Are Small Basic (SB) and Microsoft Small Basic (MSB) related or is this a confusion based upon similar names?

I have read that SB is written in C and is GPL. The oldest date on SourceForge is 2004 but the facebook group states its over 10years old. MSB is written in .NET 3.5 by Microsoft DevLabs. Wikipedia states it originated in 2008. They seem completely unrelated. Is this another Microsoft "Embrace, Extend, and Extinguish" tactic?

I have read that MSB does not allow distribution:

The license is presented when you install the software. Small Basic includes a command line compiler that can be used as part of the product. You may install and use any number of copies of the software on your premises to test how it runs with your programs, distribution is not allowed. Please review the license terms for additional use rights/restrictions. Thank you.

-MSB Forums

  • Small Basic source code was first posted on the web circa 1999 by Nicholas Christopoulos. It ran on PalmOS handhelds. – hotpaw2 Oct 3 '11 at 5:18
  • Hi snmcdonald, questions here need to be impartial in tone: we really can't confirm whether or not a narrative about a company's intentions is true or not. – user8 Oct 3 '11 at 9:25

They are not at all related.

Here is a quote from Microsoft's Small Basic FAQ:

What about the other "Small Basic?"

We noticed there’s another version of "Small Basic" out there. Other than the naming coincidence, our version of Small Basic doesn’t have anything to do with this other version.

Regarding embracing and extiguishing, I don't think they intend it in that direct a way. Microsoft's stated purpose for Small Basic is to create a very simple teaching language that complete beginners (probably kids) can use. I think their "market" is basically middle schools and high schools. I suppose that by getting kids started on a Microsoft tool they have a better chance with hearts and minds when it comes time to move up to Visual Studio.

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  • Very good answer. Still I think they could have considered a different name for their language. I don't think Microsoft would be as tolerant to a reverse situation. – snmcdonald Oct 3 '11 at 2:57
  • @snmcdonald - Microsoft files and protects trademarks when it can and wants. Most OSS projects don't incur the expense of those registrations, thus their names don't have the same level of legal protection. (But IANAL, so ask one.) – hotpaw2 Oct 3 '11 at 5:24

Are Java and Javascript related? No, they are not. It's highly unlikely these two are related though they could be. I don't think Microsoft is trying to steal what little market share Small Basic has. They already have a huge chunk via the VB.NET set.

To answer the second part of the question, it doesn't allow distribution of the interpreter. Any code you write doesn't automatically become Microsoft's.

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They are not related. And there is really little reason for confusion, as there are well over a hundred completely different implementations of the BASIC programming language, many with vaguely similar sounding names. Sometimes 2 different unrelated implementations have similar names. Sometimes 2 nearly identical and related Basic implementations will have two completely different brand names on them.

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