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Microsoft Government Software The Courts Linux News

Windows XP EULA Compared to GPL 428

Posted by michael
from the one-giveth-and-the-other-taketh-away dept.
cranos writes "The Sydney Morning Herald is running an article comparing the XP EULA to the GPL. Basically it's just reinforcing what we already knew but it could be a nice little piece to show your PHB next time."
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Windows XP EULA Compared to GPL

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  • to something like this:

    GPL: "Do what you want with it, but give credit where credit is due"

    MS: "You have no rights. All your base belong to us."
  • by watzinaneihm (627119) on Thursday April 24, 2003 @10:18AM (#5798864) Journal
    "Voila! Apples are different from Oranges" said American Agricultural Research magazine today.
    • I don't think the point of posting this to /. was to show that mainstream outlets are running pieces like this for consumption of the peons, indicating that free/oss is getting real coverage, not to show us that there are differences.

      Goblin
    • Re:News for nerds? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by gerf (532474) <edtgerf@gmail.com> on Thursday April 24, 2003 @12:03PM (#5799970) Journal

      Voila! Apples are different from Oranges" said American Agricultural Research magazine today


      What i really want to know is whether old 'apples' are still good. To be more specific, it would be nice for them to compare Win2k's Eula (with service packs), to that of XP. The only reason right now that i don't go with XP is that i can't change my hardware willy-nilly like i do quite often. I have legal copies of everything (campus-wide license), so i really don't like the fact that they can tell me what i can/cannot do with products, my hardware, which they have nothing to do with.

  • mirror (Score:5, Informative)

    by oever (233119) on Thursday April 24, 2003 @10:19AM (#5798874) Homepage
    Here [fenk.wau.nl]'s a mirror of the pdf file.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 24, 2003 @10:23AM (#5798909)

    Just do a little searching on Sam Varghese and see what an idiot this supposed journalist is. His articles are little more than the whining of an ill-informed, angst-ridden gadget-geek.

    His "article" on Mono, for instance. [smh.com.au]

    • by mrlpz (605212)
      Tired of AC's posting flamers...lots of journalists have skewed views.....The guy who did the analysis of the EULA/GPL sounds like he knew what he was doing when he did his investigation, and that's what really matters.

      If you've got a beef with the journalist, so be it. The research, however, confirms to me, the impressions I've felt for a while. The MS EULA should really be called MSCYA ( or maybe MSCBA ).

    • Mono SUCKS! (Score:5, Funny)

      by Mr. Underbridge (666784) on Thursday April 24, 2003 @10:53AM (#5799181)
      Just do a little searching on Sam Varghese and see what an idiot this supposed journalist is. His articles are little more than the whining of an ill-informed, angst-ridden gadget-geek.

      His "article" on Mono, for instance. [smh.com.au]

      Man, mono sucks, I dunno what your problem is. First time I tried it, I got it from my girlfriend, and I couldn't even get out of bed for a week. Damned doctor had to run all kinds of tests on me. I tell ya, I don't ever want to try using mono again.

      If this guy says .NET is worse than mono, that's pretty bad. I don't know what this .NET thing is, but it sounds like plague or polio or something.

  • Forbidden Uses (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Shadow2097 (561710) <shadow2097NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday April 24, 2003 @10:23AM (#5798911)
    Ok, its one thing to have a EULA that tries to prevent piracy and the like. To be quite honest, I have no problems with MS or any other company using a EULA to try and enforce that.

    But why would a EULA make a user agree to not use a particular product as a webserver or fileserver?? Before I turned to Linux, I had an old computer running Windows 98 acting as a fileserver. If I wanted to do that with XP Pro I'd be in violation of the EULA?

    Technicaly, that means that anyone who enables file and printer sharing is violating the EULA! If MS is so against it, why do they build it into their products?!

    -Shadow

    • Shareholderes rejoice!

      It's all part of the "SUE THEM LATER" strategy.
    • Re:Forbidden Uses (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Utopia (149375)
      If I wanted to do that with XP Pro I'd be in violation of the EULA

      XP home edition cannot be used as a webserver or fileserver.
      You can use XP Pro for your webserving/file serving needs.

