MS-PL and MS-CL originality (was: Groklaw's OSI item (was: When will CPAL actually be _used_?))

Wilson, Andrew andrew.wilson at
Mon Aug 27 19:27:41 UTC 2007

Simon Phipps wrote: 

> Mike Milinkovich wrote:
>> ...
> I agree with you that the miscibility of code licensed under OSI- 
> approved licenses is not currently an OSI issue (it should be, in my  
> view). But I disagree with you over license proliferation. I believe / 
> duplicative/ proliferation is deeply undesirable to the point of  
> being harmful, which is why in my work capacity I have now "retired"  
> two licenses my employer originated near the start of the OSI.
> It seems to me that both of the licenses we're being asked to discuss  
> lack compelling original features. I've not heard a detailed  
> explanation yet of why they therefore are not duplicative and deserve  
> approval. The only argument I have heard - that Microsoft are  
> "playing by the rules and deserve to be rewarded" - smacks of special  
> treatment.

Simon, I agree with you whole-heartedly on license proliferation.
One of my prouder achievements of recent years is (with my colleague
McCoy Smith) retiring Intel's "vanity" open source license.
So, ideologically, we are quite in synch.

As MSFT's outside counsel made clear in recent postings, 
MS-PL is in fact designed to be 'sticky' in ways that 
canonical non-copyleft licenses (BSD, MIT, Apache) are not.  I will not opine 
as to whether such 'stickiness' is a good or a bad feature in what is
labeled as a permissive license, but it is
at least novel.  To my mind, and speaking only personally, 
MS-PL is almost sui generis and sits somewhere in relatively new
territory somewhere between copyleft licenses and permissive or 
"gift" licenses.

This list has spent quite a few electrons on MS-PL, relatively few
on MS-CL.  Agreed it is probably worth taking a collective look at MS-CL
from the point of view of whether it is duplicative of existing,
approved licenses.

Andy Wilson
Intel open source technology center
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