MS legal threat derails Foxpro on Linux demo

You run our stuff where we say


Microsoft has enraged the developer community after a Redmond executive last week threatened a software developer to prevent him from demonstrating a Microsoft application running on Linux.

Whil Hentzen, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was to have presented a seminar showing how to run Microsoft's Visual FoxPro on Linux at the Bay Area Association of Database Developers last Wednesday.

But prior to the demonstration Hentzen received a call from a Microsoft marketing manager telling him that he would be in violation of the EULA (End User Licensing Agreement) for VFP if he demonstrated (or ran) the development tool on Linux.

After the brief conversation with Ken Levy, Microsoft's Visual FoxPro marketing manager, Hentzen decided to abandon the practical demonstration from his talk. Levy had contacted Hentzen after reading a paper on the subject, which Hentzen had edited.

The situation is confusing because Hentzen had done the demonstration before, with no problems. Also other developers had been led to believe from Microsoft that "as long as licenses were in order" running VFP on Linux as a developer environment was permissible.

Hentzen has written to Microsoft asking for clarification to this conflicting advice. He told us this afternoon he was yet to receive a reply.

Hentzen wants to know firstly if developers can run VFP on a Linux as a developer environment, providing the appropriate license has been paid. He also wants to know the terms on which applications developed using VFP can be distributed.

The suggestion every Linux machine running VFP-created aps would need a VFP license. For Windows, only the development machine needs to have a VFP license.

"It appears that Microsoft is trying the tie its applications (developer tools) to their operating system," Hentzen told us.

"Given the legal difficulties that Microsoft has encountered over the years, we don't believe that this is legal, and thus we don't believe that this is the intent of the EULA," he added.

Microsoft is trying to get people to use Visual Basic, instead of FoxPro, because the former is a bigger money spinner for the company, Hentzen believes.

FoxPro is a database and development language purchased by Microsoft in 1992, and now known as Microsoft Visual FoxPro (VFP).

The technology allows developer to create an executable which can then be distributed (along with a support library dll) to an unlimited number of end users.

Reg reader Nick Causton tells us: "Within the FoxPro community there has been a lot of discussion recently about running VFP applications on Linux instead of Windows, no one seriously believed that Microsoft could prevent them from doing this."

Hentzen's demonstration follows on from work by other developers who have been able to get VFP to run on Linux using WINE.

"This now works quite well with the last few problems currently being addressed and there are now a number of people demonstrating this at seminars/conferences," he adds.

Developer Chet Gardiner, who attended the meeting, writes: "MS won't market it [VFP] for Windows applications, even those for which it's the best tool. Now M$ won't let us run it on any other OS, especially the one that's going to kick their butts."

"They are so interested in owning everyone's desktop that don't they see that in this way they could sell a whole lot of VFP stuff to other programmers and make some money out of it," he adds. ®


Other stories you might like

  • SEC probes Musk for not properly disclosing Twitter stake
    Meanwhile, social network's board rejects resignation of one its directors

    America's financial watchdog is investigating whether Elon Musk adequately disclosed his purchase of Twitter shares last month, just as his bid to take over the social media company hangs in the balance. 

    A letter [PDF] from the SEC addressed to the tech billionaire said he "[did] not appear" to have filed the proper form detailing his 9.2 percent stake in Twitter "required 10 days from the date of acquisition," and asked him to provide more information. Musk's shares made him one of Twitter's largest shareholders. The letter is dated April 4, and was shared this week by the regulator.

    Musk quickly moved to try and buy the whole company outright in a deal initially worth over $44 billion. Musk sold a chunk of his shares in Tesla worth $8.4 billion and bagged another $7.14 billion from investors to help finance the $21 billion he promised to put forward for the deal. The remaining $25.5 billion bill was secured via debt financing by Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Barclays, and others. But the takeover is not going smoothly.

    Continue reading
  • Cloud security unicorn cuts 20% of staff after raising $1.3b
    Time to play blame bingo: Markets? Profits? Too much growth? Russia? Space aliens?

    Cloud security company Lacework has laid off 20 percent of its employees, just months after two record-breaking funding rounds pushed its valuation to $8.3 billion.

    A spokesperson wouldn't confirm the total number of employees affected, though told The Register that the "widely speculated number on Twitter is a significant overestimate."

    The company, as of March, counted more than 1,000 employees, which would push the jobs lost above 200. And the widely reported number on Twitter is about 300 employees. The biz, based in Silicon Valley, was founded in 2015.

    Continue reading
  • Talos names eight deadly sins in widely used industrial software
    Entire swaths of gear relies on vulnerability-laden Open Automation Software (OAS)

    A researcher at Cisco's Talos threat intelligence team found eight vulnerabilities in the Open Automation Software (OAS) platform that, if exploited, could enable a bad actor to access a device and run code on a targeted system.

    The OAS platform is widely used by a range of industrial enterprises, essentially facilitating the transfer of data within an IT environment between hardware and software and playing a central role in organizations' industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) efforts. It touches a range of devices, including PLCs and OPCs and IoT devices, as well as custom applications and APIs, databases and edge systems.

    Companies like Volvo, General Dynamics, JBT Aerotech and wind-turbine maker AES are among the users of the OAS platform.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022