Wiki Home

VFP and Linux

Namespace: WIN_COM_API

Links - "Here's the detailed chronology, including links to specific items, so that you've got all of the facts." - Whil Hentzen - "from the till-lotus-won't-run dept." - "The cold, dead hand of the Microsoft monopoly..." "sneakwrap licensing" - "Microsoft has enraged the developer community..." - "It would mean that copyright owners could use copyrights to trump rights reserved to the public by Congress."

Ed Leafe's recap of events in Linux Journal Magazine: - "...Ken Levy, then refined his comments to state that while it was okay to run a fully licensed copy of Visual FoxPro under WINE, it was a violation to distribute the applications built with Visual FoxPro to be run under WINE." (German) "On Sunday, Mr. Peterson sent a terse e-mail chiding my failure to respond. I do so now, with apologies to non-lawyers for the length and the legalese." The response to Mr. Mitchell's last post:



Subject: Clarification

I have been asked to post the following information on a few VFP community sites. I will not be commenting further on this issue.

Ken Levy
Visual FoxPro Product Manager

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.

"c:\program files\microsoft visual foxpro 8\visual foxpro 8.0 professional - english\eula.txt"

3.1 "(ii) that the Redistributables only operate in conjunction with Microsoft Windows platforms; (iii) that if the Licensee Software is distributed beyond Licensee's premises or externally from Licensee's organization, to distribute the Licensee Software containing the Redistributables pursuant to an end user license agreement (which may be "break-the-seal", "click-wrap" or signed), with terms no less protective than those contained in this EULA"


What part of the EULA was Microsoft referring to by:
But prior to the demonstration Hentzen received a call from a Microsoft marketing manager telling him that he would be in violation of the EULA (End User Licensing Agreement) for VFP if he demonstrated (or ran) the development tool on Linux.

I would never have expected the EULA to contain a clause to prevent this: Is a developer then held responsible if a customer uses similar mechanisms to run a distributed (sold) VFP-produced application on Linux? - ?wgcs

The EULA only prohibits using the MSM (merge modules) and certain other 'redistributables'. It certainly doesn't prohibit running fully licensed copies of VFP under Wine. But Whil was told that the Fox Talk article was in violation of the EULA, and that only discussed the development version, not the runtimes.

It's interesting that according to one possible interpretation, you may distribute the runtime DLLs on Linux, but not if you use the MSMs! Needless to say, the language is far from clear, and I'm sure that Microsoft will interpret it in whatever manner suits them at the moment. -- Ed Leafe

This gets weirder with every new fact... So, Customers (who run Linux and Wine)are now required to know what development tool was used to create a product, and not install that product on Linux/Wine if it was packaged using a VFP MSM? It's truly absurd!

What is the wording of the EULA that has resulted in this travesty? -- wgcs
BTW: There is an active movement to get VFP working well on WINE. The priority of work on different applications is influence by how many votes they get ( ).. so if you want to see VFP working on Linux, create a user account, login, find VFP in the AppDB, then click "Vote for This App" in the left sidebar.

Information about this project (Wine) is available here:

( Ha! I just looked (
, immediately after posting the above) and VFP already tops the votes at 101 votes.. edging out DreamWeaver almost 3-to-1. I suspect this reflects the VFP community's response to Microsoft's positioning against running VFP on linux, and worry over Microsoft's eventually dropping VFP support from future Windows versions (such as Long Horn), as it has already made VFP8 not work on Win95 and Win NT. (though, in reality, this is the opposite problem... that to keep VFP running on the newer Windows versions, it is increasingly difficult to make it capable of running on older Windows versions) )
I think the intent was: "We don't guarantee VFP can be distributed to something else, like an AS400 or game boy." More of a "dont' sue us" than "we are going to get you." I don't think MS has anything to gain by atacking. -- ?cfk

I wouldn't count on it; if they wanted to simply deny support for non-Windows deployments, I'm sure that's what they'd say. Microsoft does indeed have a lot to lose. Linux is becoming more and more accepted as a desktop OS, and they certainly don't want to do anything that will make it easier for businesses to drop Windows. This is the "tying applications to the OS monopoly" part of the issue that is so troublesome, and which suggests that the EULA itself may be unenforceable. -- Ed Leafe

The really funny part about this is: When was the last time you saw VFP highlighted on Slash Dot? Finally VFP is getting some of the "advertising" that the VFP community has been asking for... all because of a backhanded slap by Microsoft... -- ?wgcs

Don't think that all of this is an accident... -- Ed Leafe
News arrived over here in Germany now and after two years of non-existence we got a story at the ct magazine which happens to be the biggest computer magazine over here - and lots of discussions about this topic. See .
It is the best guerilla marketing for VFP that I have seen in a long time - I hope this continues .
Rainer Becker
This rant has probably started elsewhere but:

