Received a nice email today from Steven Lees, a member of the CSA Concept Development Team at Microsoft, announcing that Microsoft has placed FeedSync under the Open Specifications Promise.  According to Lees from his email:

"As I think I mentioned at Mix n Mash, we’re very interested in having many independent implementations of FeedSync. The spec itself is under a Creative Commons license, and we’ve always said that we want people to have royalty-free use of the spec as well. Because I’ve heard some general questions from people about spec licensing, and because we’ve filed patents on technology innovations related to FeedSync, we wanted to make the royalty free message even more clear, so we’ve placed the FeedSync spec under the Microsoft Open Specification Promise."

Basically, the Open Specifications Promise is an even more open specification than Creative Commons.  From the page:

The Open Specification Promise is a simple and clear way to assure that the broadest audience of developers and customers working with commercial or open source software can implement specifications through a simplified method of sharing of technical assets, while recognizing the legitimacy of intellectual property.

Q: Why did Microsoft take this approach?

A: It was a simple, clear way, after looking at many different licensing approaches, to reassure a broad audience of developers and customers that the specification(s) could be used for free, easily, now and forever.

Q: How does the Open Specification Promise work? Do I have to do anything in order to get the benefit of this OSP?

A: No one needs to sign anything or even reference anything. Anyone is free to implement the specification(s), as they wish and do not need to make any mention of or reference to Microsoft. Anyone can use or implement these specification(s) with their technology, code, solution, etc. You must agree to the terms in order to benefit from the promise; however, you do not need to sign a license agreement, or otherwise communicate your agreement to Microsoft.

You can read more about FeedSync, and the Open Specifications Promise, at these locations:

FeedSync news blog

Steven Lees’ MSDN blog

FeedSync site

Open Specifications Promise Page at