For Approval: Microsoft Permissive License

Chris Travers chris.travers at
Wed Aug 22 01:46:59 UTC 2007


On 8/21/07, Michael R. Bernstein <michael at> wrote:
> > "(D) If you distribute any portion of the software in source code form,
> > you may do so only under this license by including a complete copy of
> > this license with your distribution."
> > [snip excerpts from two other licenses]
> >
> > Comparing these excerpts, I don't see why it is a "design goal" in the
> > case of the MS-PL but only a side-effect in the other two cases.
> This ignores the role of the word 'only'. This means that MS-PL is
> incompatible with every other license, even the BSD license. That's a
> bit different than being incompatible with some other licenses due to
> conflicting requirements.

I read this as:
"If you distribute any portion of this code in source form, you may only do
so as permitted by this license and may not change any licensing terms on
this code without further permission from the copyright holder."  Since the
restriction is limited to specific portions of the code which are left
intact, does not appear to cover derivative works, etc.  this appears to be
relatively similar to the Apache 2.0 license.

Compare to the related BSDL clause which also forbids changing copyright
license terms:
"Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright notice, this
list of conditions and the following disclaimer."

Arguably the BSDL clause is more concise but I don't see how the effect is

Best Wishes,
Chris Travers
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