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    For some reason sfc seems to ignore the reason the rules are in place. The app store was full of Foss apps with similar icons which were just compiled free software, but cost money. (and usually badly packaged and not updated) While technically legal, it’s basically a scam since the publishers had nothing to do with the developers. The new rule is not great, but the previous situation was not better.

    See tentacrul raising this issue some time ago about audacity https://mobile.twitter.com/Tantacrul/status/1520135740159664128

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      Sometimes it doesn’t matter what reason a rule is in place if that rule categorically punishes people who are trying to do the right thing.

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        That’s very black and white. There is no solution here that will satisfy all developers, prevent all scams, and provide proper choice to the users. Someone will end up unhappy however ms decides to play this. Punishing some people trying to do the right thing will happen and we can only hope it’s minimised.

        The reason for the change matters, otherwise we’d just complain regardless of what the rule says.

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          It is black and white, innocent people should not be punished because it improves the image of the marketplace. There are plenty of cases where society accepts a suboptimal solution and we just deal with it.

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            I assume most FOSS developers would rather not have paid versions of their software that they don’t profit from on the store than profit from it themselves. This change probably isn’t even net harmful.

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              If they have a problem with that, why would they release their code under a FOSS license?

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                If you released a piece of software under a FOSS license and someone bundled a 4 year old version of it with malware and was selling it for $5 on an App Store, would you just shrug your shoulders and say “whelp I guess I asked for it with that FOSS license, nothing to be done about it?”

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                  I’ve contributed code to BSD licensed projects. My code has been packaged and sold to big companies - other people are making money on my contributions. Those companies often don’t contribute back… in some relatively rare cases they upstream changes, but mostly it’s one way traffic.

                  This does not bother me. If I did, I’d have not given my work to a BSD-licensed project. Easy as.

                  If you apply a license to your project that lets someone foo, then they foo, I don’t think you have much room to complain.

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                    I guess I was also assuming there were trademarks at play here but maybe not. What you’re saying is fair.

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                    malware would be a problem but I don’t see why you need a special policy for FOSS programs. don’t they already take down most malware?

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                    You’re right, but I think this line of thinking is a distraction when we’re talking about a curated marketplace. Yes, anybody can legally distribute their own binaries or forks of FOSS but MS is under no obligation to accept them. The question is how MS can best guide its users toward installing the FOSS that they really wanted (or more importantly, guiding them away from installing the version they didn’t want).

                    Much like a Linux distribution it would be best if humans kept track of the community to promote the version that the user probably wants, including the nuance of providing an alternative fork if a legitimate contender arises. Unlike a Linux distribution there is actual cashflow up for grabs which is going to make the arguments all the spicier.

                    Imagine a scenario where GIMP (random example) decided to charge $100 and used (updated) MS policy to be the only option on the store. Meanwhile, unsophisticated users are saying “heck no”, googling and getting tricked into malware-infested versions via ad links. Then other trustworthy but unaffiliated developers are offering to provide free builds and berating MS for not letting them in. I could understand it if MS intentionally banned FOSS entirely just to avoid this kind of drama.

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                      I can put out a bowl of candy in front of my doorstep, with the assumption that people will act in good faith and just take a piece or two. Somebody might come along and take all the candy. It might be a bit silly of me to get mad at this person for doing this, since it’s perhaps no less than I can expect, just leaving out a bowl of candy unattended. And certainly, leaving an armed guard in front of the candy to make sure that no one takes more than one piece wouldn’t at all be in the spirit of giving and sharing. But I think it’s still completely reasonable to prefer that people just take one piece each.

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            I’m ok with Microsoft’s stance. There’s a lot of nuance here and room for exploitation.

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              A Twitter account of an MS employee (unverified) claims that the intent was to catch unrelated/untrustworthy people packaging up open source for profit, and the policy will be clarified.

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                Between their Github post and this one, I have no respect for the sfconservancy and they all sound like blathering elitists that see everything in black and white with no middle ground or nuance.

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                  What’s wrong with this post? It correctly points out that selling FOSS through software “stores” is a common way for FOSS projects to make money, and that Microsoft is now removing that source of funding. That’s a real problem for the projects which rely on Microsoft’s store for funding, and it’s not clear why they’re doing it other than to hurt FOSS. It also provides historical context about Microsoft’s bad treatment of FOSS, on their store and otherwise.

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                    I remember how controversial it was when MuseScore moved to requiring copyright assignment, but it should allow them to dual license and keep it in the Windows store. Expect other projects to at least consider it, and expect a lot of sound and noise around it. Others might just move to Steam, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see some cheeky tweets out of Valve about this.

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                      Does Steam offer other software than games? Interesting!

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                        They do!

                        I use JWildFire to make fractal art. There’s a version on Steam with the runtime bundled: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1445310/JWildfire/

                        Worth the $12, but you can install it free from the developer’s website. Steam has a whole category for software. It’s mostly stuff for developing and modding games, as you would expect, but there’s the occasional oddball with no clear game-related function.

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                    Hear, hear. They’ve got an axe to grind and they fail to see the other ways in which not having this rule hurts free software as well, as many of these comments point out. Weeding out scams and malicious actors that use open source for a quick buck is probably a net positive.

