Microsoft removes the new Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool… because it stole from open source software?

Okay, okay – technically speaking, you can legally take source code from a GNU GPLv2 licensed software (with various stipulations of course such as keeping the license of the new product as GNU GPLv2 and providing the source code) so code taken from a GNU GPLv2 software is not necessarily “stealing”. But hey, if I called it “borrowed” would you have clicked on the title to read this post? =P.

So, why am I mentioning all this? Because Microsoft has pulled their new Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool, aka Windows 7 netbook installer, because of allegations that WUDT (Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool) contained code from ImageMaster, a GNU GPLv2 licensed open source software. At his blog Within Windows, Rafael Rivera Jr. reports:

While poking through the UDF-related internals of the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool, I had a weird feeling there was just wayyyyyyyyy too much code in there for such a simple tool. A simple search of some method names and properties, gleaned from Reflector’s output, revealed the source code was obviously lifted from the CodePlex-hosted (yikes) GPLv2-licensed ImageMaster project. (The author of the code was not contacted by Microsoft.)

Now as I already mentioned, the issue is not really the fact that Microsoft took code from ImageMaster. The source code of open source software are there, after all, to be used and improved upon. The problem is rather, if Microsoft did in fact take the code from ImageMaster, as far as I can tell Microsoft did not abid by the conditions set by the GPLv2 license which says if you use the code of a GPLv2 licensed software, you must

  1. Keep the license of the resulting software as GLPv2 also;
  2. Provide the source code for the resulting software.

Yikes indeed. I bet Google is going to have a really nice Thanksgiving this year, haha. What are everyone’s thoughts on the matter? Feel free to express below.

[via PCMag]

Thanks Samuel!

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  1. calebstein

    Why does everyone want to screw the best companies??? Microsoft did not steal source code! You can’t steal from open source software! If the developers didn’t want others to use their code, they wouldn’t have make their software open source!!! This is almost as absurd as malwarebytes accusing Iobit of stealing their database.

  2. a simple happy man

    GPL (as far as I understand part of it) is about allowing anyone to use any code in anyway to improve and benefit everyone, in such a way that no one can block the open creativity of using a particular code by copyrighting it as their own for ever and ever, and never allowing it to be used as a basis to create something better.

    Basically it’s a bit like stopping someone from copywriting words like “and” and “it”, or any words for that matter, in literature because people would not be able to use them anymore to create great written works.

    As far as software is concerned if someone can use a piece of code to come up with a free (as in Freedom) piece of fantastic software that would for example stop the icecaps from melting and reverse global warming then go for it GPL and Open source.

    But the rules on commercial software rights do stop this kind of advanced creativity happening, and long and complicated legal battles ensue, which neither benefit us or the planet.

    Intellectual Copyright where someone gets the credit for developing something is great, but allowing others to improve on anything that someone comes up with should be a natural course. Isn’t that what Nature does quite naturally anyway!

    We shouldn’t even have to discuss whether or not it should be that way, it just should! And to hell with all those people who can’t see any further than the inside of their wallets and their big fat corporate checking accounts.

    If Microsoft want to use the Open Sorce code then they are allowed to, BUT they must stick to the rules that go with that use and do everything openly and publish and make available everything to do with that use of that code or whatever Open Source utility it is so that everyone else can use it too!

    If they don’t then they prove the point others are touting that they only care about control and money and not the public they are supposed to serve

  3. Aesar

    @gmon: to gmon: the code wasn’t “stolen”. You have missed the point. As a programmer, I have used code from many different sources, and have let others do the same to me. The point being raised is about intellectual rights, that is, in other words, recognition. One must give credit where credit is due. Sharing of knowledge is what Open Source is about. It allows developers to achieve greater depth and breadth in their programming, and allows the little guy to compete against giants.

  4. Alan

    Is Windows 7 now in the Public domain ?

    I remember reading in some T.O.C. that open source code may be copied and used by others as part of another product, with the proviso that all the source code of the entire product must then be provided for the benefit of the community.

    Something new to pray for tonight ! !