Microsoft Mends Breach in Open Source Sandcastle

Microsoft has released all of the source code used in its Sandcastle project, which is now published at the CodePlex open source developer's Web site, according to a blog. Sandcastle helps developers of managed class libraries create uniform documentation on their projects, using MSDN style.

The Sandcastle project made the news in early June when Sam Ramji, Microsoft's open source software lab director, ordered Sandcastle yanked from CodePlex. At the time, it was noted that the source code for the project had not been published in keeping with the OSI's Open Source Definition for open source software.

Microsoft's open source license is called the Microsoft Public License (Ms-PL), which the OSI approved in October of last year. Such OSI-approved licenses allow the free sharing of code, for both commercial and noncommercial applications, although Microsoft's Ms-PL confines future distributions of code to the Ms-PL license.

With the release of the code, Ramji noted yesterday that the Sandcastle project now meets the OSI's terms for open source software. However, the Microsoft team "found other cases where Microsoft-led projects had been licensed under the Ms-PL but hadn't shared the source," Ramji wrote.

Those projects are currently unpublished and will undergo a review process by Microsoft's teams, he added.

Microsoft is still getting its feet wet with open source licensing, but the company has been signaling a new approach. In February, the company announced its "interoperability principles," and late last month Microsoft released additional documentation on protocols used in some of its core products. However, Microsoft officials have not yet stepped back from the claim that open source software violates 235 of Microsoft's patents.

Moreover, the Software Freedom Law Center had declared back in March that Microsoft's interoperability principles were essentially contrary to GNU General Public Licensing.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is online news editor, Enterprise Group, at 1105 Media Inc.

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