      Home edition doesn't have IIS built into it. Only XP Pro does.
      The comparison was between the XP home edition EULA and GPL.
      • Actually, the article states that they used XP Professional.
      • Re:Forbidden Uses (Score:5, Insightful)

        by spanky1 (635767) on Thursday April 24, 2003 @10:52AM (#5799177)
        XP Pro has IIS, but it cannot be used as a "real" web server or file server. XP Pro is limited to 10 connections. Also, MS tells you to not use it in this role because they want people using Windows Server as much as possible.
        • Mod Parent Up! (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Corporate Drone (316880) on Thursday April 24, 2003 @12:19PM (#5800159)
          The poster has this one spot-on. While working at a company a number of years ago, designing a system which allowed mobile devices to connect to a local PC, just in order to do an archiving data dump, I found that we could only allow up to 10 distinct devices to ftp to the PC. (That's ten distinct devices, not ten concurrent devices, btw.)

          To be able to do so, we'd have had to upgrade to a server version of the product. We'd have had to upgrade around 600 PCs across the US, not to mention the licensing costs.

          Don't know how it all hashed out in the end, although we decided at the time to dump the functionality rather than hand over our wallets.

        • Re:Forbidden Uses (Score:3, Interesting)

          by secolactico (519805)
          XP Pro is limited to 10 connections

          I'm not sure if the same is true for XP, but in 2000 Pro the IIS didn't allow to create virtual hosts either. Only one site and that's it.

          Of course, with a 10 connection limit, there's not much point in having virtual webs, except for testing purposes, maybe.

    • Re:Forbidden Uses (Score:3, Informative)

      Well, there is a huge difference in a fileserver and MS file sharing. I do believe that they mean a dedicated file server, dedicated to serving files over a network, whereas normal file sharing for home users would just include the odd file transported over the network, while the main use of the computer is home/office use. Thus cramming a load of 200gB HDs in a case, installing WinXP on it and chucking it in a corner to chew away on serving files indefinitely would be illegal, while using windows file shar

    • A person buys XP Pro. They open the box, install it and read the EULA. They note that it doesn't allow them to do the necessary file/print sharing (That the software is capable of doing them is irrelevant. The license doesn't allow it.). So they have to go out and buy a new version of XP that does allow them to file/print share. And of course, they can't return the old XP Pro because they opened the box and installed it (Good luck on convincing the seller that you rejected the EULA and have uninstalled it.). Two sales, one code base, all the work on the buyers side. Good day.
      • Don't Think So (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Bios_Hakr (68586) <xptical.gmail@com> on Thursday April 24, 2003 @11:44AM (#5799750) Homepage
        It just doesn't work that way.

        I installed XP pro. By default, it enables print sharing and creates admin file shares for hard drives. I think the EULA in this case is to prevent a customer from bugging MS with their printer not doing network stuff properly.

        No one ever reads these licenses. If they are read, they are usually misunderstood or ignored. A lot of what is in them is just so MS can say "well, we told you not to do that" if someone calls the support line with a problem.

        Some of the terms are crazy. If you don't like them, just ignore them or use another product.

        The EULA is virtually unenforcable in any event. If you disagree with a EULA, the EULA says to return it to the place of purchace. If the place of purchace refuses to accept a return, the EULA has been voided. In that case, the product reverts to standard copyright law.

        There are a thousand ways lawyers could turn it. None of them would end up in the small guys favor.

        • Re:Don't Think So (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Malcontent (40834) on Thursday April 24, 2003 @12:00PM (#5799941)
          Nice set of arguments there.

          1) Ms puts things in their EULA so that they won't have to provide support.
          2) No one ever reads EULA.
          3) People misunderstant the EULA
          4) MS will never enfor the EULA.
          5) You can ignore the parts the of EULA you don't like.
          6) The EULA is unenforcable.

          and finally.

          7) Use another product.

