[R] licensing of R packages

Barry Rowlingson b.rowlingson at lancaster.ac.uk
Fri Nov 14 12:07:11 CET 2008

2008/11/14 Duncan Murdoch <murdoch at stats.uwo.ca>:

>> Another question is if that "strict" interpretation of the GPL could
>> be actually enforced, of course. Coming back to the GSL example, it
>> seems a more flagrant violation of the license is already happening:
>> http://www.numerit.com/gsl.htm (apparently the publisher of that
>> product thinks that linking to a GPL dll doesn't impose any obligation
>> to him, but the usual view of the FSF is quite the opposite; I just
>> found that page by chance, I don't know anything else about that
>> particular case).

 A "strict" interpretation of the GPL does not stop numerit from doing
what they do. They do not distribute the GSL in any form. They tell
you to go get the GSL dll from somewhere.

 This misconception of the license terms comes about because of the
use of the word 'use'. If I distribute a short C program that has a
call in it to a function that has the same name as something in the
GSL, does my C program use the GSL? No. Maybe it _mentions_ the GSL,
but the GPL has no problems with that. I'm distributing my C program,
and not the GPL-covered code, so I can license it how I like.

 I can't find any rage from the FSF about what Numerit are doing, so I
assume they're not considering it a violation.


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