For Approval: Microsoft Permissive License

Chris DiBona cdibona at
Thu Aug 16 21:48:16 UTC 2007

I appreciate your answers (and largely agree with them) but I want to
hear it from Microsoft. OSI deserves it.

Also, I'd like to keep the FSF out of this set of questions. We're
talking about Microsoft here, not the FSF. There is a different thread
for that :-)


On 8/16/07, Chris Travers <chris at> wrote:
> I can't speak for Microsoft though I have worked there in the past.  But
> I can share what I think this means for open source in general.
> Chris DiBona wrote:
> > I would like to ask what might be perceived as a diversion and maybe
> > even a mean spirited one. Does this submission to the OSI mean that
> > Microsoft will:
> >
> > a) Stop using the market confusing term Shared Source
> > b) Not place these licenses and the other, clearly non-free , non-osd
> > licenses in the same place thus muddying the market further.
> > c) Continue its path of spreading misinformation about the nature of
> > open source software, especially that licensed under the GPL?
> > d) Stop threatening with patents and oem pricing manipulation schemes
> > to deter the use of open source software?
> >
> In each of the above, almost certainly not in the short term.  Longer
> run, who can say?
> > If not, why should the OSI approve of your efforts?
> Because it is consistent with the OSD and because for OSI to mean
> something, I think the organization should be reasonably even handed for
> a license whether or not it comes from the FSF or Microsoft.
> I would hate for OSI to leave the impression that open source licenses
> are essentially an exclusive group where the rules for outsiders to
> participate in developing approved licenses are different than for
> insiders.  One of the reasons why I will not consider joining the FSF is
> that the GPL v3 process left such an impression.  While the details of
> this are not on-topic for this list, I would be happy to further discuss
> my concerns off-list.
> >  That of a company
> > who has called those who use the licenses that OSI purports to defend
> > a communist or a cancer? Why should we see this seeking of approval as
> > anything but yet another attack in the guise of friendliness?
> >
> Be careful what you ask for.   Do you really want everything RMS says
> about the BSD and similar licenses to be on-topic for approval of future
> FSF licenses?  Should it be?  Or should we do the right thing and
> restrict our review to the licenses themselves?  Or should my process
> concerns over the GPL v3 (not the final version but the stated reasons
> for changes in the drafts) be on-topic and part of the review?  How
> about other hard feelings towards the FSF?
> > Finally, why should yet another set of minority, vanity licenses be
> > approved by an OSI that has been attempting to deter copycat licenses
> > and reduce license proliferation? I'm asked this for all recent
> > license-submitters and you are no different :-)
> >
> >
> I won't comment here except to say that having read both licenses, I
> think this is a bigger issue for the Permissive license since the terms
> seem pretty analogous to the new-style BSD license.  The MS-CL is
> slightly different and seems to be compatible with a number of other
> Free and non-Free open source licenses (included by my reading all
> versions of the GPL and MPL).  The MS-CL license is simple, compatible
> with a lot of licenses, and fairly easy to understand.
> So I guess I see value in the MS-CL.  The MS-PL question is valid,
> however:  What makes other BSD-style licenses inadequate?  Is there
> something that can be done to help address your concerns and move
> towards license consolidation as opposed to proliferation?
> Note that the only works I have produced under either license are under
> the MS-PL.
> Best Wishes,
> Chris Travers

Open Source Programs Manager, Google Inc.
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