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Re: ATLAS and octave

From: Timothy H. Keitt
Subject: Re: ATLAS and octave
Date: Fri, 04 Feb 2000 17:35:57 -0800

"John W. Eaton" wrote:

> On  4-Feb-2000, Timothy H. Keitt <address@hidden> wrote:
> There are at least a few reasons that make sense to me.
> First, there are licensing issues.  If the tuned blas libraries are
> distributed under terms that are not compatible with the GPL, then
> we can't distribute a version of Octave that is linked with them.

Does this include run-time linking?  If you compile a GPL program that
requires, can you be excluded from distributing it because someone
might dynamically link it to a proprietary

> Second, it is easier to just distribute the Fortran sources than to
> try to figure out if the blas and lapack libraries that are installed
> on a system are the right version, or if they will even work.  If
> someone reports a problem with Octave that involves the blas or lapack
> routines, it is harder to debug if the problem might be due to some
> broken installation of the blas or lapack.

I still think it would be better to distribute a separate library, because
that makes it easier to install a drop-in replacement.  (And blas and lapack
are available as binaries for a lot of platforms these days.)  By that
argument, you should be distributing libc and a kernel as well! :-)

> It is also easier for people to install Octave if the instructions are
> essentially `unpack a single tar file, then run configure and make',
> instead of `get several packages, try to figure out how to install the
> other packages (last I checked, the blas and lapack did not use
> configure) and then try to build Octave using them'.

There are [s]rpms available that can easily be installed (only a solution for
systems that use rpm of course).

> If atlas is distributed under terms that are compatible with the GPL
> (I think it was the last time I checked) then I think it could be the
> best solution for Octave, since there won't be any licensing problems,
> and it will not require tweaking the configure script for each new
> vendor blas.
> jwe

These are all of course perfectly good reasons to include the blas/lapack
code, and certainly that's the maintainers prerogative.  My preference would
be for the configure script to check for existing blas and lapack libraries
and link those before using the ones provided with octave.  My 2 cents


Timothy H. Keitt
National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis
735 State Street, Suite 300, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Phone: 805-892-2519, FAX: 805-892-2510

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