Microsoft interdit les logiciels libres sur son Windows Marketplace

Jan Wildeboer vient de découvrir dans le contrat gouvernant le Windows Marketplace, l’ “App Store” du Windows Phone et de la XBox, quelques stipulations intéressantes…

Article 5 (traduit par mes soins):

e. L’Application ne doit inclure ni logiciel, ni documentation, ni aucun autre matériel qui, totalement ou en partie, est gouverné par ou sujet à une Licence Exclue, ou qui autrement causerait à l’Application d’être assujettie aux termes d’une Licence Exclue.

Comment le contrat définit-il une Licence Exclue ?

“Licence Exclue” comprend toute licence requérant, comme condition d’utilisation, de modification et/ou de distribution du logiciel assujetti à la licence, que le logiciel ou tout autre logiciel combiné et/ou distribué avec lui soit (i) dévoilé ou distribué sous la forme de code source; (ii) licencié dans le but de produire des œuvres dérivées; ou (iii) redistribuable sans frais*. Les Licences Exclues incluent, mais ne sons pas limitées aux Licences GPLv3. Dans le cadre de cette définition, “Licences GPLv3” désignent la Licence Générale Publique GNU version 3, la Licence Affero Générale Publique GNU version 3, la Licence Moindre Générale Publique GNU version 3, ainsi que tout équivalent à celles-ci.

Donc, ce n’est pas seulement le copyleft qui semble banni (comme on pourrait en faire l’interprétation concernant les conditions de l’App Store d’Apple) mais bien toute licence équivalant aux licences GPL désignées et surtout, tout logiciel qu’on peut partager librement…

Correction: le contrat exclut toute licence qui requiert la “redistribuabilité” sans frais du logiciel. Peut-on dire qu’une licence BSD/MIT requiert cela? Un logiciel n’est libre que si on a la liberté de redistribuer des copies. On ne peut pas dire que la licence du logiciel libre requiert la redistribution sans frais, mais elle requiert cette possibilité (donc on parle bien de “redistribuabilité”, en anglais “redistributable”).

* “redistribuable sans frais” : ça concerne bien tous les logiciels libres, GPL, BSD, MIT…

Open Letter to Steve Jobs

update 16:00: Steve Jobs answers to my open letter, see below.

Steve Jobs pointing his finger

That's rude!

Dear Steve Jobs,

Having read your Thoughts on Flash, I could not agree with you more. Flash is not the Web, and I am glad Apple seizes the opportunity of open standards to build better products for their customers.

But I am not so sure about your definition of the word Open in general. I will not argue here that it is ironic you find the Apple Store more open than Flash. I will not complain either that you like Openness so much that when you use “Open Source” Software to build your Mac operating system, you keep all the openness for yourself and don’t give it to your customers, nor to the developers whose works have been very useful to you.

I figured that writing an open letter was an appropriate way to remind you of a couple of things that you may have forgotten — maybe in good faith — about open standards.

It is true that HTML5 is an emerging open standard, and I am glad that you adopted it (well, did you really have the choice anyway?). However I have to say I am impressed in the way you succeed in saying how Apple has been doing great with open standards against Flash… while explaining Flash videos is not a problem, because Apple has implemented another video codec: H.264.

May I remind you that H.264 is not an open standard? This video codec is covered by patents, and “vendors and commercial users of products which make use of H.264/AVC are expected to pay patent licensing royalties for the patented technology” (ref). This is why Mozilla Firefox and Opera have not adopted this video codec for their HTML5 implementation, and decided to chose Theora as a sustainable and open alternative.

Free Software Foundation Europe have been raising consensus and awareness on Open Standards for some years already. I am sure we would be happy to help Apple make the good decision. So, to begin with, here is the definition:

An Open Standard refers to a format or protocol that is

  1. subject to full public assessment and use without constraints in a manner equally available to all parties;
  2. without any components or extensions that have dependencies on formats or protocols that do not meet the definition of an Open Standard themselves;
  3. free from legal or technical clauses that limit its utilisation by any party or in any business model;
  4. managed and further developed independently of any single vendor in a process open to the equal participation of competitors and third parties;
  5. available in multiple complete implementations by competing vendors, or as a complete implementation equally available to all parties.

Hugo Roy
April 2010

Steve Jobs’ email (with sources)

From: Steve Jobs
To: Hugo Roy
Subject: Re:Open letter to Steve Jobs: Thoughts on Flash
Date 30/04/2010 15:21:17

All video codecs are covered by patents. A patent pool is being assembled to go after Theora and other “open source” codecs now. Unfortunately, just because something is open source, it doesn’t mean or guarantee that it doesn’t infringe on others patents. An open standard is different from being royalty free or open source.

Sent from my iPad

Since it was an open letter, I think I have the right to publish his answer.