Subject: Re: For Approval: Microsoft Permissive License
From: "Michael R. Bernstein" <michael@fandomhome.com>
Date: Sat, 18 Aug 2007 20:18:27 -0700
Sat, 18 Aug 2007 20:18:27 -0700
On Sat, 2007-08-18 at 21:45 -0400, John Cowan wrote:
> Michael R. Bernstein scripsit:
> 
> > I think you're missing the point that both of these licenses are
> > incompatible with *any* other license, no matter how permissive. A file
> > under MS-PL can't even incorporate BSD-licensed code. That takes
> > *special* effort.
> 
> I believe you have misread MS-PL 3D.  It says that "this software", which
> means "the accompanying software", the original code you got along with
> the license, must be distributed under the MS-PL and accompanied with it.

Hmm. So this sentence:

        (D) If you distribute any portion of the software in source code
        form, you may do so only under this license by including a
        complete copy of this license with your distribution.

Really should be:

        (D) If you distribute any portion of the software in source code
        form, you must distribute under this license by including a
        complete copy of this license with your distribution.

Or some similar less ambiguous construction.

> It does *not* say that any derivative work (the creation of which is
> explicitly permitted by 2A) must be licensed under the MS-PL.  Indeed,
> as long as you follow the conditions and limitations in 3A-3E, you
> can apparently license your derivative work under any license.

See, I read 3D as an exception or condition to 2A, effectively altering
the meaning of 2A to 'any derivative works except in source form'.

> Of course, your changes to the work must rise to the level of being
> a derivative work as opposed to a mere transcription or trivial change.
> 
> > As far as I can tell, the MS-PL and MS-CL licenses aren't even
> > compatible with each other, in either direction.
> 
> I believe this to be the product of the same misreading.  The MS-CL does
> create a closed commons, but the MS-PL does not.

John, thank you for your analysis. I'd like some kind of statement from
the folks at Microsoft that your interpretation is in line with their
intent, and that 'only under this license' does not mean to exclude
distribution of derivative works in source form under other licenses.

I'd be even happier if the licenses were modified to make this
unambiguous.

- Michael R. Bernstein
  michaelbernstein.com


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