[R] running R-code outside of R

Marc Schwartz marc_schwartz at comcast.net
Wed Jun 25 17:55:37 CEST 2008

on 06/25/2008 10:28 AM Michael Conklin wrote:
> Spencer Graves wrote:
>>      If you want to hide the fact that you are using R -- especially
> if >you charge people for your software that uses R clandestinely --
> that's a >violation of the license (GPL).  I doubt if anyone associated
> with R would >bother with a lawsuit, but a competitor who offers related
> software might. >
>>      Best Wishes,
>>      Spencer
> Do I understand the implication of the license correctly (forgive my
> ignorance here).  
> If I analyze a client's data using an R script I created then I can
> charge the client a $20,000 consulting fee, but, if I let the client
> push the button to execute the R script and charge him 10 cents for the
> privilege then I can be sued for violating the GPL?  Or are my
> assumptions on the first part also incorrect and R can only be used for
> the free betterment of mankind?
> Mike

Caveat: IANAL

Strictly speaking, the GPL really only applies if you plan to distribute 
binary software to end users that contains or links to R Foundation 
source code or CRAN packages licensed under the GPL.

In such a situation, the so-called 'viral' part of the GPL would require 
that you make your source code available as well.

If you are not distributing binary software under those circumstances, 
then you need not make your source code available, any more than if you 
were to analyze data using any other application, GPL or otherwise.

Using R as the basis for a web based application (eg. ASP, SaaS) is not 
covered under GPL version *2*, which is how R is presently licensed.

However GPL *3*, strictly speaking the GNU Affero GPL version 3, DOES 
cover such circumstances. If the R Foundation or other R package 
contributors should modify their current licensing approach, this might 
come into play and you need to consider that if you plan to move forward 
with such a business model. You would need to consider where your value 
proposition is. In the intellectual property or in the value add service?

More information is here:






Marc Schwartz

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