For Approval: Microsoft Permissive License

Matthew Flaschen matthew.flaschen at
Tue Aug 21 23:31:02 UTC 2007

Chris Travers wrote:
> Matthew Flaschen wrote:
>> Chris Fagan wrote:
>>> A design goal of the MS-PL is to allow developers to choose to ensure
>>> that the specific rights in Section (2) continue to be available to
>>> downstream developers and users through generations of adoption and
>>> adaptation.
>> The phrase "the specific rights [...] continue to be available to [...]
>> users through  generations of adoption and adaptation" reminds me of
>> "anyone who redistributes the software, with or without changes, must
>> pass along the freedom to further copy and change it."
> Ths winds us back around to the question of "if I include your BSDL code
> in my GPL application, does that code, provided it is unaltered stop
> being under the BSDL?"

It doesn't really matter to this discussion.  I'll use GPL, even though
the issue applies to other licenses too.  Even if an unaltered copy of
BSD code in a GPL program remains under BSD, GPL-only modifications to
the BSD code are certainly not (and need not be) under BSD.  That's what
defines BSD as a permissive license.

Copyleft licenses like GPL don't allow modifications to be put under a
more restrictive license.  My point was that MS-PL is acting somewhat
like a copyleft license in this regard.

Matt Flaschen

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