open source apps

Tech giant, Microsoft has now confirmed that it won’t be introducing a previously announced new policy that would effectively ban developers from selling open source apps on the Windows app store. Section 10.8.7 of its Microsoft Store Policies document, which was updated in mid-June and had been due to come into effect on Saturday (July 16).


With many in the open source apps community taking umbrage at the policy change, Microsoft said that it would be delaying enforcement so that it could clarify exactly what its intentions were. As of yesterday, Microsoft has now removed any mention of open source software from the section in question, plus section 11.2 of the document now includes a link for developers and companies to report intellectual property infringements. 


Microsoft is Working to Protect Customers from Misleading Listing in Open Source Apps


A Microsoft spokesperson said, “On June 16, we shared changes to updates made to several policies aimed at protecting customers from a misleading listing. In listening to the developer community, we have determined one of those updates could be perceived differently than intended. Today, Microsoft Store has published an update to policy 10.8.7 and 11.2 in order to clarify the language to better reflect our intention. The policy will now go into effect starting today.”


There were conflicting perspectives on Microsoft’s proposed policy. Many developers were broadly in favor of preventing so-called “copycat” apps from monetizing open source software, meaning that all they really wanted Microsoft to do was tweak the wording of the new policy to specify that IP-owners could still charge for their software.


Software Freedom Conservancy is Happy with Microsoft Making U-Turn on Introducing the Policy


Software Freedom Conservancy, a not-for-profit organization that provides support and legal services for projects of open source apps, has responded to Microsoft’s U-turn, “congratulating” the company for changing their app store T&Cs to “again allow commercial distribution of free and open source software (FOSS).”


“Fundamentally, the proprietary and for-profit app store model creates centers of power that, even when implemented fairly, tend to curtail software freedom,” the organization wrote. “Through vendor-controlled app stores, large corporations are problematic gatekeepers to commercial FOSS.”


Read more: Microsoft Lays off 1800 Employees as a Part of ‘Realignment Process’


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