I take issue with Ken's (or whoever "asked (him) to post the following information") line:
"Visual FoxPro was designed and tested for use in creating applications that run on the Microsoft Windows platform"

Maybe it's being too literal, but wasn't "Visual FoxPro" designed and tested to be used on Windows and Macintosh? With reminders by Set MacDesktop, MAC, _MAC, Machelp, Macscreen: still around in the 8.0 version, released this year, 2003???? MacDesktop still has a description explaining it is for "Macintosh only". MAC, _MAC, machelp, macscreen are still listed in the help as reserved words. Hell, for that matter: _UNIX is still there from the Unix version (but to be literal with what Ken/MS says above ("Visual"), the Unix version wasn't VFP)... _UNIX and _MAC still return .F. for that matter

Granted 'you can't do that' anymore, and there'll be a clarification that he/they are talking about VFP 8.0. But I still point to the fact that the Mac stuff is still in VFP 8.0. Yeah I know it's for backward compatibility, but I'm feeling argumentative today.
-- Andy Needham

Well, my Stanley (TM) screwdriver was designed and tested with Stanley screws. However, I can use cheap made-in-china screws bought from the hardware store down the street, or even machine my own "open source" screws, or, for that matter, I can even use my Stanley Screwdriver as a Chisel, and Stanley has no say in it! Yeah, it may break, but I can take that risk, without risking litigation from Stanley. Why can M$ legally say what a tool they made can be used on? (I know, I know: "you agree to the EULA when you open the package", but Stanley Isn't Allowed to have a license that says you can only use their screwdriver with their screws, right?) -- ?wgcs

The difference is that you buy the actual screwdriver. With VFP, you purchase a license to use the software, not the actual software itself. When you open the package, you agree to abide by the license conditions. This "shrink wrap" license has been upheld in US courts. -- Craig Berntson

Indeed. EULAs are actually a questionable legal concept in the first place. If you bought a screwdriver, and there was a "EULA" inside the box, that would be clearly against the law, as far as I know (at least, in the US). There is a law against making a contract after the purchase of an item. However, to my knowledge, EULAs have not yet been directly contested in court.

As for the argument of "well, if the EULA wasn't there, wouldn't I now own the software completely? No - it is quite clear that you are buying a single copy of a book, and you can't now copy it and resell it. Anyway, I'm not a lawyer, but that's my thoughts on the matter. -- Peter Crabtree

I still have the product box for Visual Foxpro 3.0 for Mac sitting on a shelf. Printed clearly on the box in several places are the words "Designed for the Power Macintosh."
-- BR
Perhaps MS didn't 'want' any of this, and wishes that Ken had just kept his mouth shut. Now that Ken spoke, 'they' ad MS are thinking, "swell, now what do we do?" - cfk
and yet the more important aspects of VFP and Linux
  • telnet encapsulation from vfp into a linux host
  • samba on linux hosting vfp tables and dbc's accessed by WinTel Boxes
  • direct control of sendmail on linux hosts from VFP
  • mySql/postGreSql / FireBird Integration on linux, with VFP on Wintel Boxen hitting the database
  • adoDB [not the MS version] usage with VFP tables and php/apache on linux boxen
  • unixODBC hooks for VFP tables stored in both Samba Shares and via ODBC bridges
  • William Sanders
    See Wine Is Notan Emulator for more discussion of WINE
    Okay, I couldn't help thinking about it: VFP8+ must "runtime may only operate in conjunction with a Microsoft Windows platform"... so, if you want to test running VFP IDE or Apps on Linux, then jsut install linux inside a Virtual PCOffsite link to
running in Win2k or WinXP.... That's "in conjunction with a Microsoft Windows platform" ;)
    In the current MSDN universal subscription is a copy of Microsoft Virtual PCOffsite link to
, so many readers should be able to do this. - ?wgcs

    VFP Developers are really dropping the ball on this issue! Since everyone is uncertain of how long VFP will continue to run on Windows, doesn't it make sense to embrace an environment that will unceasingly support it? Since WINE runs VFP, one could continue to develop new applications and distribute them with Linux. It's absurd that everyone would make the effort to sign a petition for MS to fully release VFP as Open Source (which was obviously futile), but they won't hold their ground regarding a EULA that is possibly unenforcable. When Ken Levy stated, "As with any contract, you should seek your own legal counselís advice when interpreting your rights and obligations under the Visual FoxPro End User License Agreement," I took that as an invitation to hash out this issue in the courts. Instead, everyone just bent over again.

    Contributors: Bob Radcliffe Ed Leafe wgcs cfk Rainer Becker Andy Needham
    Category VFP Installations Category Linux
    ( Topic last updated: 2008.05.14 05:32:55 AM )