For Approval: Microsoft Permissive License

Donovan Hawkins hawkins at
Wed Aug 22 03:23:40 UTC 2007

On Tue, 21 Aug 2007, John Cowan wrote:

> Donovan Hawkins scripsit:
>> 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.
> That is, it grants *software developers* every reasonable freedom.
> Their customers, however, may or may or not be granted any freedom.
> Since there are more customers than developers, the GPL may well
> grant more freedoms in aggregate.

It grants everyone the same freedoms, and those freedoms are a subset of 
what BSDL grants (which is why GPL is compatible with BSDL). Whether it 
leads to more "free" software replacing what would have been closed 
software is a possibility...obviously that's the whole point of it...but 
it doesn't make the GPL itself more free. The GPL is restrictive by 

I really don't want to debate the merits of copyleft here. I have used the 
GPL as an example of what I consider a similar set of restrictions to 
argue why the MS-PL is not a permissive license. I'll leave it at that.

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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