[SciPy-dev] [Fwd: Re: license status of your code on netlib]

josef.pktd@gmai... josef.pktd@gmai...
Fri Sep 11 15:19:33 CDT 2009

On Fri, Sep 11, 2009 at 3:46 PM, Nathaniel Smith <njs@pobox.com> wrote:
> On Fri, Sep 11, 2009 at 7:02 AM, Pauli Virtanen <pav+sp@iki.fi> wrote:
>> In a sense, also the drawbacks of the advertisement clause start to apply
>> -- suppose many basic numerical codes had citation clauses. Most of the
>> papers in all fields would have a citation to LAPACK. In a sense a good
>> thing, in a sense a bit silly. Maybe a less of an annoyance than the
>> advertisement clause, though, as you'd need to do this only once per
>> paper.
> It can also backfire hard -- if something as basic as LAPACK were GPL
> incompatible (which a citation clause would make it), then we'd
> probably all be using a rewrite under a more permissive license by
> now, and LAPACK wouldn't get cited at all. (There's also the fun that
> happens when every component of LAPACK has its own citation clause --
> hope you weren't planning to publish in a journal with a # of
> citations limit, like, oh, Science or Nature!)
> My personal rule is that I don't touch code with GPL-incompatible
> licenses. Life is too short, and too many of my basic tools are
> GPL'ed. Your code is never more special and useful than all of the
> GPL'ed code in the world put together. I mean, really.
> No-one puts citation-requiring EULAs on their papers and yet life goes
> on; I'd rather see software follow paper norms than papers start
> following software norms.
> -- Nathaniel

Many new statistical/econometrics procedures I have seen, have an
"academic/research use only" restriction, and there citation is part of
the professional ethics anyway (and can produce a large number of citation
for the author). But this is on a much "higher" level than LAPACK.

e.g. I looked for the license of this a few days ago
GAUSS GMM PACKAGE  Version 2.2 	 5/05/94
"This program package is free to all researchers, but please acknowledge
the National Science Foundation."

And these licenses are not so nice for the user if (s)he is not "academic".


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