[R] mclust

Prof Brian Ripley ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Fri Dec 9 14:14:53 CET 2011

On Fri, 9 Dec 2011, Sarah Goslee wrote:

> While looking at someone's question on this list led me to the mclust
> package, and from there to its license.
> Excerpts:
> Except for strict academic use, use of MCLUST (by itself or through other
> packages) requires payment of an annual license fee and completion of a
> license agreement found at the following URL:
> http://depts.washington.edu/ventures/UW_Technology/Express_Licenses/mclust.php
> 1. the MCLUST software, including any modifications you may have made to it,
>   remains at your Institution and is not published, distributed, or
>   otherwise transferred or made available in whole or in part, modified or
>   unmodified, to other than Institution employees and/or students under your
>   direct supervision;
> Someone installing mclust using install.packages() might never see
> this information,
> and in fact mclust is in the Multivariate task view so it's installed
> on my computers.
> I don't believe I've ever used it, which is a good thing since I'm not
> a strict academic!
> Is there any way to flag packages like this, with restrictive or 
> unusual licenses. I tend to assume that anything on CRAN is GPL and 
> not worry about it, but obviously that's untrue.

This is why we have filters="license/FOSS" in available.packages(), 
and files etc/licensed.site and .R/licensed (see ?library).  You can 
easily set your R up to never install not-claimed-to-be-FOSS packages.

(The history of mclust is rather unfortunate: the license was changed 
long after it was accepted by CRAN, and by then it had several 
packages depending on it.)

It does seem appropriate that the task views highlight the restrictive 
license, so I've Cc:ed the maintainers.

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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