[Rd] Non-free packages in CRAN

Jordi Gutiérrez Hermoso jordigh at octave.org
Fri Nov 18 18:34:25 CET 2011

2011/11/18 Simon Urbanek <simon.urbanek at r-project.org>:
> I think you are misunderstanding a few things here. First, "R"
> doesn't endorse anything - it is a program,

It is also an organisation and that organisation has a website.
Someone is responsible for the contents of that website and the views
espoused in it. Saying that "R" was just a shorthand for the
organisation built around R

Software isn't amoral. Software is deeply related to what we people
can and should be able to do. People are responsible for what their
software does.

> it does what you tell it to do. Second, whoever runs R-forge doesn't
> endorse the packages hosted on it, either. It's just an
> infrastructure, with no claim about endorsement of the package
> hosted there

The R organisation is referring to that website, it's hosted at the
same top-level domain, it looks like the R organisation is endorsing R
Forge, and R-Forge is endorsing non-free software.

> Third, LGPL is a GNU license and also a open source license

I'm a little sad by members of GNU using the term "open source". More
importantly than open source, it's a free license.

And this is besides the point. The wrapper is LGPL, but it's a wrapper
for a non-free library.

> If anyone shared your interpretation, there would be no GNU/Linux
> since glibc is LGPL licensed and so are parts of gcc (and hence
> according to your argument neither can be a GNU project). Note that
> a lot of GNU libraries are licensed under LGPL.

This is a strawman. I'm not saying the LGPL is non-free. I'm saying
the combination of that wrapper with MOSEK is non-free.

> The fact that you personally may not like licenses other than GPL

This is another strawman. I didn't say I disliked licenses other than
the GPL. I said R shouldn't endorse a project that endorses non-free

> As for giving access to proprietary software - I think the argument
> is the exact opposite of what you are saying. By having the ability
> to leverage functionality (be it proprietary) that doesn't exist in
> R/Octave/.., you are making the free software stronger.

I don't see how MOSEK is making free software stronger. It's not
encouraging the usage of more free software. It's encouraging the use
of MOSEK. MOSEK should not be endorsed by an organisation that is
supposed to promote free software.

If these really are your views and they're representative of the R
project, then the solution seems to be to make R stop calling itself
part of the GNU project. I hope it doesn't do this.

- Jordi G. H.

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