MS-PL/GPL compatibility, was Re: For Approval: Microsoft Permissive License

Tobia Conforto tobia.conforto at
Thu Aug 23 08:33:06 UTC 2007

Chris Travers wrote:
> Tobia Conforto wrote:
> > If I take a MS-PL file (not mine) and a GPL file, combine them into
> > a derived work and release it as GPL, the GPL requires the whole
> > work (including the MS-PL part) to be released with permissions
> > exactly equal to the GPL
> Read section 7 of the GPL v3 again, or section 2 of the GPL v2.
> Additional permissions are not prohibited.  However the MS-PL is not
> compatible with the GPL v2 on other grounds.
> The GPL v3 also allows for reasonable legal notices to be included, so
> the requirement that source code be identified as being still under
> the MS-PL does not seem to be a problem.

You are right, I was reading the GPL wrong!  (It's so long... :-)

I am now convinced that MS-PL code is compatible with the GPLv3*.

> I see one danger with the MS-PL and probably would not use code for it
> in any of my projects outside some sort of discrete component division
> simply because relicensing derivative works in a source distribution
> seems risky to me.

It seems to me that the most sensible course of action is placing
clear-cut boundaries around MS-PL code (source file, class, or function
boundaries) and just keep what is derived from MS-PL code under MS-PL.

Is that what you're saying?


* IA(still)NAL

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