For Approval: Microsoft Permissive License

Chris Travers chris.travers at
Wed Aug 22 01:50:02 UTC 2007

On 8/21/07, John Cowan <cowan at> wrote:
> Michael R. Bernstein scripsit:
> > 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.
> However, it is still possible to use MS-PL files in a source arcchive
> or in a binary built from that archive, since the MS-PL file remains
> under the MS-PL.  The other files cannot be under the GPLv2 thanks
> to the incompatibility, unless the GPLv2 author has waived the
> incompatibility either explicitly or by providing for relicensing.

IANAL, but I think you are right on this for the wrong reasons, if you mean
the wording we are arguing over :-)  One need not even reach this question
under the GPL v2.

The basic issue is that the GPL v2 does not allow a patent licensor under
the license to terminate those patent rights to people who initiate
lawsuits.  The rule seems to be that if you cannot ensure downstream
protection you cannot distribute.  The GPL v3, Apache License 2.0, and MS-PL
do.  Therefore they are all incompatible with the GPL v2.

Since this incompatibility exists, the licenses are incompatable.

Best Wishes,
Chris Travers
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