[SciPy-User] Central File Exchange for SciPy

Robert Kern robert.kern@gmail....
Mon Nov 1 18:47:40 CDT 2010

On Mon, Nov 1, 2010 at 18:20, Matthew Brett <matthew.brett@gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi,
>> Even if the snippet is licensed BSD you cannot simply copy and paste a
>> code snippet. You have to include the license and copyright notice of
>> the original author. So if people simply copy and paste code snippets
>> without paying attention to the licensing it will end up being a mess
>> anyway, because they are possibly violating licenses.
> My point is, that the more accessible the interface, the more likely
> it is that people will indeed copy and paste without taking note of
> the license.  You can easily imagine the situation, you're working on
> some problem, you come across the code, it's short, you paste it as a
> function into your code to get something going.  A while later, you
> find you've done some adaptations, you've written some supporting
> functions, and, using the flexible and intuitive new interface, you
> upload your snippet for other people to use.  By that time, you've
> forgotten that the original was GPL.    Someone else sees your
> function, perhaps notes that it is now (incorrectly) BSD, picks it up,
> puts it into a larger code-base, and so on and so on.
> Now, if the original code is BSD (and so is all the other code), you
> are breaking the terms of the original license by not including the
> original copyright notice, but you can easily fix that by - including
> the copyright notices.  If the original code is GPL, you'll have a
> hell of a time trying to work out what code that you and other people
> wrote was in fact based on the original code, and you'd likely give up
> and change your license to GPL.

I think that restricting the license options on the site would only
give you a false sense of security. The number of screwups is likely
to be small in any case. And I would suggest that many of those
screwups would come from moving over GPLed code from other sources
rather than from other files on the site. I suspect people are more
interested in adding new stuff to the site rather than tweaking other
bits already there. I also think that when it does happen, the
consequences are not nearly as bad as you are making them out to be.
It's just not that hard to disentangle code of the size we are talking

Robert Kern

"I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless
enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as
though it had an underlying truth."
  -- Umberto Eco

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