[R-pkg-devel] Question about preventing CRAN package archival

Ben Bolker bbo|ker @end|ng |rom gm@||@com
Wed Jun 2 19:25:05 CEST 2021

    That all sounds exactly right.
   GPL >= 2 allows you to use the material without asking permission as 
long as your package is compatibly licensed (e.g. also GPL).
   Under normal circumstances it would be polite to ask permission, but 
if the reason for doing this is that the maintainer is unreachable in 
the first place ...

  If you want to try a little harder, it seems quite possible that you 
can reach the matrixcalc maintainer at the (personal) e-mail address 
shown in this page:


   (Possibly an identity confusion, but I rate that as unlikely based on 
other facebook snooping)

   I don't think a short, polite e-mail request would be out of bounds, 
they can always ignore it or tell you to go away.

    Ben Bolker

On 6/2/21 1:15 PM, Ben Staton wrote:
> Hello,
> Thank you for your detailed list of solutions.
> I was initially tempted to go with option 1 (move matrixcalc to suggests
> and check for its existence before using functions that rely on it), but as
> mentioned, this is not a long term fix.
> I unfortunately can't take on the responsibilities of option 2 (becoming
> the package maintainer) -- there is much that this package does that I do
> not understand, and do not wish to feign authority!
> I plan to take option 3 (copy the needed functions into my package). There
> are only three functions I need from matrixcalc, and all three are fairly
> simple (is.square.matrix
> <https://rdrr.io/cran/matrixcalc/src/R/is.square.matrix.R>,
> is.symmetric.matrix
> <https://rdrr.io/cran/matrixcalc/src/R/is.symmetric.matrix.R>, and
> is.positive.definite
> <https://rdrr.io/cran/matrixcalc/src/R/is.positive.definite.R>) and there
> is only one function in postpack that needs them. I plan to define them
> within the postpack function. matrixcalc is licensed under GPL >= 2 and
> based on my scan of the license text, this is allowed. Is that correct?
> Regarding option 4 (contacting the matrixcalc maintainer), the original
> email from CRAN mentioned that they have attempted to contact the package
> author with no response.
> Thank you!
> On Wed, Jun 2, 2021 at 9:52 AM J C Nash <profjcnash using gmail.com> wrote:
>> I just downloaded the source matrixcalc package to see what it contained.
>> The functions
>> I looked at seem fairly straightforward and the OP could likely develop
>> equivalent features
>> in his own code, possibly avoiding a function call. Avoiding the function
>> call means NAMESPACE etc. are not involved, so fewer places for getting
>> into
>> trouble, assuming the inline code works properly.
>> JN
>> On 2021-06-02 12:37 p.m., Duncan Murdoch wrote:
>>> On 02/06/2021 12:13 p.m., Ben Staton wrote:
>>>> Hello,
>>>> I received an email notice from CRAN indicating that my R package
>>>> ('postpack') will be archived soon if I do not take any action and I
>> want
>>>> to avoid that outcome. The issue is not caused by my package, but
>> instead a
>>>> package that my package depends on:
>>>> "... package 'matrixcalc' is now scheduled for archival on 2021-06-09,
>>>> and archiving this will necessitate also archiving its strong reverse
>>>> dependencies."
>>>> Evidently, xyz has been returning errors on new R builds prompting CRAN
>> to
>>>> list it as a package to be archived. My package, 'postpack' has
>>>> 'matrixcalc' listed in the Imports field, which I assume is why I
>> received
>>>> this email.
>>>> I want to keep 'postpack' active and don't want it to be archived. I
>> still
>>>> need package 'matrixcalc' for my package, but not for most functions.
>> Could
>>>> I simply move package 'matrixcalc' to the Suggests list and submit the
>> new
>>>> version to CRAN to remove the "Strong Reverse Dependency" issue that
>>>> triggered this email to avoid CRAN from archiving my package?
>>> That's part of one solution, but not the best solution.
>>> If you move it to Suggests, you should make sure that your package
>> checks for it before every use, and falls back to
>>> some other calculation if it is not present.  Be aware that once it is
>> archived, almost none of your users will have it
>>> available, so this is kind of like dropping the functions that it
>> supports.
>>> Another solution which would be great for the community might be for you
>> to offer to take over as maintainer of
>>> matrixcalc.  Then you'd fix whatever problems it has, and you wouldn't
>> need to worry about it.  I haven't looked at the
>>> issues so I don't know if this is feasible.
>>> A third choice would be for you to copy the functions you need from
>> matrixcalc into your own package so you can drop the
>>> dependency.  This is generally legal under the licenses that CRAN
>> accepts, but you should check anyway.
>>> A fourth choice would be for you to contact the matrixcalc maintainer,
>> and help them to fix the issues so that
>>> matrixcalc doesn't get archived.  They may or may not be willing to work
>> with you.
>>> I'd say my third choice is the best choice in the short term, and 2nd or
>> 4th would be good long term solutions.
>>> Duncan Murdoch
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>>> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-package-devel
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