          Hey! Number 7 is what this topic was all about in the first place.
    • Re:Forbidden Uses (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mpe (36238) on Thursday April 24, 2003 @12:58PM (#5800556)
      Ok, its one thing to have a EULA that tries to prevent piracy and the like. To be quite honest, I have no problems with MS or any other company using a EULA to try and enforce that.

      An EULA is entirely redundent here. Since it would simply duplicate copyright law. You might just as well sticker every physical object you own with "you may not take this without permission"....
  • "comparing"?!?! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 24, 2003 @10:24AM (#5798924)
    What will they compare next?

    How about Max OSX vs. a bicycle?

    Or perhaps a puppy vs. lear jet?

    The GPL is not an EULA - it's a distribution license. Maybe if the MS EULA dictated terms under which you can distribute WinXP, then you might be able to compare them.

    I just have to ask - what's the point?
    • Re:"comparing"?!?! (Score:3, Informative)

      by sqlrob (173498)
      Maybe if the MS EULA dictated terms under which you can distribute WinXP

      It does:
      One transfer of ownership allowed, no copying.

      Next question?
      • Re:"comparing"?!?! (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Chris Burke (6130)
        It does:
        One transfer of ownership allowed, no copying.

        Next question?


        Do you know the difference between distributing (making copies of) and transfering ownership (moving around one copy)?

        The MS EULA does not dictate distribution terms (actually, it does -- it says you can't distribute. ;)
    • by gosand (234100) on Thursday April 24, 2003 @10:47AM (#5799144)
      The GPL is not an EULA - it's a distribution license. Maybe if the MS EULA dictated terms under which you can distribute WinXP, then you might be able to compare them. I just have to ask - what's the point?

      I see your point, they are different. But there are ties. You need to know what you are getting into when you install software.

      The GPL says "do what you want - BUT if you decide to distribute it, you must follow these rules...."
      The MS EULA says "by installing this software, you agree to the following terms....".
      Yes, they are different, but MS has been FUDding the heck out of the GPL. So someone compared it to their EULA. (not very well, mind you, but whatever)

      You are right, they are different things. But people need to understand that they are different things, and WHY they are different. I think they should have a nutshell comparison of the two:

      GPL: "You own this software, do what you want with it. If you redistribute it in any way, follow the courteous rules defined in the license agreement."

      MSEULA: "We own your ass, and can change the terms of owning your ass whenever we want. We reserve the right to own your ass in the future."

      • The GPL says "do what you want - BUT if you decide to distribute it, you must follow these rules...."

        More accuratly copyright law says "you cannot distribute a copyright work without permission from the copyright holder". The GPL says "you have permission to distribute this copyrighted work subject to the following conditions".
    • The GPL is not an EULA

      I've used many pieces of software which wouldn't allow me to use them without clicking "I Agree" to the GPL. How is that not an EULA?

      • Re:"comparing"?!?! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Chris Burke (6130) on Thursday April 24, 2003 @11:30AM (#5799590) Homepage
        I've used many pieces of software which wouldn't allow me to use them without clicking "I Agree" to the GPL. How is that not an EULA?

        Because you're not violating anything if you get around having to click on that? Treating the GPL like an EULA doesn't make it an EULA. :)

        BTW, what apps were these?
        • Re:"comparing"?!?! (Score:4, Informative)

          by Frater 219 (1455) on Thursday April 24, 2003 @11:52AM (#5799840) Journal
          BTW, what apps were these?

          Many GPL-covered applications packaged for Mac OS X put a copy of the GPL in the "license" slot in the standard OS X installer package. This causes it to be displayed in the same way that an EULA would be on a proprietary package. I imagine this is the same on Windows GPLed programs that use the standard installer.

          It doesn't really matter. As has been pointed out several times now, the GPL isn't an end-user license at all, and it isn't an agreement either. It's an assignment of permission to copy and make derivative works from a piece of copyrighted software -- a license, not a "license agreement".

          The GPL isn't even a contract (certainly not a "contract of adhesion" like MS EULAs), and it it expressly disclaims covering the act of running the covered program [slashdot.org]. It presumes that if you came by your copy of the program legally (as by buying it or being given it) you already have the right to run it on your property -- the only things you need permission from the author to do are those things normally restricted by copyright law.

