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

Alexander Terekhov alexander.terekhov at
Sat Aug 25 14:58:22 UTC 2007

On 8/25/07, Chris Travers <chris.travers at> wrote:
> Thanks Jim.  This is very needed.  One comment below.
> On 8/24/07, Thatcher, Jim E. (Woodcock Washburn) <jthatcher at >
> wrote:
> >
> > Q6. What about the GPL? Can I use Ms-PL-licensed code in a GPL project?
> >
> > A. You should consult your own attorney to answer that question for you.
> I'm happy to explain what I and Microsoft understand the Ms-PL to mean, but
> you shouldn't rely on my interpretation of other licenses without validating
> that interpretation with your own attorney. The way I read the GPL you may
> be able to use Ms-PL-licensed code in conjunction with GPL-licensed code as
> long as the Ms-PL-licensed code (1) is contained in "identifiable sections …
> not derived from the [GPL-licensed] Program", (2) "can be reasonably
> considered independent and separate works in themselves" and (3), " you
> distribute them as separate works".
> That seems to be effective for a GPL v2 application as well. Thanks.

Eben "Anarchism Triumphant" Moglen and his underlings at SFLC won't be happy.

As GNU Reichsminister für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda nicely put it:
(Professor Eben Moglen Replies)

2) Clarifying the GPL
by sterno

One issue that I know has come up for me is how the GPL applies in
situations where I'm using GPL software but I'm not actually
modifying it. For example, I write a Java application, and it is
reliant on a JAR that is GPL'd. Do I then need to GPL my software?
I haven't changed the JAR in anyway, I'm just redistributing it with
my software. The end user could just as easily download the JAR
themselves, it's just a convenience for me to offer it in my package.


The language or programming paradigm in use doesn't determine the
rules of compliance, nor does whether the GPL'd code has been modified.
The situation is no different than the one where your code depends on
static or dynamic linking of a GPL'd library, say GNU readline. Your
code, in order to operate, must be combined with the GPL'd code,
forming a new combined work, which under GPL section 2 (b) must be
distributed under the terms of the GPL and only the GPL.

See? Mighty GNU law on "combined works".


More information about the License-discuss mailing list