday, February 19, 2011

Microsoft Bans Open-Source Apps from Marketplace

Redmond-based software giant Microsoft has reportedly banned from the Windows Phone Marketplace a series of applications developed under open-source license, as it changed the terms and conditions in its Application Provider Agreement for the application store.

However, the measure did not affect all of the open-source-licensed applications included in the Windows Phone Marketplace, but only parts of them.

The company indeed removed some of these apps from the application storefront, but left others untouched, and suggests that more might be allowed back in the near future.

“The Windows Phone Marketplace supports several open source licenses, including BSD, MIT, Apache Software License 2.0, MS-PL and other similar permissive licenses,” a Microsoft spokesperson explained, a recent article on ZDNet reports.

“We revise our Application Provider Agreement from time to time based on customer and developer feedback, and we are exploring the possibility of modifying it to accommodate additional open source-based applications in upcoming revisions,” the spokesperson continued.

As Red Hat evangelist Jan Wildeboer shows, Microsoft notes in the aforementioned Application Provider Agreement that “software, documentation, or other materials” that “are governed by or subject to an Excluded License” are not allowed in the Marketplace.

The said document continues:

Excluded Licenses include, but are not limited to the GPLv3 Licenses. For the purpose of this definition, “GPLv3 Licenses” means the GNU General Public License version 3, the GNU Affero General Public License version 3, the GNU Lesser General Public License version 3, and any equivalents to the foregoing.

Apparently, the Redmond giant is not focused on removing all open-source and free applications from its Windows Phone Marketplace, but it would allow only some of them in the storefront, based on user feedback.

This means that the company might soon add some more software of the kind to the app store, though it remains to be seen when that would happen, and under which conditions. For the time being, most of the apps under open-source license are banned from the Marketplace.

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