December 9, 2023

PBX Science

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Microsoft Store delays ban on charging for open source software

4 min read

Microsoft Store delays ban on charging for open source software

Microsoft Store delays ban on charging for open source software.  Limit the commercialization of open source? 

Microsoft updated its Microsoft Store policy on June 16 with a new one that “prohibits charging in the store for open source or other software that is generally available for free, and restricts unreasonably high pricing”; the new policy originally The official effective date is set for July 16.

But the latest news is that Giorgio Sardo, general manager of the Microsoft Store, said that they will delay the implementation of the policy in response to the opposition received from the developer community.

On June 16, we shared a policy to protect customers from misleading listings, effective July 16.

After listening to the development community, we may get different feedback than expected. We will hold off on implementing this policy until we clarify our intentions. stay tuned.

Microsoft Store delays ban on charging for open source software

Microsoft’s new policy seems to limit the commercial viability of open source software to some extent.

The Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC) issued a complaint alleging that the provision subverts long-standing app store policies and has disrupted commerce on the platform.

In particular, Microsoft now prohibits redistributors of free software from charging any fee (ie, “profit”) for almost all free software.

” Microsoft has gone to great lengths for decades to scare the commercial software sector with stories of how FOSS (especially Linux) is not a commercially viable product.

Microsoft has even claimed that anyone developing FOSS under a copyleft is against the U.S. way .

Today, there are many developers who make a living creating, supporting and redistributing FOSS, and they fund these activities (in part) by charging FOSS fees in the app store.

We in the FOSS community have long disagreed with Microsoft: we tout FOSS in Provides true neutrality in terms of commercial and non-commercial activity – both are allowed equally.

In short, our community has proven Microsoft wrong about the commercial viability and sustainability of FOSS. “

The SFC called Microsoft’s move an insult to the efforts of all developers who make a living writing open-source software.

Because there are already some developers who legally (at least under the FOSS license ) support their FOSS development through Microsoft’s recently banned app store deployment. For example, the famous Krita painting software and video editing software ShotCut are sold in Microsoft’s application store.

“Selling open source software has been a cornerstone of open source’s sustainability since open source. Just because it can be sold, an open source project like Linux (which Microsoft claims to love) is estimated to be worth billions of dollars. Microsoft clearly doesn’t want any FOSS developer to be able to Write open source code in a sustainable manner.”

And pointed out that this is already an old tactic of Microsoft; they always roll out some unreasonable policies, and then “graciously” withdraw them after a few weeks or months.

The company followed this strategy when they first created their app store (then the brand name was “Windows Marketplace”):

Initially, Microsoft banned all copyleft licenses from its app store, and when feeling the ire of the masses, Microsoft has stood up and said that it is in good faith and is willing to revise the policy to allow FOSS to be used in the Microsoft Store.

“Certainly, we again (as then) immediately called on Microsoft to reverse their new anti-FOSS Microsoft Store policies and make it clear in those policies that the sale of open source is not only permitted, but encouraged .”

Hayden Barnes, senior engineering manager at SUSE Rancher, also said that Microsoft’s new rule unreasonably limits the financial options of open source developers.

“I’m disappointed with the policy change that prohibits the sale of open source software in the Microsoft Store. The Store provides an opportunity for independent open source developers to create sustainable projects by charging a reasonable fee there.” Some open source projects have benefited from in-store sales, such as WinSCP and Krita; “this may also prompt more store applications to become proprietary”.

In response, Sardo insisted that Microsoft was simply trying to prevent abuse of Store listings, such as app cloning. ” We absolutely want to support developers in successfully distributing OSS apps. In fact, there are already great OSS apps in the store! The goal of this policy is to protect customers from misleading listings. Thanks for your feedback, we will Review to ensure intent is clear. ”

After Microsoft said it would delay the effective time of the policy, the SFC also said that in view of the urgent time before the policy in question actually takes effect, they called on Microsoft to officially release a revised policy to solve the problem, with a rollout date of at least Delayed by two months ( suggested September 16, 2022 ).

This will give the FOSS project a reasonable amount of time to digest the new policy and give Microsoft time to get feedback from affected projects and FOSS experts.

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