[Rd] License status of CRAN packages

Dirk Eddelbuettel edd at debian.org
Thu Apr 23 22:02:31 CEST 2009

On 23 April 2009 at 15:32, Gabor Grothendieck wrote:
| On Thu, Apr 23, 2009 at 3:08 PM, Dirk Eddelbuettel <edd at debian.org> wrote:
| >
| > (Subject: renamed as thread hijacked from the ParallelR thread   --Dirk)
| >
| > On 23 April 2009 at 14:44, Gabor Grothendieck wrote:
| > | Aside from R there are the add-on packages.
| > |
| > | A frequency table showing the licenses of the CRAN packages indicates
| > | that the all or almost all packages have some sort of free software license
| > | with GPL licenses being most common. (A few packages have restrictions
| > | to noncommercial use and that may conflict with GPL, not sure.)   That is
| > | not to say that there are no other types of packages but any such packages
| > | are not on CRAN.
| >
| > I fear that is not quite the case.  There are quite a few packages like that.
| Not the case?  My post included a list of all License fields from the
| DESCRIPTION file of every CRAN package so the list is definitive.

Correct me if I am wrong in the paragraph you kindly left standing above, you
seem to suggest that

	"all or almost all packages have some sort of free software license" 

and that while non-free licenses may exist, 

	"any such packages are not on CRAN".

I believe this statement to be false.

There are packages with restrictive licenese on CRAN.  They were contained in
the list of licenses you assembled, and my point is that it is overly hard to
identify them (if one were to tty to avoid using these packages).

As a non-exhautive list with possible misclassifications, cran2deb currently
has these packasges as 'maybe not free' and does not build them:


We are missing some recently added packages, and we may yet flag several from
the list above as free. Some may be listed because of non-free Depends:

But to take a concrete example, 'realized' is not something I am supposed to
install at work.  Yet install.packages() currently has not way knowing that.

Are we approximately on the same page ?


Three out of two people have difficulties with fractions.

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