      • Re:"comparing"?!?! (Score:3, Informative)

        by gdr (107158)

        I've used many pieces of software which wouldn't allow me to use them without clicking "I Agree" to the GPL.

        Isn't this a violation of the GPL? I thought the GPL only allows you to redistribute the software if you place no restrictions on it's use.

        Section 6 of the GPL (emphasis mine):

        6. Each time you redistribute the Program (or any work based on the Program), the recipient automatically receives a license from the original licensor to copy, distribute or modify the Program subject to these terms an

  • by p3d0 (42270) on Thursday April 24, 2003 @10:25AM (#5798926)
    "Under Linux, many of the libraries are released as LGPL software, which allows non-Open Source software...to be compiled and linked to these programming libraries. This software then can remain as proprietary, non-Open Source software, even though it directly links to GPL software," the study pointed out, effectively killing the idea that the GPL has some kind of viral properties.
    Er, the LGPL is not the GPL. It's a different license. The GPL does have viral properties, and that's the whole point of it.
    • by abe ferlman (205607) <bgtrio@ y a hoo.com> on Thursday April 24, 2003 @10:40AM (#5799060) Homepage Journal
      The GPL does have viral properties

      The GPL has vaccine-like properties. Virii have the connotation of being malicious. The GPL ensures that software, once freed, stays free. And like a vaccine, you can't get it accidentally- you have to deliberately ingest it (i.e., link it into your own code). A virus is something you might get whether you like it or not.

      Try linking to some Microsoft code and then check the licensing health of your application. What's that you say? You have to convince Microsoft to allow you this privelege, just like you would have to obtain permission from the author(s) of GPL'd software to make nonfree extensions?

      The vaccine metaphor is more apt- the GPL allows healthy usage of code and prevents non-free cancers, parasites and virii from growing on otherwise free (healthy) software projects. Proprietary licenses can be viewed as more of a tourniquet, cutting off all unapproved growths, for better or for worse.

      • Wake up (Score:4, Insightful)

        by mdielmann (514750) on Thursday April 24, 2003 @12:02PM (#5799958) Homepage Journal
        The term viral referes to the fact that the GPL spreads to whatever it touches. They're not talking about the outcome - there are viruses that are benign to the point of being ignored, but they're still viruses (some are beneficial, like bacteriophages). Vaccine has nice touchy-feely connotations, but I haven't contracted a vaccine lately, have you?
        • Re:Wake up (Score:5, Insightful)

          by tuffy (10202) on Thursday April 24, 2003 @12:35PM (#5800342) Homepage Journal
          The term viral referes to the fact that the GPL spreads to whatever it touches.

          A vaccine also spreads throughout your system, should you choose to take it. The key difference is that a virus will attempt to spread of its own accord but a vaccine requires the conscious effort of the user to spread. You can't "accidentally" include GPLed code in your programs, nor will GPLed programs intentionally write GPLed code into your programs.

          • Re:Wake up (Score:3, Insightful)

            by mpe (36238)
            You can't "accidentally" include GPLed code in your programs, nor will GPLed programs intentionally write GPLed code into your programs.

            Or even into your data. Some proprietary applications claim to apply an EULA to the data you use them with.
  • Newsflash! (Score:2, Funny)

    by Noryungi (70322)
    (To keep the Australian flavour)

    In other news today an Australian newspaper compared huge man-eating white sharks with soft, nice furry koalas.

    The short version: Koalas are nicer (despite their sharp little teeths).

    Sorry... Could not resist... =)
    • cannot be used as a webserver or fileserver
    I'll be the first to admit that I skipped over the EULA when I installed Windows XP, so I was very surprised when i read this. From what I can recall, this has been implemented in Windows since Windows 95.

    Yet network and internet filesharing is still built into Windows XP...
    • by Utopia (149375) on Thursday April 24, 2003 @10:34AM (#5799012)
      You are not in voilation.

      They are comparing the XP Home edition EULA.
      The professional version which you are using doesn't have that clause.





