A closure look at MIT (Open) and Microsoft (Proprietary) licenses

MIT License Highlights

  1. People are allowed to sell a software developed by MIT. To me, this was most striking thing in MIT license that you can obtain a software or peace of code which is distributed under MIT license and sell it. Although the license doesn’t cover any kind of warranties which did not came as a surprise because it’s free. But if we were to look at the Microsoft license of Office Word, it covers a limited warranty of one year. And Office Word is a software that you have paid for while the MIT one is free.
  2. A software published under MIT license can be sublicensed. Which means someone can actually take the software and put his own license while re-distributing.
  3. The coolest thing about MIT licensed (or we can say open source) products is that they can be modified according to your needs. Whereas, In proprietary licensed products where you can actually pay to use it can not even be modified according to your needs.

Microsoft License Highlights

  1. Limitation on and exclusion of damages. You can recover from Microsoft and its suppliers only direct damages up to the amount you paid for the software. You can not recover any other damages including consequential, lost profits, special, Indirect or Incidental damages. This was  the thing that struck me most in Microsoft License of Office Word that the Microsoft will cover only the damages of up to the amount you paid to obtain Office Word. One would only purchase a software if it gives him a sense of security that the product he is buying is trustworthy and if something goes wrong, someone is there to address the issue or pay the damage done. If you can’t get that sense of security with Office Word, then Why would one not go with Open Office.
  2. Transfer to a third party. This actually came as a little bit of surprise to me that the license of a product can be transferred to a third party. I did not expect Microsoft to have this kind of clause in their agreement.
  3. Limited warranty of one year. As mentioned earlier, one year warranty for a product you paid for is not satisfactory.

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