[Rd] R-base licensing question
lr at proxc.net
Sun Sep 17 04:42:39 CEST 2006
It is my understanding that R is licensed under the GPL with the
exception of a few header files for the purposes of linking binary code
with R under non-GPL licenses.
However, the R-base package itself is licensed under the GPL, as are
many (but not all) packages in CRAN. Furthermore, basically any R
script will use functionality from R-base. As I understand it, the
situation isn't clear as to the licensing restrictions on R scripts
which use R-base (or any other GPL package). The FSF's FAQ on the
issue says the following (of course, this is just their
"[...]Another similar and very common case is to provide libraries with
the interpreter which are themselves interpreted. For instance, Perl
comes with many Perl modules, and a Java implementation comes with many
Java classes. These libraries and the programs that call them are
always dynamically linked together. A consequence is that if you choose
to use GPL'd Perl modules or Java classes in your program, you must
release the program in a GPL-compatible way, regardless of the license
used in the Perl or Java interpreter that the combined Perl or Java
program will run on."
Clearly, having R scripts (and basically all R add-on packages) be
required to have GPL-compatible licenses is not the intent (especially
considering the LGPLed header files mentioned above). R's position is
somewhat unique in having much of the base functionality interpreted.
In practice, this legal interpretation (IANAL, etc) would require
essentially all R packages and other R scripts to be licensed in a
GPL-compatible way. Is a legal exception in order here?
My apologies if this question is more appropriate for r-users or has
been answered elsewhere.
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