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Riko Eksteen's Blog My experiences with life and code

It's been quite a while since I've blogged, and I decided to return to the fray today...

I've been quite busy at work, and since I don't have a connection at home I can't blog from there. I found myself spending most of my time at work doing work (as it should be I suppose), and not finding lots of time to post blog entries. And that's a real pity because I have an ever growing list of blog ideas queuing up.

Today I want to write about the WiX toolset. Most of my working life currently revolves around WiX, as we are trying to deploy it at Korbitec (my company). I actually have a blog entry long overdue about why I love WiX so much, but let's wait on that.

Apart from working towards using WiX around here, I also add my own bits and pieces to the WiX source code, mostly to see how we can adopt it easily around here (people are fairly hesitant to "code in XML", which is a pity really). I've mostly made additions to tallow, the toolset's code generation tool, and other people have shown interest in them as well. So logically I wanted to submit my changes to the project.

As the first open source project I've wanted to contribute to, I thought it would be simple to achieve. But unfortunately I find my progress halted by having to sign a license agreement! Microsoft sent me a (fairly straightforward) license agreement to sign and paper post to them before I can submit my code for review to the WiX community. Being the open source newbie that I am, I of course thought it was a simple case of "it's open, just add your code!", but it actually makes sense that I would have to sign some kind of agreement.

I mean, I'm not one of those Microsoft-bashing types - I admire Bill Gates & Co. for what they've contributed to the computer arena in terms of novelty, usability and quality over the years (I'm not saying they're perfect, but neither is my company or any other company I know of). And I can imagine that as much as people enjoy suing them over any old thing, they'd want to protect themselves legally, even on an open source project.

That's fine and dandy, except it leaves me in the unfortunate situation of having to paper post the signed license agreement to America from South Africa, so I've got to sort out the posting and such (not being in the habit of regularly sending stuff to the US of A). I suppose I just have to get round and do it. I haven't yet. And once I do, it'll probably take a while to get there still. Oh well. Such is the realities of open source it seems. Microsoft's way anyway.

I'm writing this post with Sauce Reader, an RSS aggregator that I've been trying out for a while now. It's got a built-in blog editor that can send my posts to the dotText server. Which is nice. A reader and editor in one. My blog reader and editor wars is something I want to blog about as well in the near future. Stay tuned...

Posted on Monday, November 1, 2004 2:09 PM Setup, Wix and MSI , Open Source | Back to top


Comments on this post: The realities of (Microsoft) Open Source

# re: The realities of (Microsoft) Open Source
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Riko,

That type of assignment agreement is not unique to Microsoft. The Free Software Foundation requires the same sort of agreement. Why? Well, IANAL, but as I understand it if someone should bring legal action against the WiX codebase there is a better chance of defending the toolset if all of the code is held by a single owner. That is why the FSF does it and why Microsoft followed their lead.

It is unfortunate that the assignment agreement has to be mailed. I personally can't believe in this day and age there is no real legal way to electronically sign a document but that is what the lawyers here tell me. So, until a recognized legal way of electroically signing documents is available, we're stuck with paper and stamps. <sigh/>
Left by Rob Mensching on Nov 02, 2004 3:00 AM

# re: The realities of (Microsoft) Open Source
Requesting Gravatar...
I assumed as much. It makes sense to me that you'd want to protect yourself in this way. Make no mistake, I'm not frustrated about open source or Microsoft, I'm frustrated about non-digital license agreements <wink/>
Left by Riko Eksteen on Nov 02, 2004 9:54 AM

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