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Re: merging functions from octave-forge

From: Andy Adler
Subject: Re: merging functions from octave-forge
Date: Sat, 2 Apr 2005 09:51:08 -0500 (EST)

On Fri, 1 Apr 2005, John W. Eaton wrote:

> For Octave 3.0 (or perhaps a later 3.x release) I'd like to aim for
> including most of the functions that are currently in Octave forge for
> compatibility with core Matlab functionality (i.e., those in the list
> http://www.mathworks.com/access/helpdesk/help/techdoc/ref/refbookl.html).

This would be really great. octave-forge is getting crufty. It would
be nice to use 3.0 as the place to clean up. This will also make
octave by itself much more complete.

> Some conditions for including a function in Octave are
>   * Copyright status must be clear and distribution terms must be
>     compatible with the GPL.  We must not have any code that is
>     (inadvertantly or not) derived from some proprietary source.

I believe that octave-forge has been quite careful about this.

However, the issue of inadvertantly derived code is an important one.
It is easy to look at an *.m file from Matlab to get inspiration as
to how to solve a problem. On the other hand, this is a problem for
all open source software.

My personal opinion is that no mechanism can absolutely prevent
inadvertant derivation. The best situation is that the octave
community clearly and consistently emphasise this point. Then,
if any derivation is detected it is fixed ASAP. That way octave
cannot be claimed to be in 'willful violation'.

>   * Coding style should follow Octave's coding style.
>   * Docstrings must be formatted with Texinfo markup so they can be
>     included in the printed manual.

This needs work. Automated tools may help.

It would also be nice to have some tests for each function. Perhaps
the testing code from octave-forge should be merged first.

Here is my proposal:

1. Decide that this week, you can merge functions a,b,c and d.

2. Invite the authors (or others) of those functions to submit patches.
   If there are other issues with the code, mention them at that time.

3. Receive some patches, merge as appropriate.


The motivation is that most people would *love* to see their work
incorporated into the octave core. With a specific offer from you,
many would be quite motivated to do any additional work required.

Andy Adler <address@hidden> 1(613)562-5800x6218

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