For Approval: Microsoft Permissive License

Donovan Hawkins hawkins at
Wed Aug 22 00:49:41 UTC 2007

On Tue, 21 Aug 2007, Matthew Flaschen wrote:

> Donovan Hawkins wrote:
>> It's unfortunate enough that "free" now means "free to do what the the
>> GPL says you can do".
> I don't think FSF ever claimed this.  They've always said BSD (and many
> other licenses) is also free, but GPL is copyleft to ensure the code
> stays free.

I wasn't referring to whether the BSDL is considered "free", but rather 
the fact that the GPL is. GPL does not grant you the freedom to closed 
source a derivative work, for example. Thus it is less free (in the 
conventional sense) than BSDL, which grants every reasonable freedom one 
could grant for gratis software. I'd have preferred to use "free" to 
designate software which provides all freedoms and basically just 
disclaims against lawsuits and prevents false attribution. Obviously the 
ship has sailed on that one, but I wanted to point out that calling MS-PL 
"permissive" will be yet another erosion of the lexicon. The ship has not 
yet sailed on this one.

Donovan Hawkins, PhD                 "The study of physics will always be
Software Engineer                     safer than biology, for while the
hawkins at                   hazards of physics drop off as 1/r^2,                biological ones grow exponentially."

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