License compatibility of MS-PL and MS-CL (Was: (RE: Groklaw's OSI item (was: When will CPAL actually be _used_?))

Rick Moen rick at
Thu Aug 23 07:01:10 UTC 2007

Quoting Michael R. Bernstein (michael at

> No, let me amend that: It bothers me that these licenses are
> incompatible with the entire universe of all other theoretically
> possible licenses, including future ones, regardless of their terms.
> It also bothers me that this incompatibility extends not just to code
> mixing and sublicensing, but also to multiple licensing. Multiple
> licensing, like forking, is an unfortunate and infrequent necessity that
> I don't think should be given up lightly.
> I think we need to add OSD #11 to disallow this kind of gratuitous and
> discriminatory license incompatibility. 

Nothing in open source has ever required avoidance of licence

What you're saying is that MS-CL and MS-PL create an extremely
ghetto-ish commons within which essential freedoms are available.  That 
may be true, but it then nonetheless _remains_ a commons within which
essential freedoms are available.

Nothing in open source has ever, to date, barred the creation of badly
conceived commonses that will likely eventually fall flat on their
faces.  The proper remedy, IMVAO, is to watch and _find out_ whether
they fall flat on their faces.  And meanwhile, you're free to tell
people "That's a sucky licence."  News flash:  The OSI approved list
includes many sucky licences, already.

> Or perhaps this: A license may not discriminate against other licenses
> or groups of licenses.

Nice can of worms you have there.  Make sure you have plenty of room.

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