[R-pkg-devel] GPL + other licence

David C Sterratt david.c.sterratt at ed.ac.uk
Thu Apr 12 12:32:07 CEST 2018

Thanks to all for your helpful replies.

It seems reasonable to consider that the whole package is indeed
licensed under GPL >= 3, and I can therefore remove the LICENSE file.
The Qhull COPYING.txt notice is included in the inst/doc directory, as
required by the Qhull licence, so I think all should be OK.

If the CRAN maintainers are happy with this proposal, that will resolve
a major R-packaging headache, so thanks again.

Best wishes,


On Wed 11 Apr 2018 at 16:58 BST, Martyn Plummer <plummerm at iarc.fr> wrote:

> I agree with Brian. This type of license is classified by the Free
> Software Foundation as "lax" or "permissive" because it does not
> prevent incorporation of the code into proprietary software.
> Here is what Richard Stallman has to say: https://www.gnu.org/licenses/
> license-compatibility.en.html
> "[L]ax licenses are usually compatible with any copyleft license. In
> the combined program, the parts that came in under lax licenses still
> carry them, and the combined program as a whole carries the copyleft
> license."
> Hence you can license your package under the GPL.
> Martyn
> On Tue, 2018-04-10 at 08:14 -0500, Brian G. Peterson wrote:
>> I'm not a lawyer, but I don't see why the entire package can't be
>> released under GPL, while also respecting the QHull license for the
>> QHull code and the derived QHull portions.
>> Many existing R packages released under GPL, and R itself, include BSD
>> and MIT licensed code.
>> The QHull license is a very permissive license, basically BSD or MIT-
>> like in its permissions.
>> BSD and MIT code may be included in GPL'd code, as long as its license
>> (inclusion of the copyright notice, etc.) is also included where
>> required.
>> GPL applies to the entire work, in this case the R package.  I think
>> you should discuss this with the CRAN maintainers and release the
>> package under GPL.
>> Regards,
>> Brian

David C Sterratt, Senior Research Associate
Institute for Adaptive and Neural Computation, School of Informatics
University of Edinburgh, 10 Crichton Street, Edinburgh EH8 9AB, Scotland, UK
http://homepages.inf.ed.ac.uk/sterratt - tel: +44 131 651 1739

The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in
Scotland, with registration number SC005336.

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