For Approval: Microsoft Permissive License

Rick Moen rick at
Sat Aug 18 19:51:13 UTC 2007

Quoting Nils Labugt (elabu at

> Some of us wants to license our code under a permissive license, and
> also wants our code to *remain* under a permissive license.

Certainly, it's OK to want.  (You can _want_ noonday midnights, too.)

However, it's inherent in the concept of a permissive licence that it's,
well, permissive:  Third-party recipients are expressly permitted to
create derivative works under any licensing terms whatsoever, from
permissive ones to entirely proprietary ones.  

I respect that tradition -- and use that type of licensing myself on
many occasions, by preference.  I respect its practitioners even more
when they grasp the implications of what they're doing.  ;->

> There seems to be an attitude of many around here that one should go to
> great lengths to satisfy those who wants strong "copyleft" terms, while
> a desire to prevent others from adding new restrictive terms is frown
> upon. 

Er, no.  One should go to the exact lengths necessary to comply with any
software licence of any type.  Sometimes, the most practical way to
comply turns out to be to eschew that particular software completely,
and say "In _that_ case, no thanks, we'll either do without, or write or
commission our own, under terms more to our liking."

> And this license permits linking to code under different licenses,
> doesn't it? Unlike GPLv3.

(GPLv3 has no power to regulate "linking", as such -- a misconception
carried forward from FSF and related materials about GPLv2.)

Certainly, if one wants the greatest possible range of software licence
compatibility, and that concern outweighs others, one _should_ use a
permissive licence such as new-BSD or MIT / X11.  However, people have
diverse objectives, in their licensing practices.

OSI's role is merely to certify the licences that meet OSD criteria, and
promote the concept of open source in general.

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