Subject: Re: For Approval: Microsoft Permissive License
From: John Cowan <>
Date: Sat, 18 Aug 2007 22:00:14 -0400

Donovan Hawkins scripsit:

> IMO, there is no fundamental difference between MS-PL and GPL except in
> who they choose to exclude from their code-sharing club: GPL excludes
> closed-source projects,

And many open-source projects too.

> MS-PL excludes GPL projects. MS-PL doesn't have to explicitly prevent
> linking or keeping different source files under different licenses
> because it acquires this level of exclusion from GPL by virtue of
> GPL's own clauses interacting with the MS-PL.

Which is to say that the GPL excludes the MS-PL, not vice versa.
In particular, 2B is inconsistent with the GPLv2; I don't know whether
it's incompatible with the GPLv3 or not -- I suspect not.  Anyhow, if
you keep me out of your club, you can't also claim that I'm an elitist
because I can't be found there.

> Either you want people to do what THEY want with your code, or you
> want people to do what YOU want with your code.

The situation is by no means so black and white.  Even the 3-clause
BSD license imposes *some* restrictions on (re)users; in particular,
they can't change the attributions.  If you want "people to do what
THEY want", you need to dedicate your code to the public domain, and
then you have to deal with me and Larry Rosen, who don't believe that
you can actually do so.

> It's unfortunate enough that "free" now means "free to do what the
> the GPL says you can do".

The theory of GPL freedom is that it preserves the freedom of users, not
necessarily the freedom of developers; developers get a lot of freedom to
do what they want with the code, but by no means absolute freedom.

What is the sound of Perl?  Is it not the       John Cowan
sound of a [Ww]all that people have stopped
banging their head against?  --Larry