      • Not to mention, as clearly stated in the article, they are comparing XP Professional, which ships with File Sharing and IIS, to the GPL.
      • by Selanit (192811) on Thursday April 24, 2003 @02:42PM (#5801646)
        Quoth the poster:
        They are comparing the XP Home edition EULA.

        The professional version which you are using doesn't have that clause.
        Incorrect. The MS EULA under analysis is that of Windows XP Professional Edition. And it does indeed have a clause limiting the number of machines that are allowed to share resources hosted on your computer. The relevant clause is:
        You may permit a maximum of ten (10) computers or other electronic devices (each a "Device") to

        connect to the Workstation Computer to utilize the services of the Product solely for File and Print
        services, Internet Information Services, and remote access (including connection sharing and
        telephony services). The ten connection maximum includes any indirect connections made through
        "multiplexing" or other software or hardware which pools or aggregates connections.
        It is unclear (to me, at least) whether this means that you're only allowed ten concurrent network connections, or whether you can only have ten Devices physically connected to your computer (eg through a LAN, including 802.11b hookups which we'll file under "physical" for the sake of argument).

        I am going to assume based on the phrase "utilize the services of the Product" that the clause refers to network connections rather than the physical attachment of other devices to your computer. So, file-sharing and print-sharing and connection-sharing are okay, but only to ten other computers. It would be fairly easy to violate this term. Suppose you hold a LAN party and 14 of your friends come over. There's a recent patch for one of the games you plan to play, and you use a FileZilla FTP server [sourceforge.net] to share it across the LAN so everybody can get it without mucking about with Network Neighborhood. Boom, you've violated the license.

        One of the other posters has suggested that the restriction only applies to the number of computers accessing yours at any given time -- so you could give access to thousands of different computers, so long as there were never more than ten connected at one moment. I don't have XP, so I couldn't say -- does Network Neighborhood have a built-in connection limit in WinXP? Anyway, that would only apply to Network Neighborhood. Using Apache or any of a whole slew of other server-type programs could invalidate your license pretty quick.

        Btw, I lifted that bit of license clause from the original report, not the summary that Slashdot has linked to. Another poster supplied a mirror of the PDF file. [slashdot.org] It's lengthy, but worth reading.
  • by anthony_dipierro (543308) on Thursday April 24, 2003 @10:29AM (#5798965) Journal
    Some people lease cars. Others rent. Others buy. Each comes with a different cost, a different value, and a different set of restrictions. GPLed software is closer to leasing. Microsoft software is more like renting. Public domain is like buying.
    • Hey Anthony,

      GPL'd software is much better than leasing. It's more like someone has an endless supply of self-replicating cars and is giving them away to anyone who will agree not to lock theirs up in a garage, and let anyone who asks get a copy of their car. Hmm, this illustrates the problems with equating software with material objects!

      [This post somewhat inspired by Neal Stephenson's "In the Beginning was the Command Line" [spack.org]...but his analogy is much better :)]
  • In summary... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sheldon (2322) on Thursday April 24, 2003 @10:30AM (#5798970)
    GPL protects rights of users at expense of developers.

    XP EULA protects rights of developers at expense of users.
    • Not exactly. The GPL protects the rights of the original developers, sometimes at the expense of other developers. And this expense to other developers is if they want to take the source and release it as part of a closed product.
    • Re:In summary... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by listen (20464) on Thursday April 24, 2003 @10:46AM (#5799129)
      More like:

      GPL protects the rights of users,
      grants external developers extra rights,
      copyright holder retains rights

      EULA restricts users rights,
      restricts external developers,
      grants extra rights to the copyright
      holder from the external users.

      *BSD* protects the rights of users,
      grants external developers even more
      extra rights than GPL
      copyright holder retains original rights


  • Anybody know exactly what the expression "puts paid to" means?

    Am I close in interpreting this as "discredits"?

    It's an Australian thang, isn't it?

  • by borgdows (599861) on Thursday April 24, 2003 @10:33AM (#5799003)
    WinXP EULA doesn't say...

