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and then....Microsoft does the right open-source thing

by: Scott Clark
November 13, 2009

I'm staggered. Microsoft has admitted that it violated the GPL2 with its Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool. That's not too surprising, since the violation was about as clear-cut as you could get. What's surprising, even shocking, is that Microsoft is going to re-release the tool under the GPL2!

In a note on Microsoft's open-source Web site Port 25, from Microsoft's Peter Galli, a former colleague of mine as it happens, said that "After looking at the code in question, we are now able to confirm (that GPL code from the ImageMaster open-source program had been put in Microsoft's proprietary program) ... although it was not intentional on our part."

The Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool is meant to help netbook users upgrade from XP to Windows 7. It makes it possible to take a Windows 7 DVD image and place it on a USB stick. Since many netbooks don't have a built-in DVD drive this was an essential program for users who wanted to install Windows 7 on their XP desktops-not an easy job on any PC. ImageMaster is a general-purpose tool for moving DVD images to USB sticks.

Galli continued, "While we had contracted with a third party to create the tool, we share responsibility as we did not catch it as part of our code review process. We have furthermore conducted a review of other code provided through the Microsoft Store and this was the only incident of this sort we could find."

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