[Numpy-discussion] Meta: too many numerical libraries doing the same thing?

Chris Barker chrishbarker at home.net
Mon Nov 26 10:30:02 CST 2001

Another factor that complicates things is open source philosophy and the
licenses that go with it.

The GSL project looks very promising, and the ultimate goals of that
project appear to be to create a coherent and complete numerical
library. This kind of thing NEEDS to be open source, and the GSL folks
have chosen a license (GPL) that guarantees that it remains that way.
That is a good thing. The license also make it impossible to use the
library in closed source projects, which is a deal killer for a lot of
people, but it is also an important attribute for many folks that don't
think there should be closed source projects at all. I believe that that
will greatly stifle the potential of the project, but it fits with the
philosophy iof it's creators. Personally I think the LGPL would have
guaranteed the future openness of the source, and allowed a much greater
user (and therefor contributer) base.

BTW, IANAL either, but my reading of the GPL and Python's "GPL
compatable" license, is that GSL could be used with Python, but the
result would have to be released under the GPL. That means it could not
be imbedded in a closed source project. As a rule, Python itself and
most of the libraries I have seen for it (Numeric, wxPython, etc.) are
released under licences that allow propriatary use, so we probably don't
want to make Numeric, or SciPy GPL. too bad. 

On another note, it looks like the blitz++ library might be a good basis
for a general Numerical library (and NumPy 3)  as well. It does come
with a flexible license. Any thoughts?


Christopher Barker,
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