    "cannot be used as a webserver or fileserver"

    but

    "shouldn't be ever used as a webserver or fileserver"
    • Hmm, the 'real' phrase is pretty ambiguous, especially for a license. Is the implication that MS is warning the user that the software isn't fit for those purposes? Or is it still meant as a restriction on what MS wants their software used for?
      • Hmm, the 'real' phrase is pretty ambiguous, especially for a license. Is the implication that MS is warning the user that the software isn't fit for those purposes? Or is it still meant as a restriction on what MS wants their software used for?

        I will leave the idea of MS software being "fit" for any purpose to the MS bashers. But it appears more like a way to say nothing while implying much, to keep people from doing what they have the legal right to do, and MS can't stop them from doing.
    • How would this makes any sense seeing as a base WinXP install provides you with ALL the utilities you need to set up and run a fileserver on a Windows (SMB) network ? This is possible with both Home and Professional versions and the Pro version has more advanced features that let the administrator fine-tune the file/directory permissions noticably better...
  • It's interesting to note that the GPL allows the user to change the source, while the EULA allows MicroSoft to change the EULA, and force the user to accept it. This comparison alone shows the breadth of the ideological gap between the two ways of licensing, and although I admit it seems like a Good Thing to note that free software will not necessarily "infect" proprietary software, I'm not certain it will change anything.

    Do I really think that this will cause MicroSoft to release some of thier tools un

  • by LMCBoy (185365) on Thursday April 24, 2003 @10:36AM (#5799031) Homepage Journal
    What's the deal with the study saying something like "43.9% of the MS EULA deals with restricting user's rights, while only 22.1% of the GPL is used for that topic". What is that based on, word count? Ridiculous(*)!

    Why not just report what the licenses actually say; what is one supposed to glean from how many words they use
    saying it?

    (*: Note, fellow slashdotters; this is the one and only way to spell the word 'ridiculous'. Thank you. Don't even get me started on 'loose'/'lose'... ;)
  • puts paid? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Hell O'World (88678) on Thursday April 24, 2003 @10:36AM (#5799033)
    Offtopic, but what does "Study puts paid to common myth" mean? Is that Australianese?
  • They say that the GPL'ed code has no warrantee because there is no fee.. and then they say you have can charge a fee...
    What's going on?
    • Correct, GPL software is free for all to use. You can, however, still sell copies of the same software. You also can charge for service and support on said software, even if it was provided for free.
  • by idles (556867) on Thursday April 24, 2003 @10:45AM (#5799109) Homepage
    .. That you never need to astalavista keygens for GPL software.
  • by Marillion (33728) <ericbardesNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday April 24, 2003 @10:45AM (#5799113)
    Where I work, the real issue isn't Linux/(Open,Free,Net}BSD versus MS Windows {XP,NT,2K} - The competition is HP-UX/AIX/Solaris.
    Anybody like to cite interesting portions of the EULA of those systems?
  • by Flamesplash (469287) on Thursday April 24, 2003 @10:46AM (#5799125) Homepage Journal
    The Microsoft EULA "appears to limit choices, options and actions" taken by users of software covered by that licence. The GPL appears to safeguard the rights of the original developers in order to ensure continued accessibility of the source code for the software, the study found.

    I think there is a flaw here. The MS XP EULA's 'end user' is refering to a person who simply uses the product, there is no option to be a 'developer user' here.

    The GPL 'end user' is including the EULA 'end user' and a 'developer user' into the same pot. I'm sure the EULA would look much different if MS intended people to actually modify the source code.

    So afai can see you have two different groups here. If linux actually ever becomes rampant on the desk top I don't think the "Over half (51 percent) of the GPL focused on extending users' rights" is going to really matter to the majority of the actual users. This 51% seems to only apply to 'developer users' not your plain old Joe Six-Pack user, and believe me there will be much more Joe Six-Packs than developers on a widley used OS. So now half the GPL is meaningless to most of the users?

    Here's your freedom, oh I'm sorry you can't actually use it?
    • by ctid (449118) on Thursday April 24, 2003 @10:51AM (#5799169) Homepage
      Even if you can't or won't or don't want to modify the source code, you get benefits from the fact that other people can. That's one of the key benefits of Free SW.

