[Rd] Using a function from splines.c in our package

Prof Brian Ripley ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Mon Jul 9 11:45:14 CEST 2012

On Mon, 9 Jul 2012, Gordon K Smyth wrote:

> Dear all,
> I'm writing to ask for advice as to best practice.  A PhD student working 
> with me is writing C++ code that we hope to make public as src code in our 
> Bioconductor package edgeR.  He wants to call the function fmm_spline, which 
> is part of the source code for the stats package
> http://svn.r-project.org/R/trunk/src/library/stats/src/splines.c,
> from his C++ code.  This function isn't one of the entry points for C code 
> documented in Chapter 6 of the "Writing R extensions" manual.

None of those are in a package.

> We haven't figured out a way to call the fmm_spline function directly from 
> our C++ code.  Is there a way that we have missed?

Not a very portable way, but there are some ideas in 'Writing R 
Extensions'.  I don't think they are enough for a CRAN or BioC 
package, though.

> Can we simply copy the fmm_spline function into our C++ code and declare 
> where we got it from?  Should we include the license declaration from the 
> header of splines.c?  Anything else we need to do satisfying copyright and be 
> good citizens?

If your package has a compatible licence, you can (and you must 
include the whole header when you copy).   CRAN's policies say that 
when you copy code from elsewhere you must include that code's authors 
in the Authors field of your package, and that clearly is good 

> Thanks a lot
> Gordon
> ---------------------------------------------
> Professor Gordon K Smyth,
> Bioinformatics Division,
> Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research,
> 1G Royal Parade, Parkville, Vic 3052, Australia.
> Tel: (03) 9345 2326, Fax (03) 9347 0852,
> http://www.statsci.org/smyth

Brian D. Ripley,                  ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Professor of Applied Statistics,  http://www.stats.ox.ac.uk/~ripley/
University of Oxford,             Tel:  +44 1865 272861 (self)
1 South Parks Road,                     +44 1865 272866 (PA)
Oxford OX1 3TG, UK                Fax:  +44 1865 272595

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