Code in Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool Violates Open Source License

Microsoft released a quite useful tool called Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool shortly after Windows 7 was released. The tool is quite neat and does ease a lot of work involved to install Windows 7 on a netbook or any computer that doesn’t have DVD-Rom.
However, as Pull Thurrott pointed out, in which Rafael discovered […]

Microsoft released a quite useful tool called Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool shortly after Windows 7 was released. The tool is quite neat and does ease a lot of work involved to install Windows 7 on a netbook or any computer that doesn’t have DVD-Rom.

However, as Pull Thurrott pointed out, in which Rafael discovered the issue while he and Pull both tried to solve one program in the tool.

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.

Second, Microsoft glued in some of their own licensing terms, further restricting your rights to the software (TermsOfUse.rtf). According to their terms …. "You may not … publish the software for others to copy."

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.

That’s not cool. Pretty serious actually. Microsoft hasn’t responded to this yet but they do instantly pull the tool off their website. Yes, the download link is no longer available.

image

If you still need the tool and are not too concern about the code violation itself, you can still find other places to download. If you can’t, leave a comment with your email address, we will shot you the download link.

[Update on Nov 16, 2009]

Microsoft has confirmed that it did use the code in question.

After looking at the code in question, we are now able to confirm this was indeed the case, although it was not intentional on our part. While we had contracted with a third party to create the tool, we share responsibility as we did not catch it as part of our code review process. We have furthermore conducted a review of other code provided through the  Microsoft Store and this was the only incident of this sort we could find.

Kudos to Microsoft. Admitting the mistakes made by yourself sometimes could earn you respective from others.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.