[Rd] CRAN policies

Murray Stokely mstokely at google.com
Wed Mar 28 01:35:42 CEST 2012

Lots of very sensible policies here.  I have one request as someone
who has in several cases had to involve company lawyers over
intellectual property issues with packages on CRAN -- the first bullet
point on ownership of copyright and intellectual property rights could
be strengthened further.

To the existing text "The ownership of copyright and intellectual
property rights of all components of the package must be clear and
unambiguous (including from the authors specification in the
DESCRIPTION file). Where code is copied (or derived) from the work of
others (including from R itself), care must be taken that any
copyright statements are preserved and authorship is not
Trademarks must be respected."

I would add a few additional points :

1. The text of the license itself should be included in the package in
a LICENSE or COPYING file, as most of these licenses have things that
need to be filled in with names and other data, and just referencing a
license name in the DESCRIPTION file is not really a great way to deal
with licensing metadata when used exclusively (it's a great complement
to a full, filled-out license in the package itself).

2. Per file copyright comment headers can help immensely with ensuring
compliance and the accidental incorporation of files under a different
license.  Comment header blocks with the author name and terms of
distribution could be recommended for all source files.

               - Murray

On Tue, Mar 27, 2012 at 4:52 AM, Prof Brian Ripley
<ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk> wrote:
> CRAN has for some time had a policies page at
> http://cran.r-project.org/web/packages/policies.html
> and we would like to draw this to the attention of package maintainers.  In
> particular, please
> - always send a submission email to CRAN at r-project.org with the package
> name and version on the subject line.  Emails sent to individual members of
> the team will result in delays at best.
> - run R CMD check --as-cran on the tarball before you submit it.  Do
> this with the latest version of R possible: definitely R 2.14.2,
> preferably R 2.15.0 RC or a recent R-devel.  (Later versions of R are
> able to give better diagnostics, e.g. for compiled code and especially
> on Windows. They may also have extra checks for recently uncovered
> problems.)
> Also, please note that CRAN has a very heavy workload (186 packages were
> published last week) and to remain viable needs package maintainers to make
> its life as easy as possible.
> Kurt Hornik
> Uwe Ligges
> Brian Ripley
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