[AstroPy] SOFA license letter (draft)

Thomas Robitaille thomas.robitaille@gmail....
Thu Apr 18 15:26:39 CDT 2013

On 18 April 2013 22:07, Paul Kuin <npkuin@gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi Tom,
> That is sort of what was discussed.
> I must admit that in my mind it is completely unclear why it was declared
> non-free.  It does allow others its use, and the conditions are mostly in
> the area of intellectual property, specifically that the software as
> distributed is that of the IAU, and misrepresentation of the software or
> alteration must be clearly delineated from that of the IAU. I do not think
> that comes under the guise of "non-free".  "Free" does not mean "I take it
> and tag my name onto it", it does not mean " I alter it and say it was made
> by you ", I think that the problem is rather in the software distributors

Not that we should start a long debate on the license since this has
been debated before, but consider for example the following clause:

"You shall not cause the SOFA software to be brought into disrepute,
either by misuse, or use for inappropriate tasks, or by inappropriate

Define 'disrepute' and 'inappropriate' - basically if the SOFA board
decide at any point that they don't like what Astropy is doing with
SOFA, or that someone uses Astropy for 'inappropriate uses', they
could claim that we are bringing SOFA into disrepute or using it
'inappropriately', since those are not well defined terms, and declare
that we are not allowed to use it. This is what is meant by non-free -
they can revoke our license to use it anytime. Those terms are
completely subjective.


> assignment which is to blame. Focussing only on the SOFA WG is not going to
> solve this. I think there needs to be a discussion of all parties involved.
> It would be good if the aim of the petition would be to get the parties
> talking.
> Cheers,
>    Paul
> On Thu, Apr 18, 2013 at 8:32 PM, Tom Aldcroft
> <aldcroft@head.cfa.harvard.edu> wrote:
>> Following the long and useful discussion in the "astropy in Debian,
>> Scientific Linux" thread, I have taken a crack at drafting a letter that can
>> be used as the basis for discussion with SOFA board members or other
>> colleagues with influence.  It is also written somewhat in the form of a
>> petition.
>> This is just a draft, but I wanted to get the ball rolling.  It would be
>> very helpful if other affected parties (package managers, people with SOFA
>> dependencies) can pitch in with more details.  In particular there are two
>> open sections that I would hope Sergio and Ole can work on.
>> https://github.com/astropy/astropy/wiki/SOFA-license-for-the-community
>> I think anyone with a github account can edit, but let me know otherwise.
>> Cheers,
>> Tom
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