ZDNet:

"Microsoft's Shared Source Initiative is a program to allow third parties, such as other software companies and large customers, to see portions of Microsoft source code. Viewing the code enables other companies to create closer integration with Microsoft products, such as Windows CE, or build new products based on that code.

Until now, Microsoft had more than 10 licenses, many of which are specific to products or to the type of audience, such as academics, systems integrators, software developers or government customers."

Tim O'Reillly welcomes the news: O'Reilly Radar:

"Based on a quick read, the non-limited versions of these licenses look like they might well be able to meet with OSI approval as open source licenses. I'd urge Microsoft to go ahead and to go ahead and submit them to License-Discuss for OSI Approval, and become a full-fledged member of the open source community. They are clearly getting closer and closer to a tipping point. Let's encourage them to go all the way! Be nice."

Back to ZDNet:

"The three new licenses are:

Microsoft Permissive License: Designed primarily for developer-related products, it enables developers to view, modify and redistribute Microsoft source code. Licensees can charge for modifications made to the original source code.

Microsoft Community License: Meant for collaborative development projects, this reciprocal license requires licensees to distribute changes to Microsoft code in source code form. This license is modeled after the popular Mozilla Public License.

Microsoft Reference License: the most restrictive license, it allows people to view but not modify Microsoft code, only for reference purposes."