11

I know this question is utterly silly for a developer, but apparently the legal dept. is getting paid to have a common sense that's ... different from ours.

So here is my question:

What license governs the files that are automatically generated by Visual Studio?
And I don't refer here to things that are added as Nuget packages. Those have a (relatively) clear license.

I refer to the trivial files, like:

  • web.[debug|release].config files for web projects
  • global.asax(.cs)?
  • AssemblyInfo.cs
  • XxxForm.designer.cs (for Winforms projects)

For some context: I have to comply with a tool called Protex that scans source files and finds pieces that may be part of OSS projects.

The general idea is sane - we do want to comply with the requirements of the OSS libraries we use, and this tool helps check if there's anything we missed.

The problem is, it also finds positives in (unmodified) files like web.debug.config, probably because there are a zillion OSS projects out there that have used the same VS Web Project template containing the same scaffolded files.

4

I found the license for Asp.Net MVC on Nuget. It reads:

a. DISTRIBUTABLE CODE. In addition to the .js files described above, the software is comprised of Distributable Code. “Distributable Code” is code that you are permitted to distribute in programs you develop if you comply with the terms below.

i. Right to Use and Distribute.

· You may copy and distribute the object code form of the software.

· Third Party Distribution. You may permit distributors of your programs to copy and distribute the Distributable Code as part of those programs.

ii. Distribution Requirements. For any Distributable Code you distribute, you must

· use the Distributable Code in your programs and not as a standalone distribution;

· require distributors and external end users to agree to terms that protect it at least as much as this agreement;

· display your valid copyright notice on your programs; and

· indemnify, defend, and hold harmless Microsoft from any claims, including attorneys’ fees, related to the distribution or use of your programs.

iii. Distribution Restrictions. You may not

· alter any copyright, trademark or patent notice in the Distributable Code;

· use Microsoft’s trademarks in your programs’ names or in a way that suggests your programs come from or are endorsed by Microsoft;

· include Distributable Code in malicious, deceptive or unlawful programs; or

· modify or distribute the source code of any Distributable Code so that any part of it becomes subject to an Excluded License. An Excluded License is one that requires, as a condition of use, modification or distribution, that

· the code be disclosed or distributed in source code form; or

· others have the right to modify it.

I'm not a lawyer, but I take that to mean that you're in the clear. This is the standard .Net Library license and I can't imagine Microsoft would make the folly of creating core libraries that developers can't use.

Unfortunately, I couldn't find any info on Assembly.cs or auto generated code behinds, but I seriously doubt that there's an issue here. If your lawyers are this concerned about it, they should contact Microsoft directly.


I just found something else that may be helpful, The Visual Studio 2013 EULA.

DISTRIBUTABLE CODE. The software contains code that you are permitted to distribute in applications you develop if you comply with the terms below. (For this Section the term “distribution” also means deployment of your applications for third parties to access over the Internet.) Distribution Rights. The code and text files listed below are “Distributable Code.” REDIST.TXT Files. You may copy and distribute the object code form of code listed on the REDIST list located at https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=313603. Sample Code, Templates and Styles. You may copy, modify and distribute the source and object code form of code marked as “sample”, “template”, and “Simple Styles” or “Sketch Styles”. Image Library. You may copy and distribute images and animations in the Image Library as described in the software documentation. Third Party Distribution. You may permit distributors of your applications to copy and distribute the Distributable Code as part of those applications.

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  • The last 4 bullet points seem very interesting: complete anti-gpl, and not open source. No malicious uses, and then a complete removal from being touched by LGPL and GPL licenses. Interesting. – Zizouz212 Mar 19 '16 at 16:38
  • I think you're overthinking those statements @Zizouz212. It's saying you can't modify Microsoft's source. (If I'm reading correctly)Which honestly, seems to be outdated considering they open sourced MVC before they opened up the .Net framework itself. – RubberDuck Mar 19 '16 at 16:41
  • 3
    You may not... modify or distribute the source code of any Distributable Code so that any part of it becomes subject to an Excluded License. An Excluded License is one that requires, as a condition of use, modification or distribution, that the code be disclosed or distributed in source code form; or. That reads to me as making it a license violation to place the code under a license where the source code must be disclosed, or others' have the capability to modify it as conditions of the new license. I'm seeing this as anti-copyleft sort of speak. – Zizouz212 Mar 19 '16 at 17:26
  • Ahh. Yeah. It's curious @Zizouz212. An over looked leftover from yesteryear's MS? Idk. – RubberDuck Mar 19 '16 at 17:43

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