[SciPy-user] Re-releasing Python Equations under a new license?

Alan G Isaac aisaac at american.edu
Mon Jan 22 07:55:34 CST 2007

> Fernando Perez ha scritto: 
>>  Two of the matplotlib backends (FLTK and WX) were 
>>  contributed by private sector companies who are using 
>>  matplotlib either internally or in a commercial product 
>>  -- I doubt these companies would have been using 
>>  matplotlib if the code were GPL. In my experience, the 
>>  benefits of collaborating with the private sector are 
>>  real, whereas the fear that some private company will 
>>  "steal" your product and sell it in a proprietary 
>>  application leaving you with nothing is not. 

On Mon, 22 Jan 2007, massimo sandal apparently responded: 
> Probably you are right, but remember that with a BSD-ish 
> licence, the fact they contributed back these backends was 
> just courtesy -not their obligation. So, perhaps there is 
> much good code based on scipy/mpl that won't ever be given 
> back to the community (and that maybe would have been 
> given back). 

It is difficult/impossible to adequately discuss this issues 
in a mailing list format.  This is an example.  What does 
"*just* courtesy" mean?  I would be more inclined to 
speculate that they also found it in their *interest*. 
Also you speculate that there is unshared code, but of 
course Fernando's can then speculate that with a GPL license 
neither the shared nor the possible unshared code would 
exist.  (I think this is often right.)  In short, the effect 
on available free (as in speech) code of the licensing issue 
is tricky to sort out, and we have to turn to our 
experiences to make decisions.  Fernando's experience has 
been reported by others, and it is a powerful anecdote. 

> Moreover, companies do not fear GPL that much anymore. 
> I personally think LGPL is better than GPL in this regard, 
> because having to make a program GPL just because it links 
> a library seems frankly too much sometimes. 

I would say "often" rather than "sometimes". 

Personally I think the GPL is brilliant and occasionally is 
important.  But *usually* it is not necessary and too often 
it is counterproductive.  Most troubling, and especially 
troubling in academe, it can really get in the way of 
sharing with less encumbered code (as we see repeatedly in 
discussions on this list).

Anyway, my original point was that this a collection of GPL 
pros and cons is probably better generated in another forum. 
So I have wandered... 

Alan Isaac

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