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Microsoft joins effort to help advance open source licensing

Today Microsoft is pleased to join RedHat, Facebook, Google, IBM, CA Technologies, Cisco, HPE, SAP, and SUSE, to announce that it is making an open source license commitment designed to help licensees overcome common mistakes in using open source software. Specifically, the commitment offers licensees of GPLv2 code a reasonable period of time to correct license compliance issues, building on emerging community norms already in place in the Linux kernel community. We believe it is very much in keeping with the spirit of the open source community to allow for such ‘cure’ opportunities, as evidenced by the inclusion of such terms in the GPLv3 and other commonly-used open source license forms. (Note: for the specific details of our commitment and how it operates with GPLv2 licensed code, please see the end of this post.)
Microsoft has long been an active contributor to open source development, including under the GPL. For instance, we’ve contributed code to the Linux kernel and we’ve also helped advance R, the statistical programming language used by data science experts around the world. In fact, it’s been ten years since we submitted our first patch to a GPLv2 project, ADOdb, a database abstraction layer for PHP.
Microsoft continues to make a broad range of contributions to open source projects based on the requirements of our customers and the developer community:

  • Microsoft is an active contributor on GitHub where we participate in over 2,000 projects
  • Today, over 40 percent of VMs running on Azure are Linux, and when new VMs are created, Linux is outpacing Windows.
  • In addition to Microsoft Azure’s strong support for open source technologies, Microsoft is bringing many of its flagship technologies to Linux, including; .NET, Visual Studio, and SQL Server.
  • Microsoft is open sourcing more of its own technology, including .NET Core, Visual Studio Code, the Xamarin SDK, Powershell and the Microsoft Edge Chakra JavaScript engine.

We believe the commitment we and others are making today represents an important step in our journey forward, as collaboration and innovation around open source accelerate.
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Our Commitment
Before filing or continuing to prosecute any legal proceeding or claim (other than a Defensive Action) arising from termination of a Covered License, Microsoft commits to extend to the person or entity (“you”) accused of violating the Covered License the following provisions regarding cure and reinstatement, taken from GPL version 3. As used here, the term ‘this License’ refers to the specific Covered License being enforced.

However, if you cease all violation of this License, then your license from a particular copyright holder is reinstated (a) provisionally, unless and until the copyright holder explicitly and finally terminates your license, and (b) permanently, if the copyright holder fails to notify you of the violation by some reasonable means prior to 60 days after the cessation.

Moreover, your license from a particular copyright holder is reinstated permanently if the copyright holder notifies you of the violation by some reasonable means, this is the first time you have received notice of violation of this License (for any work) from that copyright holder, and you cure the violation prior to 30 days after your receipt of the notice.

Microsoft intends this Commitment to be irrevocable, and binding and enforceable against Microsoft and assignees of or successors to Microsoft’s copyrights.
Microsoft may modify this Commitment by publishing a new edition on this page or a successor location.

‘Covered License’ means the GNU General Public License, version 2 (GPLv2), the GNU Lesser General Public License, version 2.1 (LGPLv2.1), or the GNU Library

General Public License, version 2 (LGPLv2), all as published by the Free Software Foundation.

‘Defensive Action’ means a legal proceeding or claim that Microsoft brings against you in response to a prior proceeding or claim initiated by you or your affiliate.
‘Microsoft’ means Microsoft Corp. and its affiliates.