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

Donovan Hawkins hawkins at
Sun Aug 26 15:31:52 UTC 2007

On Sun, 26 Aug 2007, Zac Bowling wrote:

> I get what you are saying about the different intents of Ms-CL and
> Ms-PL. I was looking at Ms-PL as being lesser then the Ms-CL since
> they have a lot of the same text where the Ms-CL only seems to add
> more bullet points. If you look at it simply as they are only adding
> to it, you don't think they are changing the entire intent of license.

That's a good point...I had forgotten when people discussed the fact that 
there is only one place where the two licenses differ. It's reasonable 
that someone would expect more similarity in their intent.

> What is confusing is that same line about "any portion of the
> software" is used in other shared source licenses including the first
> shared source license I can remember, the Rotor project (now the
> Shared Source CLI). I've attached a copy of that version of the shared
> source license for reference.  In that case that same exact section is
> used but if what Jim said was true for the Ms-PL, the same exact
> phrase means something entirely different for the other licenses.

Actually the license you attached appears to be worded a bit differently, 
and "the software" still seems to apply to the unmodified version. In the 
section on modifications, they write "You may modify this Software and 
distribute the modified Software for non-commercial purposes, however, you 
may not grant rights to the Software or derivative works that are broader 
than those provided by this License." However I do agree that there is 
much to be said for defining your terms in advance and using them 
verbatim in the license body, rather than relying on English to 

Of course, the license you attached also says:

"You may use any information in intangible form that you remember after
accessing the Software.  However, this right does not grant you a
license to any of Microsoft's copyrights or patents for anything you
might create using such information."

Uh, so I can use what I remember, unless I can't? Gee, thanks...

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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