Microsoft lifts GPL code, uses in Microsoft Store tool

Update 11/7: The example I provided yesterday (ReadBytes) was replaced with a new one. Note that it is only an example. I’m not here to prove my case in a huge exhaustive post for you. That’s left as an exercise for the reader.

Update 11/7 (2): The code in question is not a part of the IMAPIv2 Code Samples. If you visit Codeplex and actually download the source code, you’ll see this code is separate.

Update 11/7 (3): ImageMaster UDF parsing is a valid derivative work licensed under GPL. The original parsing code is from LGPL 7zip. Here’s a comparison. And another.

Update 11/9: Microsoft has pulled the tool pending further investigation.

Update 11/13: Microsoft has acknowledged the code use, see Port 25 for more details.

Microsoft Store logo taped over GNU logo 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.)

I see two problems here. (I’m not a FSF professional, so there may be more.)

First, Microsoft did not offer or provide source code for their modifications to ImageMaster nor their tool. According to GPLv2:

3. You may copy and distribute the Program (or a work based on it, under Section 2) in object code or executable form under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above provided that you also do one of the following:

a) Accompany it with the complete corresponding machine-readable source code, which must be distributed under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above on a medium customarily used for software interchange; or,

b) Accompany it with a written offer, valid for at least three years, to give any third party, for a charge no more than your cost of physically performing source distribution, a complete machine-readable copy of the corresponding source code, to be distributed under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above on a medium customarily used for software interchange; or,

c) Accompany it with the information you received as to the offer to distribute corresponding source code. (This alternative is allowed only for noncommercial distribution and only if you received the program in object code or executable form with such an offer, in accord with Subsection b above.)

Second, Microsoft glued in some of their own licensing terms, further restricting your rights to the software (TermsOfUse.rtf). According to their terms:

1. Scope of License. The software is licensed, not sold. This agreement only gives you some rights to use the software. Microsoft reserves all other rights. Unless applicable law gives you more rights despite this limitation, you may use the software only as expressly permitted in this agreement. In doing so, you must comply with any technical limitations in the software that only allow you to use it in certain ways. You may not
· work around any technical limitations in the software;

· reverse engineer, decompile or disassemble the software, except and only to the extent that applicable law expressly permits, despite this limitation;

· make more copies of the software than specified in this agreement or allowed by applicable law, despite this limitation;

· publish the software for others to copy;

· rent, lease or lend the software;

· transfer the software or this agreement to any third party; or

· use the software for commercial software hosting services.

I understand Microsoft is a big company and that this could have been externally contracted work, but someone dropped the ball during code review/licensing. Cue the fail horns, Drew.

Example of reflected Microsoft tool code and ImageMaster source code on CodePlex

Example of reflected Microsoft tool code and ImageMaster source code on CodePlex