[Rd] License status of CRAN packages

Ben Goodrich goodrich at fas.harvard.edu
Fri Apr 24 23:26:46 CEST 2009

I don't have a strong opinion about partitioning the repository, but I
don't think partitioning based on whether the license is commonly used
for R packages is terribly helpful. AGPL and AGPL + GPL3 are not common
licensing schemes for R packages currently, but from the perspective of
a useR, there is no relevant distinction between these two rare cases
and the more common case of GPL3. So why should packages be put in
separate repositories based on this non-distinction? A partition based
on whether the package is free according to the FSF definition seems
more plausible to me.


Christophe Dutang wrote:
> Hi all,
> I think for the common licences, we should also add BSD licence... for
> example my pkg randtoolbox (which is currently with incompatible
> licences) will probably be in a near future with the BSD licence.
> Anyway I like the idea of two different repositories for GPL like
> licensed pkg and other packages.
> Christophe
> Le 24 avr. 09 à 18:20, Gabor Grothendieck a écrit :
>> On Fri, Apr 24, 2009 at 11:44 AM, Ben Goodrich
>> <goodrich at fas.harvard.edu> wrote:
>>> Kurt Hornik wrote:
>>>> AGPL, unfortunately, allows supplements, and hence cannot fully be
>>>> standardized.  We've been thinking about extending the current
>>>> scheme to
>>>> indicate a base license plus supplements, but this is still work in
>>>> progress.
>>> This would be helpful. I would just reemphasize that a package that
>>> includes some AGPL code and some GPL3 code is standard as far as the FSF
>>> is concerned, e.g. from section 13 of the AGPL:
>>> "Notwithstanding any other provision of this License, you have
>>> permission to link or combine any covered work with a work licensed
>>> under version 3 of the GNU General Public License into a single combined
>>> work, and to convey the resulting work. The terms of this License will
>>> continue to apply to the part which is the covered work, but the work
>>> with which it is combined will remain governed by version 3 of the GNU
>>> General Public License."
>>> So, I think that CRAN should at least have a canonical spec that covers
>>> *this* situation. Other situations may be more complicated to handle
>>> elegantly.
>> Another possibility is to simply standardize the set of licenses that
>> supports.  GPL licenses (GPl-2, GPL-2.1, GPL-3, LGPL), MIT and
>> X11 already cover 98% of all packages on CRAN.   If there truly is an
>> advantage to the AGPL license perhaps a standard version could be offered
>> in the set.  Perhaps, for the 2% of packages that want a different
>> license
>> a second repository could be made available.
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> -- 
> Christophe Dutang
> Ph. D. student at ISFA, Lyon, France
> website: http://dutangc.free.fr

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