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Licensing issues for Octave code derived from Netlib, Statlib, et c??

From: John W. Eaton
Subject: Licensing issues for Octave code derived from Netlib, Statlib, et c??
Date: Wed, 9 Feb 2000 01:18:58 -0600 (CST)

On  1-Feb-2000, Robert Dodier <address@hidden> wrote:

| To make Octave still more wonderful, I am considering 
| porting some of my favorite code from Netlib. But I wonder
| what the licensing issues are. Octave, I know, is GPL'd.
| Can one make a translation of Netlib code and GPL the
| translation? 

Do you really want to translate it?  In most cases I think it is best
to just write interfaces for existing code so it can be dynamically
linked with Octave.

| Part of the problem is that licensing for Netlib code is
| ambiguous, at best. Some files show copyright notices, but
| few show license information. I've written to the Netlib 
| maintainers, and they replied that they are encouraging 
| authors of new submissions to put a license statement in 
| their programs, but that doesn't fix the mountain of existing
| programs.

When in doubt, I think the best action is to contact the original
authors.  For the code from netlib that Octave uses, most was
originally distributed with no copyright notice.  Since it was
available on netlib that way for years, presumably the authors wanted
people to use it, but if anyone knows of specific problems with the
license terms of any of the code currently in Octave, I'd like to know
about it.

| I looked through the documentation at the Octave web site,
| but I was unable to find a discussion of licensing issues for
| Octave software derived from web repositories.

If it is something that is going to be linked with Octave, it must be
distributed under terms that are compatible with the GPL.  If it is
just an M-file, it is your choice (or, if you are deriving from some
other source, dependent on the license or copyright of the original).
Obviously, I would prefer to see code that people write for Octave
distributed under free software licenses.



Octave is freely available under the terms of the GNU GPL.

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