Microsoft Adds a New Wrinkle to Its Shared Source Program

Microsoft Adds a New Wrinkle to Its Shared Source Program

Mary Jo Foley

Attempting to address critics who claim Microsoft’s Shared Source program doesn’t go as far as open-source vendors do in terms of offering access to source code, Microsoft added on Tuesday an extension to its government source-licensing program.

The new extension, called the Government Security Program (GSP), offers something akin to “clean room” access to the full Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 source code.

The Russian Federal Agency for Governmental Communication and Information (FAGCI) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) are the first two organizations to sign up to participate in the new program.

Microsoft officials said they are in discussion with 20 organizations interested in possible GSP participation. Countries like Cuba and Iraq that are subject to U.S. trade embargoes, are ineligible to sign up for the GSP, Microsoft officials said.

Microsoft says national governments will be able to access all of the Windows source, as well as additional relevant technical information that they need in order to fully evaluate the security of Windows. Participants get “instant online access” to the Windows source code; an invitation for government agency representatives to meet in Redmond with Windows architects and security experts; and access to cryptographic code and development tools.

Microsoft’s Shared Source Initiative is Microsoft’s effort to provide greater source code access to its partners, software developers, academia and Fortune-level customers. Microsoft launched the SSI in 2001 as a commercial alternative to the open source GNU General Public License (GPL).

Copyright © 2004 Ziff Davis Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. Originally appearing in Microsoft Watch.