Custom keyboard source samples (was: Re: Windows keyboard restrictions)

Marcel Schneider charupdate at
Thu Aug 20 10:30:38 CDT 2015

On 20 Aug 2015 at 03:19, Richard Wordingham  wrote:

> On Mon, 17 Aug 2015 13:51:26 +0200 (CEST)
> Marcel Schneider  wrote:

>> Since yesterday I know a very simple way to get the source code (in
>> C) of any MSKLC layout.

> Is this legal? To me it smacks of reverse engineering, which is
> prohibited under the MSKLC licence.

When Iʼd seen your question, I felt somebody at Microsoft would be most qualified to answer it (the more as Iʼm not an addressee). 
But the point here is that we can answer it by ourselves, because the keyboard drivers are not covered by the MSKLC licence. 
The licensed software is the MSKLC folder.

So it *is* legal.

Letʼs look at the details however:

“You may not
· work around any technical limitations in the software;

· reverse engineer, decompile or disassemble the software, except and only to the extent that applicable law expressly permits, despite this limitation;

· make more copies of the software than specified in this agreement or allowed by applicable law, despite this limitation;

· publish the software for others to copy;

· rent, lease or lend the software;

· transfer the software or this agreement to any third party; 

· use the software for commercial software hosting services; or 

· Use the software for the sole purpose of repackaging a Microsoft provided keyboard layout to offer as a stand-alone commercial product for which you charge a fee.” 

Do I “work around any technical limitations in the software” by picking up the source code of the drivers it generates? This is my main concern about this practice. Are we allowed to use files generated by MSKLC that are not expressedly provided to the user? 
Further, are we allowed to use installation packages generated by MSKLC to install other keyboard drivers than those generated by MSKLC? To install keyboard drivers that exceed the limitations of MSKLC?

The questioning becomes even more troublesome when we remember that the WDK is mentioned in the MSKLC Help, and ask: 
When we accept the invitation to switch towards WDK, must we package the drivers with the resources the driver kit comes along with (while not knowing how to write an INF file!), or may we use the MSI and setup from MSKLC? 
BTW we may wonder why and how MSKLC compiles a Windows-On-Windows driver, while except for a few sparse mentions, nothing seems to be provided for WOW in the WDK.

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