Subject: Re: For Approval: Microsoft Permissive License
From: "Chris DiBona" <>
Date: Thu, 6 Sep 2007 22:49:02 -0700

One thing that would make me pleased as punch would be if OSI would
only approve a new license if an old one is deprecated.


On 8/25/07, Chris Travers <> wrote:
> I have one concern that the board should evaluate regarding whether to
> approve the MS-PL.
> I have recently been made aware of the report by the license
> proliferation committee to the Board regarding the recommendations
> relating to license proliferation.  I believe that the Board should be
> free to apply those recommendations to license approval processes.
> I believe that the MS-PL (and the GPLv3 too-- note on the related For
> Approval thread) fail one of the committee's key recommendations:
> require certain things of approved licenses including that "the license
> must be clearly written, simple, and understandable."
> Obviously if the GPL3 meets this criteria than so does the MS-PL (in
> fact, one would be hard pressed to find an example that didn't).
> However, I believe that the MS-PL of these licenses are quite difficult
> to understand given the other discussions on the list, opinions of
> different lawyers (some of which come to us second-hand), etc.  The key
> questions include whether or "the software" in the MS-PL refers to mere
> source code, or whether it extends to original copyrighted aspects of
> the software (such as copyrighted graphical designs for screen output or
> story lines), or extend in other ways to derivative works.  The MS-CL is
> probably less ambiguous in this area and easier to avoid running into
> trouble (in my view).  I think we would be well within our rights to
> reject the MS-PL as "confusing" and ask Microsoft to resubmit after
> including such a definition.
> This is not about favoritism.  I would actually like to see the GPL3
> rejected on the same grounds.  Of course if the GPL3 were approved, I
> would favor approving the MS-PL as well.
> Chris Dibona may have a point about license proliferation.  It may be
> time to start using reasonable guidelines in the approval process in
> this area provided that they are applied both reasonably and evenhandedly.
> Best Wishes,
> Chris Travers

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