[SciPy-dev] talkbox scikit

David Cournapeau cournape@gmail....
Tue Mar 3 17:34:14 CST 2009

On Wed, Mar 4, 2009 at 8:16 AM, David Warde-Farley <dwf@cs.toronto.edu> wrote:
> On 3-Mar-09, at 1:13 PM, David Cournapeau wrote:
>> Georg Holzmann wrote:
>>> (however, the implementation is of course somehow similar ...)
>>> But I don't think that this should be a problem ...
>> I think it does. IANAL, but at least morally, I would be pretty pissed
>> to release a GPL code and seeing a BSD code with same interface and
>> "similar" implementation afterwards.
> I guess it depends on how he means "interface", i.e. most of
> scipy.spatial.distance designed to have an almost identical interface
> to the matlab functions with the same name, although under the hood
> everything is completely different.

having the same interface is almost always OK - but if you looked at
the implementation, you are almost guaranteed to be "tainted".
According to Georg, both API and the implementation is somewhat
similar. And now there is public proof that he did look at the GPL
implementation for "inspiration". I would not bet this cannot be
considered as derivative work.

Thinking another way: say the original code is matlab code from
mathworks, and we have an implementation which looks like their (same
variables, same structure, public record we took a look at matlab
implementation). Would you feel confident if mathworks brings you to
court ? I wouldn't.

In this case, since the original code is GPL, I would think there is
little legal risk. Really, asking the original author is just easier


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