[Rd] Closed-source non-free ParallelR ?

Simon Urbanek simon.urbanek at r-project.org
Sun Apr 26 16:16:16 CEST 2009

On Apr 26, 2009, at 7:24 AM, (Ted Harding) wrote:

> On 24-Apr-09 16:53:04, Stavros Macrakis wrote:
>> On Thu, Apr 23, 2009 at 8:54 PM, Ted Harding
>> <Ted.Harding at manchester.ac.uk> wrote:
>> [...]
>>> ...inspires someone to incorporate the same language extension
>>> into a GPL'd FORTRAN interpreter/compiler. I think I could then
>>> be vulnerable, or they could, on the grounds that I/they had pinched
>>> the idea from the commercial product.
>> Unless you have a confidentiality agreement of some kind, or the idea
>> is covered by a patent, you can pinch any ideas you like from other
>> products.  Copyright law does not cover ideas.
> Well, I'm not so sure about that ...

Ted, the key word here is "copyright" law. That is entirely different  
from patents and IP (that was Stavros' point I think).


> back in 2002/2003, National
> Instrument sued the MathWorks (MatLab proprietors) on the grounds
> that the MathWorks Simulink graphical development tool infringed
> on National Instruments' patented rights in such an idea. NI's
> implementation is embodied in their LabVIEW tool.
> In both cases, the tool consists of 'data flow diagrams' drawn on
> screen under the user's mouse control, using icons, with the ability
> to associate data structures and code with the nodes and the links.
> On my reading of it, it was the *idea* of using such a graphical
> interface itself which National Instruments claimed to have patented,
> namely
>  The technology of the patents in suit concerns the creation
>  of model systems (generally known as "data flow diagrams")
>  through building diagrams on a computer screen by pointing
>  and clicking with a mouse, rather than writing traditional
>  lines of code. ...
> The patent claims (long, and hoghly detailed) can be read at
>  http://www.freepatentsonline.com/4901221.html
>  http://www.freepatentsonline.com/4914568.html
>  http://www.freepatentsonline.com/5301336.html
> The Mathworks lost, and it went to appeal. Mathworks also lost the
> appeal. The Appeal Court's opinion can be read at
>  http://cafc.bna.com/03-1540.pdf
> And the best of luck ... As I said before, I am not a lawyer and
> tend to get bewildered by their use of language; but others may end
> up more sure about this topic!
> Ted.
>>> ...Or maybe the GPL doesn't inhibit you
>>> from using *ideas* and *features* of GPL software, provided you
>>> implement them yourself and in your own way?
>> The GPL does not and cannot restrict reimplementations of ideas and
>> features.
> --------------------------------------------------------------------
> E-Mail: (Ted Harding) <Ted.Harding at manchester.ac.uk>
> Fax-to-email: +44 (0)870 094 0861
> Date: 26-Apr-09                                       Time: 12:24:16
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