[Bioc-devel] License question

pingou pingoufc4 at yahoo.fr
Wed Jan 9 09:53:02 CET 2008

Dear all,

Packaging the Bioconductor libraries for Fedora, we are facing a
problem, that I think could be easily solved.
Many packages are not clear about their license, most of them are
declared to be under the LGPL license,
but some of them do not precise clearly which version of this license.

Would it be possible to add a copy of the license used in every package?
Adding this file to R packages is now straightforward, indeed the
announce of the release of R 2.6.0 [1] says :

	A standard for specifying package license information in the
         DESCRIPTION License field was introduced, see 'Writing R
         Extensions'.  In addition, files LICENSE or LICENCE in a package
         top-level source directory are now installed (so putting copies
         into the 'inst' subdirectory is no longer necessary).

Could you possibly add to on the Bioconductor guidelines/requirements
that a copy of the license be added to each package, and which version
of the LGPL is being used?  Usually this will be LGPL v2.1 "or any later
version" (saying "or any later version" is very important for
compatibility with newer GNU licenses like LGPL v3 or GPL v3).

In addition the GNU licenses recommend that the version of the license
be added near the top of each source file (e.g. in a comment block):

     This file is part of Biconductor package Foobar.

     Foobar is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify
     it under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public License as
published by
     the Free Software Foundation, either version 2.1 of the License, or
     (at your option) any later version.

     Foobar is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
     but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
     GNU General Public License for more details.

     You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License
     along with Foobar.  If not, see <http://www.gnu.org/licenses/>.

The GNU project page[2] and Fedora's licensing page[3] have more

Adding these license clarifications will greatly increase the speed by
which Bioconductor packages can be reviewed and included in Fedora, as
we won't have to go manually verifying the license for each package with
the individual maintainer, but can simply check the source code.

Thanks in advance for this clarification,

Best regards,

[1] https://stat.ethz.ch/pipermail/r-announce/2007/000832.html
[2] http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-howto.html
[3] http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Licensing

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