[SciPy-dev] implementing IDL, Matlab, etc. functionality

Venkat Raghavan V.C. venkatraghavan at gmail.com
Mon May 2 13:31:11 CDT 2005

> There are legal issues we need to be aware of in coming up
> with solutions.

I was scared that I was missing something. 

> I think there is a technical way out, however.  I have only agreed to
> an IDL license.  Nothing says I can't implement something that works
> like Matlab.  Reverse engineering is legal, at least in the great
> state of New York, unless you sign that right away.  So, it makes some
> sense to set up some trades: I can write a Matlab -> Python converter
> if you'll do it for IDL.  All that's needed is for each side to
> provide examples of code in the proprietary language that they have
> written themselves, along with descriptions of what it does and sample
> inputs and outputs.  That plus commercial books on the languages
> should provide all the information we need.

Sad, if we resort to this! 

> For specific packages, it makes more sense for people to do them from
> scratch or by wrapping existing open-source code.  

There have been three packages in which I have used the controls "module", 
1. scilab, which is open-source, but not free .
(Scilab license forbids you to: use a composite or derived version of
Scilab for commercial uses without asking INRIA authorization.
http://scilabsoft.inria.fr/legal/index_legal.php?page=faq.html )
2. GNU-Octave, which is free ( GPL)
3. Matlab, which is closed source.

I guess I can look to Octave for pointers. But at this  

> So, before anyone (else) goes diving into implementing something from
> IDL, Matlab, etc., please give consideration to these issues.

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