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Re: Licensing of Octave Scripts

From: David Grundberg
Subject: Re: Licensing of Octave Scripts
Date: Sat, 06 Feb 2010 12:47:49 +0100
User-agent: Thunderbird (X11/20090817)

Trevor Law skrev:

My name is Trevor Law and I'm looking to find out whether or not
Octave scripts that I might share must be released under the GPL.
Although I don't need them to be proprietary, the GPL is confusing for
a non-lawyer, and seems to require that I post the Octave source code
along with any script I post online, which seems unnecessarily

On the Octave license page it is stated:
"Although enhancements to Octave that are written as function files in
Octave's scripting language are not required to be redistributed under
the terms of the GPL, we encourage you to release your enhancements to
Octave under the same terms for the benefit of all users."

However the FSF GPL FAQ
suggests otherwise.  (The faq entry is slightly long so I did not
paste it).  Essentially the answer says that if the interpreter
provides bindings to GPL code then programs written for it must be
GPL'd.  The Octave source is GPL'd, and I imagine it probably uses
several GPL'd libraries (perhaps GSL?), which suggests I need to GPL
anything I post anywhere.

Any clarification you could provide would be much appreciated.

Thank you for your time,
Trevor Law

It's OK to post just m-code. You don't have to post Octave together with it.

I think it's great that you are considering using the GNU GPL license. That way everyone benefits, you don't give away your work without conditions - you encourage others to share their enhancements. Licensing with GPLv3+ is simple. You add the GPL copyright statement in every source file (found on the FSF site) and convey them together with the GPL license file.

If it's just one file, since the GNU GPL is so widely known, I think it's alright to do something like this:

The FSF FAQ is confusing on scripting issues because it is very brief and uses a distinct language. Basically it says that there are two kinds of cases: script-calling-script and interpreting-script. I laid out my thoughts about this in detail here:


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