Subject: Re: For Approval: Microsoft Permissive License
From: "Alexander Terekhov" <>
Date: Tue, 25 Sep 2007 17:12:04 +0200

On 9/24/07, Michael Tiemann <> wrote:
> On 9/22/07, Alexander Terekhov <> wrote:
> > On 9/16/07, Chris Travers <> wrote:
> > > Since the board is still considering this license, I wanted to provide
> > > some information from my research that might help with this decision.
> > >
> > > One of the main issues people have on this list is the idea that other
> > > existing permissive licenses allow sublicensing.
> > >
> > > I am not a layer, but I believe that this is wrong as a matter of intent
> > > licenses such as the BSD-licenses and the that it is also wrong as a
> > > matter of law.  In fact, most permissive licenses do not allow for
> > > sublicensing and force the licnese to follow the original copyrightable
> > > elements (including but not limited to code).
> If the sublicensing is not required, then the safe harbour makes them feel
> permissive.

What safe harbour? Care to elaborate?

> >,1759,2185919,00.asp
> > (OSI Calls for Major Revisions to Microsoft Permissive License)
> I did not write this headline, and would not have characterized my comments
> as justifying such a headline.  I didn't call for anything, I gave a summary
> of what I read on license-discuss.
> > --------
> > The MS-PL is also particularly restrictive, and is "uniquely
> > incompatible" with the maximum number of other open-source licenses,
> > Tiemann said, noting that in its examination of license proliferation,
> > the OSI had encouraged experimentation with license terms to encourage
> > new ones to be written that were better than what currently existed.
> >
> > "We certainly don't want to presume that we have already invented
> > everything there is to be invented. However, the specific innovation
> > of maximum incompatibility of the MS-PL is not what we were looking
> > for, so I think what we have is a submission that has two fairly major
> > strikes against it," Tiemann said.
> > --------
> >
> > Question to OSI Board of Directors:
> >
> > What is he (Mr. Tiemann) smoking and where can I get some?
> I was reading comments from a threat titled ",License compatibility of MS-PL
> and MS-CL (Was: (RE: Groklaw's OSI item (was: When will CPAL actually be
> _used_?))" which included this comment from Jim Thatcher, Of Counsel,
> Woodcock Washburn LLP:


See also:

> Q7. Then this really isn't a "permissive" license, is it?
> A. It's clear from this discussion that the term "permissive" in this
> context has a specific meaning to many. This is not really a legal issue,
> but the business folks at Microsoft have heard this feedback, and will
> continue to listen to the community to understand the issues that matter
> most to developers. Microsoft will carefully consider the concerns that have
> been raised regarding the title of the Ms-PL.And many other comments from
> the thread.  Again, I didn't call on Microsoft to do anything.  I just
> pointed out what I believed to be a widely held consensus, which is that the
> name and nature of the Microsoft Permissive License are not yet constructed
> in a way that makes them a compelling extension of the cadre of OSI-approved
> licenses.  The fact that Microsoft has acknowledged that consensus and is
> discussing it is a great sign that the license-discuss process is working,
> not that I'm smoking anything.

Why of course you're not smoking anything, and that comment from Jim
Thatcher, Of Counsel, Woodcock Washburn LLP, is clearly Microsoft's
acknowledgement of "consensus" saying that MS-PL is particularly
restrictive (your words: "does not have any of the properties of the
combinability that BSD permits") and "uniquely incompatible" with the
maximum number of other open-source licenses. As Rich Moen says "what
you say is abundantly obvious."


"PJ points out that lawyers seem to have difficulty understanding the
GPL. My main concern with GPLv3 is that - unlike v2 - non-lawyers can't
understand it either."
                                 -- Anonymous Groklaw Visitor