[AstroPy] astropy in Debian, Scientific Linux?

Olе Streicher astropy@liska.ath...
Mon Apr 8 03:19:31 CDT 2013

Tim Jenness <tim.jenness@gmail.com> writes:
> The irony is that the SOFA library was written precisely because the IAU felt
> that there should be a solid astrometry library available to the community. I
> can't speak for them but I get the impression that they feel they are trying
> hard for this to be usable by everyone and don't understand why everyone who
> wants to use it is upset about the license. From what I recall the sticking
> points are entirely around forking and damaging the IAU reputation by local
> patching although I think that much of what they want can be done by copyright
> enforcement rather than licensing.

The funny point here is that the license effectively may lead to a
situation which disreputes the IAU: someone can just start a compatible
version of SOFA, starting f.e. from the (GPL version of) SLALIB, and
using the iau_ prefix. Since all functions APIs would then look like
SOFA, a bug could be misinterpreted as one in IAU code.

> Concrete examples of how people are actively deciding not to use the code
> because of the license might help.

I could probably (re-)start some discussion in Debian-legal about the
current license; however this is a bit of Harakiri. Especially since
Wheezy is soming soon, there is a danger that SOFA , AST, and DS9 will
be excluded from this next stable release.

BTW, since the SOFA license is incompatible to the GPL (which is the
license of AST and PAL, which both depend from SOFA, and include its
source code), the Starlink group should also be interested in a license
change of SOFA. Currently, a binary distribution of AST and PAL is
illegal since one cannot provide all its source code under GPL.

The same belongs to DS9; formally their binary distribution is illegal
for the same reason. They however seem not to care.

Best regards


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