For Approval: Microsoft Permissive License

Brian Behlendorf brian at
Sun Aug 19 03:36:02 UTC 2007

On Sat, 18 Aug 2007, Rick Moen wrote:
> OSI's role is merely to certify the licences that meet OSD criteria, and
> promote the concept of open source in general.

The OSI board's anti-proliferation efforts appear to take them one step 
beyond certification though.  It would seem to be that otherwise compliant 
licenses could be rejected if they simply duplicate the terms or purpose 
of an existing license.  I don't know yet if there has been an explicit 
rejection of a license up for certification, so I don't know if we've yet 
established how different a new license needs to be.  I would guess that a 
license that copied the Apache license and replaced all instances of 
Apache with some other abstract word would be rejected, no matter what the 
compatibility matrix looked like.  How about a license that had exactly 
the same requirements as Apache, but restated them in a completely 
different way?  From there, what's the *smallest* difference in licensing 
terms that would be worth adding yet another license?

Seems as though while MS-PL is not copyleft, MS-CL is, and thus that 
"smallest difference" better be pretty big to offset the potential cost of 
two universes of immiscible code, MS-CL-licensed and GPL-licensed.


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