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07 December 2011, 16:19

Windows Store agreement has open source exception

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Zoom Preview of the Windows Store
Source: Microsoft

The App Developer Agreement for the recently announced Windows Store, which Microsoft hopes will become the primary source for applications for its upcoming Windows 8 operating system, contains a special exception for open source software. Apps that are released under an Open Source Initiative-recognised open source licence can, at least in the pre-release version of the Windows Store, be distributed according to terms that contradict Microsoft's Standard Application License Terms if this is required by the open source licence. Among other things, the Standard Application License Terms prohibit the sharing of applications.

Similarly restrictive terms in Apple's iOS App Store had raised free software issues in the past. For example, Apple removed the iOS port of the VLC Media Player from the App Store in early 2011, after a VLC developer complained that distributing the software according to the App Store's terms violates the GPL. Apparently, Microsoft hopes to pre-empt similar problems in the Windows Store. The terms and conditions of Microsoft's Windows Phone Marketplace explicitly exclude open source software that is released under a copyleft licence.


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