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Re: Octave-Forge: strings package

From: Carnë Draug
Subject: Re: Octave-Forge: strings package
Date: Mon, 1 Jun 2015 19:51:54 +0100

On 1 June 2015 at 16:44, Oliver Heimlich <address@hidden> wrote:
> I would like to become official maintainer of the strings package at Octave
> Forge and prepare a release with “recent” improvements (where recent means
> patches applied since 2012).

You're welcome to do so.

> I would increase the dependencies to Octave >= 3.8.2. Otherwise I would have
> to prepare a testing environment with Octave 3.6.x.
> Any objections?
> I have issues with the strsort function:
> 1. The function's license is legally problematic (“public domain” is not
> accepted in several countries).

The function is half dozen lines.  I do the same for such short stuff with
"fear" of looking silly claiming copyright.  We do have several other
functions under public domain on Octave Forge.  What can be done about it?

I guess you could contact Paul Kienzle (see new CC on this email), and ask
him about a specific license.  FSF seems to recommend CC0 for this cases) [1]:

    It formally dedicates your work to the public domain, and
    provides a fallback license for cases where that is not legally

> 2. The function shadows the builtin sort function.

It only does that for strings, and not even that for Octave 3.8 or later
(when dispatch() was removed).  And you could fix that by dropping the
PKG_ADD line.

> 3. The builtin sort function says “The 'sort' function may also be used to
> sort strings and cell arrays of strings, in which case ASCII dictionary
> order of the strings is used.”.
> Thus, the strsort function is no longer needed and can be omitted?

It might be safer to simply deprecate it and throw a warning.  If a license
is an issue, you could replace it something like:

    function varargout = strsort (varargin)
      [varargout{1:nargout}] = strsort (varargin{:});


[1] http://directory.fsf.org/wiki/License:PublicDomain

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