[R-pkg-devel] Licensing of an R package

Barry Rowlingson b.rowlingson at lancaster.ac.uk
Fri Jan 19 10:30:28 CET 2018


 you've not said what *you* would like the license for your software to do.
You could release the software under a "public domain", "no rights
reserved" style license, and then if people want to link it with
proprietary materials then nothing can stop them. But it wouldn't stop
people commercialising (what was) your code, modifying it, re-releasing it
as binary and without source, and so on.

 Once you've decided which things you want to permit or restrict under your
license then you can see if there's a pre-existing one that matches your
requirements, or whether you have to write one yourself! Good luck with
that option!

 https://opensource.org/license/MIT is one of the more permissive open
source licenses - check the others on there for more info.


On Fri, Jan 19, 2018 at 8:31 AM, Chris Brien <Chris.Brien at unisa.edu.au>

> Dear list members,
> I have come to realize that my understanding of free software licensing
> was somewhat naïve. The problem is that I now find that, in spite of
> spending quite a bit of time reading about various licenses on the web, I
> have been unable to identify a suitable license for the situation that I
> have with one of my packages.
> I am solely responsible for the development of my package, `foo' say.
> However, most functions in `foo' call functions from a proprietary package,
> `bar' say , the latter not being available from an online software
> repository and consisting of R functions that call routines in a library.
> That is, `foo' enhances `bar'.
> I had thought that a GPL licence was appropriate because (1) `foo' is free
> software and (ii) I do not distribute `bar' with `foo'. That is, I am
> distributing only free software.  However, I have come to understand that
> this is not the case because a free software package linked with a
> proprietary package does not satisfy the requirements to be GPL.
> I have found it difficult to work out a license that might cover my
> package because much of the discussion online covers cases that are the
> opposite of mine i.e. cases where `foo' is proprietary and `bar' is
> freeware. I can appreciate why this needs to be avoided.
> I can also understand that a disadvantage of what I am doing is that it
> tends to entrench the use of such software. While I agree that it is
> desirable that `bar' be replaced with free software, unfortunately `bar'
> has functionality that is currently infeasible to replace with free
> software. At least I am not profiting from the enhancements that I have
> made.
> I am hoping that someone more experienced in software development and
> licensing issues can suggest a license type that might be suitable for
> `foo' such that at least the enhancements that it incorporates remain
> `free'?
> Cheers,
>   Chris Brien
> Adjunct Senior Lecturer in Statistics
> -----
> Phenomics and Bioinformatics Research Centre
> University of South Australia
> GPO Box 2471
> ADELAIDE  5001  South Australia
> Phone:  +61 8 8302 5535   Fax:  +61 8 8302 5785
> Email:   Chris.Brien at unisa.edu.au
> WEB page:  <http://people.unisa.edu.au/Chris.Brien>
> CRICOS No 00121B
> ______________________________________________
> R-package-devel at r-project.org mailing list
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