[SciPy-User] Central File Exchange for SciPy

Jochen Schröder cycomanic@gmail....
Mon Nov 1 17:58:20 CDT 2010


On 02/11/10 06:30, Matthew Brett wrote:
> Hi,
>
>>> My personal opinion is that in the long run, it would be beneficial to
>>> have this 'file exchange' have BSD-only code (or public domain, since
>>> employees of the US Federal government as far as I understand must
>>> publish their codes under public domain terms).
>>
>> The flip side of this is that there are many environments in which the
>> distinction between GPL and BSD is irrelevant, eg for code we deploy
>> internally at work and do not distribute.  Suppose someone writes some
>> really nifty code that depends on pygsl.  I would rather have access
>> to it on the file exchange than not.  If the code submission dialogs
>> has a choice of licenses with BSD as the default, and selection of
>> non-BSD takes them to an explanation of why we prefer BSD and an "are
>> you sure" dialog, then including this code is beneficial in my view.
>
> The risk is that people will tend to pick up code snippets from the
> file exchange and paste them into their own code.   It will be very
> easy for them to accidentally pick up GPL code and accidentally
> relicense, leading to a viral licensing mess.
>
> If we do go down that route, can I suggest that the pages for the GPL
> code snippets have nice red flashing graphics either side saying
> 'warning - please be aware that including any part of this code in
> your code means that all your code has to be GPL'.
>
Even if the snippet is licensed BSD you cannot simply copy and paste a 
code snippet. You have to include the license and copyright notice of 
the original author. So if people simply copy and paste code snippets 
without paying attention to the licensing it will end up being a mess 
anyway, because they are possibly violating licenses. I don't think 
restricting the file exchange to BSD only will make that any different. 
Also, with respect to your argument, if people copied some part of the 
snippet from somewhere else (possibly a GPL project), and post it as a 
snippet under BSD you will end up in the same mess.

I don't want to come across as advertising GPL here, I just don't like 
the concept of restricting the file exchange to one license only. People 
already gave some examples where the license choice might be determined 
not by the author of the snippet (e.g. "linking to (L)GPL C-code, 
including some GPL code...). However these snippets can still be useful 
for a lot of people, although they might not be suitable for inclusion 
into scipy/numpy.

I also disagree with the idea that restricting everything to BSD will 
make licensing simple miraculously. It is not, and people need to be 
educated that looking and following licensing terms is important.

Cheers
Jochen

> See you,
>
> Matthew
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