For Approval: Microsoft Permissive License

Michael R. Bernstein michael at
Sat Aug 18 17:43:13 UTC 2007

On Sat, 2007-08-18 at 08:25 -0700, Donovan Hawkins wrote:
> On Sat, 18 Aug 2007, Nils Labugt wrote:
> IMO, there is no fundamental difference between MS-PL and GPL except in 
> who they choose to exclude from their code-sharing club: GPL excludes 
> closed-source projects, MS-PL excludes GPL projects. MS-PL doesn't 
> have to explicitly prevent linking or keeping different source files under 
> different licenses because it acquires this level of exclusion from GPL by 
> virtue of GPL's own clauses interacting with the MS-PL. This is hardly an 
> accident.

From my POV, the fundamental difference here is *how* they choose to
exclude. Other pairwise license incompatibilities (including those that
involve the GPL) arise out of the side-effects of incompatible terms (in
the GPL's case, 'no other restrictions'), which at least leaves the door
open for pairwise combinations that are compatible.

In contrast, the MS-PL and MS-CL, by virtue of explicitly excluding
other licenses wholesale (including each other!), seem to have license
incompatibility as a *design goal* rather than a side-effect, and it is
*that* which I am very uncomfortable with. Not to mention eliminating
the possibility of dual licensing.


Deliberately excluding all other licenses: Bug Or Feature?

I say, 'Bug'.

- Michael R. Bernstein
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