[freetds] TDS versions

Dossy Shiobara dossy at panoptic.com
Wed May 28 17:40:01 EDT 2008

On 2008.05.28, Craig Berry <craigberry at mac.com> wrote:
> The pledge is what I was referring to, specifically the part that
> says, 
> "If You engage in the commercial distribution or importation of
> software derived from an open source project or if You make or use
> such software outside the scope of creating such software code, You do
> not benefit from this promise [i.e., the pledge] for such distribution
> or for these other activities."
> So if I contribute code  I'm covered, but if my blender of the future
> wants to embed FreeTDS in its firmware so it can retrieve the latest
> margarita recipes from the mother ship, and if that future version of
> FreeTDS includes anything covered by the patent, then my layman's
> reading is that the open source pledge does nothing at all for me;
> instead I have to pay licensing fees to Microsoft just as if I had
> obtained the implementation from them.  I had thought (correct me if
> I'm wrong) that the LGPL would allow such use with some restrictions.

My layman's understanding of the quoted text is that if you engage in
commercial distribution, you must pay for the MCPP license.
"Commercial" in this case seems to be the opposite of "open source."

The specific scenario for FreeTDS, as I understand it, would be:

    Bob, a developer on the FreeTDS project, accepts the Open Source
    pledge.  His contributions to FreeTDS, a GPL'ed project, comply with
    the pledge's conditions.

    Alice, a developer of a blender, embeds FreeTDS in its firmware.  In
    order to comply with GPLv3, Alice's company would need to release
    its firmware source under the GPLv3 as well.  Thus, Alice can also
    take advantage of the Open Source pledge with Microsoft.

    If Alice doesn't release source to the firmware, she will not be in
    compliance with either GPLv3 nor Microsoft's Open Source pledge.

I don't see a problem, here.  In other words: I don't see a way that
Alice can be in compliance with GPLv3 but not be eligible to use the
Microsoft Open Source pledge path.  Do you?

> The likes of Easysoft, Attunity, and such may depend on all the TDS
> happening on the Windows side using Microsoft's ODBC driver, or they
> may have their own TDS implementations, or they may have obtained
> commercial licenses (and code) from Microsoft.  Or they may use
> FreeTDS, couldn't they?  If the latter, then it appears to me that if
> they used a hypothetical future version that supports anything covered
> by the new patent, then they would owe royalties to Microsoft even
> though Microsoft had nothing to do with creating the implementation.

As long as they use FreeTDS unmodified, and FreeTDS continues to be Open
Source, I don't see a problem.  Perhaps I'm reading and interpreting the
pledge incorrectly.

> Hopefully I'm simply wrong about all of this.  

Or, worse: I could be.  :-(

Dossy Shiobara              | dossy at panoptic.com | http://dossy.org/
Panoptic Computer Network   | http://panoptic.com/
  "He realized the fastest way to change is to laugh at your own
    folly -- then you can let go and quickly move on." (p. 70)

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