For Approval: Microsoft Permissive License

John Cowan cowan at
Sun Aug 19 01:45:43 UTC 2007

Michael R. Bernstein scripsit:

> I think you're missing the point that both of these licenses are
> incompatible with *any* other license, no matter how permissive. A file
> under MS-PL can't even incorporate BSD-licensed code. That takes
> *special* effort.

I believe you have misread MS-PL 3D.  It says that "this software", which
means "the accompanying software", the original code you got along with
the license, must be distributed under the MS-PL and accompanied with it.

It does *not* say that any derivative work (the creation of which is
explicitly permitted by 2A) must be licensed under the MS-PL.  Indeed,
as long as you follow the conditions and limitations in 3A-3E, you
can apparently license your derivative work under any license.

Of course, your changes to the work must rise to the level of being
a derivative work as opposed to a mere transcription or trivial change.

> As far as I can tell, the MS-PL and MS-CL licenses aren't even
> compatible with each other, in either direction.

I believe this to be the product of the same misreading.  The MS-CL does
create a closed commons, but the MS-PL does not.

John Cowan   cowan at
Most languages are dramatically underdescribed, and at least one is
dramatically overdescribed.  Still other languages are simultaneously
overdescribed and underdescribed.  Welsh pertains to the third category.
        --Alan King

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