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Running VFP on Linux - the issues

Some background on Foxpro:

Foxpro is an applications development language and database which is a progression from xBase type languages (Dbase Clipper etc.).  Microsoft purchased FoxPro (version 2.5) from Fox Software in 1992, at that time it was a cross platform language, there was DOS, Windows, Unix and Macintosh versions but Microsoft soon dropped all the other platforms and kept developing only the Windows version.  Since then Microsoft has continued to develop the language and it has progressed into a very nice Object Oriented RAD language now known as 'Microsoft Visual FoxPro' (VFP), version 8 has just been released.

Despite the fact that Microsoft never actively markets VFP, because it would compete with SQL Server and therefore cost them some of their illgotten gains, there is a thriving development community (see some of the sites listed below).

The FoxPro 'Extended Support Library' now known as the 'Runtime Library files' have always been considered 'public domain' with many people publishing these on their Web Sites for public access.

VFP on Linux:

As Linux does not have any good applications development languages, and certainly no Object Oriented RAD (Rapid Applications Development) language like Fox, some enterprising VFP developers began running VFP on Linux using WINE, an open source implementation of the Windows API. You can read the history of this unfolding on the ProLinux message list.

Microsoft and the EULA:

The problem started when Microsoft pointed out that running the VFP runtimes on Linux would be an infringement of the End User Licence Agreement (EULA), here is the relevant section from the VFP8 EULA:

3.1 General Distribution Requirements.
(a) If you choose to redistribute Sample Code, or Redistributable Code (collectively, the "Redistributables") as described in Section 2, you agree:
(i) except as otherwise noted in Section 2.1 (Sample Code), to distribute the Redistributables only in object code form and in conjunction with and as a part of a software application product developed by you that adds significant and primary functionality to the Redistributables ("Licensee Software");
(ii) that the Redistributables only operate in conjunction with Microsoft Windows platforms;

The Clarification:

After the VFP community requested confirmation of their position on this issue Microsoft responded, a week later, with this so called clarification published here:

Visual FoxPro was designed and tested for use in creating applications that run on the Microsoft Windows platform; the same applies to the components that are provided to developers for redistribution with Visual FoxPro-based applications. If a developer wishes to distribute the Visual FoxPro runtime with an application, the runtime may only operate in conjunction with a Microsoft Windows platform. As with any contract, you should seek your own legal counsel's advice when interpreting your rights and obligations under the Visual FoxPro End User License Agreement.

Note the vague use of 'may only', it looks to me like they are deliberately threatening those that wish to use Microsoft applications on Linux while at the same time trying to be so vague that they avoid another DOJ suit against themselves.

VFP on Linux links:

Whil Hentzen's 'Visual FoxPro, Linux and the Jack of Hearts' description of events

John T Mitchell's 'Microsoft Risks Copyright Impotence' legal view of the issue.

The Register's 'MS legal threat derails Foxpro on Linux demo' and the follow up 'MS issues Visual FoxPro OS statement ...'.

The Linux Journal's 'Visual FoxPro for Linux: A Violation of the EULA?'.

Slashdot's FoxPro On Linux, Drama Ensues and resulting discussion.

The Fox Wiki VFP/Linux thread.

Ed Fosters Gripe Log 'Runtime Runaround'.

Dan Schafer's 'Better Not Run That App on Linux, Buster'.

VFP Community:

Read various quotes collected from VFP/Linux discussions to understand more about the psyche of the VFP community.

The History of FoxPro organised by Fernando Alvares.

Ed Leafe's message lists, ProFox VFP message list and ProLinux VFP on Linux message list.

Foxite, the latest incarnation of the Visual FoxPro Webboard.

Steven Black's Visual FoxPro Wiki.

The Universal Thread's Visual FoxPro Zone.