[Rd] Source code of early S versions
jari.oksanen at oulu.fi
Mon Feb 29 20:32:10 CET 2016
> On 29 Feb 2016, at 20:54 pm, Barry Rowlingson <b.rowlingson at lancaster.ac.uk> wrote:
> On Mon, Feb 29, 2016 at 6:17 PM, John Chambers <jmc at r-project.org> wrote:
>> The Wikipedia statement may be a bit misleading.
>> S was never open source. Source versions would only have been available with a nondisclosure agreement, and relatively few copies would have been distributed in source. There was a small but valuable "beta test" network, mainly university statistics departments.
> So it was free (or at least distribution cost only), but with a
> nondisclosure agreement? Did binaries circulate freely, legally or
> otherwise? Okay, guess I'll read the book.
I don’t think I have seen S source, but some other Bell software has license of this type:
C THIS INFORMATION IS PROPRIETARY AND IS THE
C PROPERTY OF BELL TELEPHONE LABORATORIES,
C INCORPORATED. ITS REPRODUCTION OR DISCLOSURE
C TO OTHERS, EITHER ORALLY OR IN WRITING, IS
C PROHIBITED WITHOUT WRITTEN PRERMISSION OF
C BELL LABORATORIES.
C IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT THESE MATERIALS WILL BE USED FOR
C EDUCATIONAL AND INSTRUCTIONAL PURPOSES ONLY.
(Obviously in FORTRAN)
So the code was “open” in the sense that you could see the code, and it had to be “open", because source code was the only way to distribute software before the era of widespread platforms allowing binary distributions (such as VAX/VMS or Intel/MS-DOS). However, the license in effect says that although you can see the code, you are not even allowed to tell anybody that you have seen it. I don’t know how this is interpreted currently, but you may ask the current owner, Nokia.
Cheers, Jari Oksanen
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