September 12, 2006

Microsoft Open Specification Promise

Despite the fact that Microsoft has consistently stated its commitment to make the WS-* specs available on a royalty-free basis, some in the industry have remained concerned by a lingering amount of FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) around the intentions and motives for the Web services specifications.

So, in a further effort to reassure the legions of WS-* supporters everywhere, and after much consultation with the industry and representatives of the open source community, Microsoft today announced a personal Open Specification Promise (OSP) to implementers of any of the 35 different Web Services specifications - from SOAP and WSDL through to all the Advanced Web Services specs like WS-ReliableMessaging and WS-SecureConversation.

The Open Specification Promise is a simple and clear way to assure that the broadest audience of developers and customers working with commercial or open source software can implement specifications through a simplified method of sharing of technical assets, while recognizing the legitimacy of intellectual property.

Commentary on the significance of this announcement is probably best left to such legal experts as Mark Webbink and Lawrence Rosen:

Mark Webbink

"Red Hat believes that the text of the OSP gives sufficient flexibility to implement the listed specifications in software licensed under free and open source licenses. We commend Microsoft's efforts to reach out to representatives from the open source community and solicit their feedback on this text, and Microsoft's willingness to make modifications in response to our comments."

Mark Webbink
Deputy General Counsel
Redhat, Inc

Lawrence Rosen

"I see Microsoft's introduction of the OSP as a good step by Microsoft to further enable collaboration between software vendors and the open source community. This OSP enables the open source community to implement these standard specifications without having to pay any royalties to Microsoft or sign a license agreement. I'm pleased that this OSP is compatible with free and open source licenses."

Lawrence Rosen
Rosenlaw and Einschlag, a technology law firm (
Stanford University, Lecturer in Law
Author of : "Open Source Licensing: Software Freedom and Intellectual Property Law"

Posted by Jorgen Thelin at September 12, 2006 10:00 AM - [PermaLink]