Updates to VPC / VS redistribution rights

Updates to VPC / VS redistribution rights

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I am a bit late on posting about this – but recently we updated the EULA’s on Virtual PC and Virtual Server to provide users with the ability to legally redistribute these products, which is pretty cool.  Of course the issue that still remains is that we do not allow people to redistribute Windows virtual machines along with those copies of Virtual PC and Virtual Server.  Unfortunately there is no simple answer to that one.


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  • "Along with"... you mean it's legal to distribute them, as long as it's done separately, just no package deals with VPC/VS + machines?  (And I suppose you'd have to have all free stuff on it like FreeDOS or Linux or ReactOS for it to be completely letal.)
  • Actually - you cannot redistribute Windows virtual machines at all.  Other operating systems with licenses that allow redistribution can be redistributed with Virtual PC / Virtual Server.

  • You know what would be really cool?

    If Microsoft adopted a free-redistribution-permitted licence for really ancient versions of DOS/Windows.

    Even if they just applied it to pre-Windows 95 versions (ie DOS 1-6.22 and Win 1-3.11fwg).  You can't have any sales of those versions any more (surely!) and they're not useful enough to cannibalize sales of recent versions of Windows.  But it would be really handy to be able to redistribute a .vhd file with a tightly-configured DOS with minimalist drivers and careful use of devicehigh and loadhigh instead of everyone having to set their own up!
  • I think Richard has an interesting idea there.  It would be nice if Microsoft ran with it.

    Also, it would be extremely beneficial if Microsoft could come up with some way to allow a version of their operating systems to be distributed, but require the final end-user to supply their license once the virtual machine or virtual appliance is booted within their environment.  I think virtual appliances are a great idea, but not being able to use Microsoft operating systems or applications puts a nice size dent into them for me.  

    And it's another thing that VMware seems to hold over their head.  

    I realize the licensing aspect is a complicated thing, but it seems like Microsoft should be able to come up with a solution that would fit the bill.
  • "Pre-Windows 95 versions" would also include NT 3.x, which these days tends to run better inside VPC than it does on the bare metal.
  • Supposedly MS-DOS is still sold (legitimately) in some third-world countries, so it's probably not an option. :(  Still, Microsoft has started producing versions of Windows especially for those regions (XP Basic Edition, a version of Windows with some strange arbitrary limits... smells a bit like DRM actually now that I think about it...).
  • I have a question regarding Virtual Machine Licensing. I provide support for a software application we sell. I have multiple virtual machines, one for each version of the software. I never boot more than one VM at a time. Do I have to license Windows 2003 server separately on each VM, even though I don't boot them at the same time? Can you send me a link to a detailed explanation of licensing various versions of windows (including Server 2003 and XP)  in separate VMs?


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