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                      Yep. At first their uh, strong tone, felt necessary since their opponents are very strong themselves, but now seeing this I wonder if they’re just…venting? Like it makes them feel really good about themselves because they’re fighting a company… I feel like this particular policy was created by internal employees pushing this to protect users and open source itself. Microsoft is actually losing money on this policy change…

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                      Sounds like Microsoft identified a problem with unofficial releases of F/OSS in their store posing a security or reputational issue (either due to the software never receiving updates, or being intentionally spiked with spyware.) An app store should be a place that users can feel confident of getting what they expect, having it polluted with a dozen unofficial copies of the same application makes for a worse user experience, little better than downloading and running an exe off a random search result.

                      Microsofts policy certainly requires clarification, there should be no reason for banning commercial F/OSS on an App store so long as its confirmed to be published by the softwares authors, or on their behalf.

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                        The real explanation is probably a boring one. An open-source project might be composed of thousands of copyright holders. If multiple people publish it to the Microsoft store, how does Microsoft handle it? Their app store doesn’t really have a notion of forks, and the end-users might not be technical enough to understand which version to choose. How do they determine who should be the primary publisher? Some pencil pusher in the management chain thought the new policy would solve that problem.

                        Of course, it’s juicier to go for the conspiracy :)

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                          I am very confused.

                          Say I saw Krita for sale in an app store, but went to the website and saw that it was free.

                          1. Say I refused to use Krita because obviously they’re trying to dupe people into paying money for something that’s free

                          2. Say all of 1, and spread the word to my friends

                          3. Say all of the above, and but then me and my friends realize this practice - “obviously duping people and getting them to pay money for something that’s free” - is encouraged by a whole FOSS conservancy (?!?!!!??)

                          Are there more people that will just shell out the money, than those above?

                          Are there more people that will just download the software from the website without complaint?

                          Is there a huge swath of enterprise customers who explicitly use the Windows app store to pay for and download FOSS?

                          Are we sad because Microsoft won’t let us dupe people into buying FOSS?

                          Are we sad because Microsoft not letting us dupe people into buying FOSS makes us look bad for asking for money/donations?

                          Are we sad because Microsoft not letting us sell our FOSS in their store sets a precedent whereby we, the sponsors (Google, Mozilla, Red Hat), cannot also dupe people into buying FOSS in our own marketplaces?

                          Or am I missing something not mentioned in the article above, like:

                          Are we sad because Microsoft may eventually charge FOSS developers money for the right to have their FOSS touted free-of-charge in its store?

                          Or is this something Microsoft is already doing?

                          I would rather have any of those questions answered, rather than hearing:

                          • boo, Microsoft hates FOSS, we can totally charge money for FOSS
                          • boo, Microsoft is allowing us to charge money for FOSS (in its store)
                          • boo, Microsoft is not allowing us to charge for FOSS in its store
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                            Selling free software is fine, see https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/selling.html. There is also nothing wrong with having different prices (including free) on different platforms - a program such as Krita is funded by donations, and when downloading Krita from an official website it shows donation form where you have an option of funding development of Krita. As a workaround for not being able to ask for donations immediately after downloading an application the version on stores such as Microsoft Store is paid.

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                              I suspect (disclaimer: I work for MS, but have no visibility into this decision) that the intent of this is to prevent the folks that package F/OSS (often adding spyware) and sell it but have no connection to the original project. I’ve seen several F/OSS projects complaining that someone is distributing their code in various app stores and pretending that it’s an official build, so they get bug reports filed and then find that someone has installed some random person’s build of some random git version with some random patches added.

                              The wording could definitely be improved to make this clearer. In particular, it’s not the price difference that’s the problem, it’s the claim to being an official build. An unofficial build of a project should, at the very least, contain a prominent link in the description to the official upstream.

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                                That’s all well and good for we the developers, but (no offense to JoeBob) does your average JoeBob care about the GNU philosophy and whether or not we (the developers) feel justified in asking money for our software?

                                No. He doesn’t see any of that. He sees, “Hey, why are they charging for it here, when it’s free here?”

                                I don’t really care about the philosophy of it all, I care what average JoeBob thinks and sees, and how he might behave in the future.

                                I feel like we, the indignant, are missing an opportunity.

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                                  I would add that one could consider “paying from Microsoft’s store” as “paying for the distribution” (as opposed to “paying for the software itself”).

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                                    Are we okay with that? And by “we” I mean those that read the article, got fired up, said, “Yeah! Boo Microsoft! I need my FOSS on their store with a price tag!”

                                    “We” will never know, because the article never went that deep.

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                                  There are several Android apps that are free on F-Droid and paid on Google Play. They seem to be doing fine.

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                                    In fact, this is my favorite business model for FOSS Android apps. I’ve bought several FOSS apps on the Play Store, such as DAVx5 and Conversations, which would have been free on F-Droid, even though I have F-Droid installed and install a lot of software from it. It’s just the easiest way to contribute to the project.

                                    I think there is a problem, though, with scammers offering unofficial builds for money (maybe with added spyware) when there are official builds available on the same platform. I would guess, also that most of the scammers are not in compliance with the source licenses (if they are copyleft), and it might make more sense to boot them for that.

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                                  all pricing … must … [n]ot attempt to profit from open-source or other software that is otherwise generally available for free [meaning, in price, not freedom].

                                  Are they going to make Copilot free?

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                                    Is Copilot available in the MS app store?

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                                      No, but if Microsoft thinks this guideline is for a good cause, it would be hypocritical of them to not apply it to their own software.

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                                        It’s not MS making a statement about Foss distribution. It’s MS trying to deal with scammers uploading paid version of popular Foss to the store - which they legally can do. This has nothing to do with copilot or other out of store software.