[Rd] Licensing Issue with JRI

Simon Urbanek simon.urbanek at r-project.org
Thu Aug 25 20:36:18 CEST 2011

On Aug 25, 2011, at 5:40 PM, Lokkju Brennr wrote:

> Simon,
> I wasn't trying to claim that JRI *couldn't* be licensed under LGPL
> (though if it sounded that way, I understand - I was a bit unclear),
> but rather that it made no sense, as there is no way to use JRI under
> the LGPL, since it must always be linked with R to be of any use - and
> that linking would cause the entire work to be under GPL.
> rJava is a different beast entirely from JRI, though JRI is now
> included with it - rJava allows R to call Java code, where as JRI
> allows Java to call R.  They are separate code bases, and just happen
> to be package together in the rJava release.
> It looks like the solution to my conundrum (calling R from a non-GPL
> compatible application) can be solved by using Rserve and the socket
> API - but I still think the license on JRI is unclear, since it
> advertises itself as LGPL,

Which it is period. As you said yourself, there is no problem with that. 

> even though there is no way to make use of it as such.

Since R is only one of several implementations of the same API you still have the choice to use it and it's just a matter of the license of the implementation of that API that you use. 


> On Thu, Aug 25, 2011 at 8:24 AM, Simon Urbanek
> <simon.urbanek at r-project.org> wrote:
>> On Aug 19, 2011, at 10:26 PM, Lokkju Brennr wrote:
>>> Hoping someone can clear up a licencing question...
>>> My understanding is that R is licensed under the GPL, with some
>>> headers licensed under the LGPL (per COPYRIGHTS, so that R plugins
>>> don't have to be GPL - arguably incorrect, but besides the point).
>>> JRI states that it is licensed under the LGPL - but it links against R
>>> shared libraries (or so is my understanding - please correct me if I'm
>>> wrong).
>>> This seems incompatible, as per
>>> (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#GPLModuleLicense) if there
>>> is any GPL code in a compiled assembly, the resulting binary must be
>>> GPL, and per (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#IfLibraryIsGPL)
>>> if a library is GPL, then anything that links against it must be GPL.
>> IANAL, so please consult a lawyer, this doesn't constitute a legal advice, but there is nothing saying that JRI cannot be LGPL since it is not derived from GPL code. It uses a defined API (that is even released as LGPL but that's probably beside the point as you said). Obviously, if you use it with R then the whole will be covered by GPL and LGPL is GPL-compatible [http://www.gnu.org/licenses/license-list.html#GPLCompatibleLicenses ]. FWIW note that rJava - which is the distribution of JRI - is licensed as GPL.
>> Cheers,
>> Simon

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