      • Follow up (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Flamesplash (469287)
        Don't get me wrong I agree with you. I do all my compiling using g++ and editing with vim at work.

        I was just pointing out that the differences in end users throws off the articles statistics.

        The study found that while 45 percent of the EULA was concerned with limiting users' rights, only 27 percent of the GPL concentrated on this aspect.....And while 40 percent of the EULA limited remedies, the corresponding figure for the GPL was 22 percent.

        If you take away the 51% of the GPL that has little mirror i
        • Re:Follow up (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ctid (449118)
          Yeah, I see your point, but the real issue here is that it's completely meaningless for the article to compare "percentages" of the licences. What on earth could that possibly mean? When I read it earlier, I thought the article was very interesting in the main, except for this completely idiotic "numerical analysis" tacked onto the front - as if that somehow gives the qualitative analysis validity. Bizarre.

  • The study pointed out that if a developer wanted to create free or open source software which he or she wanted to use in proprietary software without that proprietary software itself coming under the GPL, they could use the Library GPL, which was specifically designed for this purpose.

    The developer, as the copyright holder, is free to release their code under whatever restrictive licences they like, even if it was previously released under GPL.

  • by bier (12706) on Thursday April 24, 2003 @10:51AM (#5799167)

    In a phone conversation with an IT worker-bee at a State Government agency I was informed that we could not use certain software due to fact that it is freeware. The word freeware, not Open-Source was used. In my amazement I was blurted out that it was one of the "dumbest things I ever heard" and was told that the State IT governing board wanted a license just in case they needed to sue somebody. This begs the questions:

    1. Doesn't the EULA, as mentioned in the story exclude most remedies, including litigation?

    2. Do you really think you can win such a case?

    3. If you do win (and pig's fly), will that change the software, or will you get some monetary settlement? Meaning your stuff is still broken.

    This comparison is something I will definitely keep close for my next conversation involving proprietary vs OS licenses. BTW the software in question was Tomcat.
  • by Snowgen (586732)

    ...it could be a nice little piece to show your PHB next time.

    OK--I have a little Karma to burn, so I'll ask the question.

    What's a PHB?

    The only thing I could come up with was "Player's Handbook", but I know that can't be right. It sounds like some corporate term, but it's not one I'm familar with.

  • by sapgau (413511) on Thursday April 24, 2003 @10:57AM (#5799223) Journal
    From the article:
    Some features about software covered by the EULA:
    • copying was prohibited
    • could be used only on one computer with a maximum of 2 processors
    • cannot be used as a webserver or fileserver
    • required registration after 30 days
    • could stop working if hardware changes were made
    • updates could change the EULA if the company so wished
    • could be transferred to another user only once
    • the new user must agree to the license terms (no specification how this could be achieved)
    • imposes limitations on reverse engineering
    • gives Microsoft rights to collect information about the system and the its use
    • gives Microsoft the right to supply this information to other organisations
    • gives Microsoft the right to make changes to the computer without having to ask.
    • warranty for the first 90 days
    • fixes, updates or patches carry no warranty
  • by ashitaka (27544) on Thursday April 24, 2003 @11:12AM (#5799384) Homepage
    OK, we've all seen the smart-ass Apples v. Oranges, news at 11 posts. So what, pray tell, would it be more appropriate to compare an XP EULA to in the Free Software world?

    Most of the comments suggest the GPL is developer-oriented whereas the EULA is user-oriented.

    What is the EULA for Free SOftware then? Unlimited use, unlimited copying, no requirements or obligations to provide second or third-parties?

    Someone needs to write the definitive GEULA. (or should that be GNEULA?)

    • by infiniti99 (219973) <justin@affinix.com> on Thursday April 24, 2003 @11:52AM (#5799839) Homepage
      Someone needs to write the definitive GEULA. (or should that be GNEULA?)

      Though it would be essentially redundant, I guess our GNEULA could look like this:

      #1 - Please read up on Copyright law to learn what you are able to do with this software. This is basically your distribution/fair-use rights. We could have written the law text here, but since the gov't has done it already we figure we'll save our breath.

