[Rd] Copyright issues question

Philippe Grosjean phgrosjean at sciviews.org
Wed Jun 16 17:41:00 CEST 2004

> Thomas Lumley answered:
> >It might also be worth pointing out that the R Core Team's agreement is
> >neither necessary nor sufficient.  The GPL permits whatever it permits,
> >and R as it stands is covered by the GPL, rather than by what the
> >developers would like on a case-by-case basis.
> >	-thomas
> OK, that is probably true. However, in GPL 2, you have:
> 10. If you wish to incorporate parts of the Program into other free
> programs whose distribution conditions are different, write to the author
> to ask for permission.

>There are two points here.  The first is that, as Duncan has pointed out,
>the R distribution contains GPL code written by people other than us.  It
>might well be possible to extract a working subset that we could release
>under another license, but it would take quite a bit of effort.

>The second point is that one of your concerns is about areas where the GPL
>is not clear.  If it isn't clear to you then asking us won't help. We are
>not experts in what the GPL means, nor do we have the authority to change
>what it means.  It would still be polite to ask about uses of R that the
>developers might personally object to, but there is no legal benefit in
>doing so.

>On the other hand, as the early history of KDE shows, it is possible for
>free software to be produced and become popular even when there are honest
>differences of opinion about the legalities.

>	-thomas


Sorry if I did not expressed correctly what I meant, but my query was to
make sure all programs presented in the R GUI Projects web site have valid
licensing terms. As it seems to be some difficults points with plugins and
GUI, I ask the question to the R core Team and other developers on this
list, just in case someone got a clearer answer than the one I can get

Let's me reformulate the questions in a simpler way:

1) Is it OK to develop GPL plugins for commercial software, and to bring
functionnalities of these GPL software into those commercial programs,
namely, plugins based on R for Excel, like RExcel and RxlCommander?

2) Is it OK to make a GUI on top of R, and to distribute it under a
different license than GPL, like Statistical Lab, Brodgar, or JGR?

3) In case there is no clear answer to these questions (which seems to be
the case), is it OK to support such plugins or GUIs that possibly violate
the GPL license, for instance, by distributing them, or by placing links to
them in the R GUI Projects web site?


Philippe Grosjean

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