[SciPy-user] licence: GNU or not GNU for new image analysis platform

Sebastian Haase haase at msg.ucsf.edu
Fri Sep 16 16:27:09 CDT 2005

Thanks a lot for the reply:
My ONLY reasoning was that it might be easier to get permission from our 
"patent"-people to use LGPL than BSD (but after all: UCSF is part of UC; just 
like Berkeley - where BSD is from !?)

No need to worry about license war - but I'm  just wondering how other people 
deal with their employers/universities  if they want to give away (some) 
results of their work: at least here, everybody seems very concerned about 
someone ELSE getting very rich !! ;-)

Thanks again,

On Friday 16 September 2005 14:11, Fernando Perez wrote:
> Sebastian Haase wrote:
> > Now: before I can give this to anyone my university requires me to attach
> > a license to this. I think I like the "copyleft" idea of GPL or maybe
> > better LGPL.
> > My understanding is that this would allow a company to sell it, but they
> > would have "make their changes publicly available" (under LGPL again)
> >
> > I think Fernando's IPython is LGPL  - and I think my "platform" is quite
> > a similar spirit...
> Nope, BSD as well.  It used to be LGPL, but I changed to BSD a year ago. 
> My reasoning was multiple-fold (I'm speaking for myself here, NOT for
> Prabhu):
> - Python itself is BSD-like.  I'd rather have a license that's as
> python-compatible as possible.
> - It lowers the 'barrier to adoption', since some people/institutions have
> blanket no-GPL policies.
> - scipy is BSD, and I like scipy :)  More seriously, ipython is so heavily
> used by scipy users, that I wanted to harmonize with it as much as
> possible.
> - matplotlib is BSD, and I also want very tight integration with
> matplotlib. Compatible licenses make this much easier.
> - Even if this opens the possibility of someone 'stealing' ipython, I don't
> care.  I suspect that in the long run, it's more beneficial for people who
> may use it to contribute back their changes.
> There is a substantial cost in maintaining a branched copy of a project
> without contributing, because the burden of integrating the project's
> mainline development falls on you.  Unless you are trying to flat out fork
> a project, in most cases it's easier to just send your changes back to the
> mainline.
> - John Hunter's experience with matplotlib supports that last point: he's
> had private companies contribute back mpl enhancements, simply because it's
> not worth their time to keep them separate and have to manually track
> matplotlib in a private branch.
> You can see the original messages on this in the ipython lists:
> http://www.scipy.net/pipermail/ipython-dev/2004-October/000270.html
> http://www.scipy.net/pipermail/ipython-user/2004-October/000494.html
> I sent these to everyone who had ever contributed to ipython, and got no
> negative replies, so I didn't have to rewrite any code myself (though I was
> prepared to if I had to).
> I think there is a place for the GPL, and I'm not fundamentally anti-GPL. 
> But in my case, I felt the benefits of a BSD approach were significant, and
> I went with it.
> Ultimately the decsion is yours, though keep in mind that given that scipy,
> mayavi, matplotlib, ipython (and the new wx-based graphical ipython) are
> all BSD, the room for integration with other tools for your project will
> grow with BSD.  A *GPL license will to some extent 'wall off' your project
> from these others.  The decision of what to do is fully yours.
> Cheers,
> f
> ps - Just to be clear: I am NOT engaging into a license discussion/war.  I
> won't reply to any message in that direction.  I was simply clarifying for
> Sebastian's benefit the reasoning behind ipython's licensing, since he was
> under the impression (historically correct, but currently not anymore) that
> ipython was LGPL.  If you feel very strongly about this topic, there are
> many places on the net where you can discuss it.
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