      #2 - Read our included LICENSE.GPL, LICENSE.BSD, or other file to learn about the additional freedoms you have.

      #3 - Instead of Yes/No, there is only an 'OK' button. This is because you have to accept Copyright law (it is not a question), and we don't care if you accept #2 or not (if you don't want your extra freedoms, no harm to us).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 24, 2003 @11:24AM (#5799501)
    Last month I bought a house. (Keep reading. This really is on topic.)

    After getting all the paperwork done, getting the loan from the bank, and even having the realtor say "It's all yours," I went to move in. Surprisingly, I discovered a note on the front door of my new house.

    It read "Although you have purchased the physical property and the materials used in building this house, the architectural designs are still copyrighted by us. Because of this, we reserve the right to tell you how you may use it. By opening this door and entering the house, you agree to abide by the terms of this agreement."

    It went on for five pages, but some of the points in there were the following:

    -You may not use your front porch to say anything negative about the realtor.

    -You must call us up to get permission if you wish to modify the house in any way (e.g. install new cabinets, doorknobs, shower heads, light bulbs)

    -We may place hidden video cameras in the house to collect information about how it's being used.

    -You may sell the house to another buyer only once.

    and of course my personal favorite:

    -We may change the terms of this agreement at any time by posting them on our website.

    Okay, obviously I'm lying here. None of this really happened. But my point is that the agreement on the front door would have been legally unenforceable. It was not presented at the time of the purchase, it was never signed by me, and if they tried to sue me for breaking the agreement, they would be laughed out of court.

    And yet, every one of these points have had similar clauses in Microsoft software licenses. Furthermore, the EULA is not signed at the time of purchase. I never even see it until I install the software. What's the difference between the EULA and this hypothetical note on the door? In my opinion, neither of them should be legal.
  • how is that legaly binding? I see 2 options, one would be that by agreeing, I agree that I agree to any other EULA that may appear automaticaly. Last I checked implied concent was not legaly binding.

    The second would be that I am bound to whatever the EULA is at the time I am found to not be in compliance with it. Again that doesn't seem to be legaly binding either, as I agree to what the EULA at the time I agree, not at the time it is used against me.

    I definetly not, nor was I ever, a student of law, any lawer types out there can tell me how I can bound to a contract that can change at any time?
    • No you missunderdstand.

      Of course you only agree to th3 EULA that is current when you argee to it.

      However it say that any UPDATES (read service packs) May come with an updated EULA, and that IF you install them you have to argree to the new EULA which could say anything about anything (even if the service pack does not update it)

      Basically, if you want to keep current they hold you by the balls.

  • by ciaran_o_riordan (662132) on Thursday April 24, 2003 @12:49PM (#5800469) Homepage
    There is a huge difference between these two licenses in what freedoms they grant you but I think the freedoms they grant others are more important.

    Most people aren't programmers. Most programmers don't have time to fix every bug or add every feature they want.

    That the GNU GPL gives *you* these freedoms isn't the important part, it's that it gives *everyone* these freedoms.

    MS EULA treats people as lone individuals and prohibits sharing/helping. The GPL expects this and flourishes when sharing and helping occur.

    Ciaran O'Riordan
  • by 0xB00F (655017) on Thursday April 24, 2003 @12:55PM (#5800520) Homepage Journal

    are more laywers pretending to be IT people.

    From the article:

    Also, since we are not lawyers, we thought we would try and map the contents of the licences into words and meanings that IT and management can understand,

    Okay, so what we have here is an analysis of "legal documents" by a group of people who are not lawyers. Hmmm, that somehow knocks the whole analysis idea. This is more like having a mechanic perform an autopsy and write a coroner's report.

  • by Andrewkov (140579) on Thursday April 24, 2003 @03:01PM (#5801875)
    The real difference between the GPL and MS EULA:

    GPL: My program is finished! You can take my baby and do whatever you want with it!

    MS EULA: You use our program and your first born baby belongs to us.

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