Subject: RE: BSD and MIT license "compliance" with the MS-PL
From: "Donovan Hawkins" <hawkins@cephira.com>
Date: Fri, 17 Apr 2009 15:49:28 -0400 (EDT)




> Nigel.Tzeng@jhuapl.edu
wrote:
> 
> On the license-review list I believe someone
had
> stated that implicit patent grants were clearly
> understood or something to that effect. 
> 
>
Evidently not. 

Evidently neither is quoting, since I didn't write what you are
referring to.


> Yes, because nobody on CodePlex that uses
> MS-PL
cares about open source or is doing open
> source
because it doesn't fit your narrow 
> definition that excludes
even OSI approved licenses. 

Obviously it excludes even OSI approved licenses since MS-PL was
approved (and correctly so unless someone wants to change the OSD). Which
other OSI-approved license virally preserves the right to use all
downstream code in closed-source projects while being explcitly
incompatible with all other open-source licenses?


> It is highly amusing to see someone lecturing
> others on what is and is not logical to blatantly
> imply that GPL supports closed source developer
>
rights better than MS-PL. 

You find strawmen amusing then, since I said no such thing. I said
there is no logical argument consistent with the idea of open source which
could defend the rights of closed source developers without defending GPL
equally or better.

Why would anyone who believes in open source want to protect the
ability of closed source developers to take away all rights over the
ability of GPL to take away some rights? What argument makes it ok for
closed source developers to allow no one to use their source code but
wrong for GPL to allow everyone except those who would not convey that
right downstream? To be fine with people taking your work closed source
but angry when they put it under GPL would mean you want code to
have more restrictions, not fewer. I don't see that being consistent with
any reasonable definition of open source.


> MS-PL is
more aggressive in preserving
> close-source developer
rights than permissive
> licenses because it is a
copyleft. Just as GPL is
> more aggressive in preserving
free software
> developer rights than
permissive licenses
> because it is copyleft. 

An open source developer who wants to protect the downstream right to
go closed source is screwed because closed source itself doesn't protect
that right. Closed source developers are no more able to use the source
code of other closed source projects than they are able to use source code
under GPL.

The only thing MS-PL protects is your own right to go closed source
after a bunch of other people have added to your work. The most effective
way would be to take small pieces of a much larger closed source project
and release them under MS-PL as seeds. Wait for them to grow on the effort
of others, then harvest them for reinclusion in the original project. You
get free (as in beer) software development with minimal risk since
you only released a small part of your program and the vast majority of
the open source developers can't use any of it.

If you feel my definition of open source is narrow because I don't
include that, so be it. As the introduction to the OSD says: "Open
source doesn't just mean access to the source code."

Donovan Hawkins
hawkins@cephira.com
via webmail