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Re: Citation requirement and the GPL

From: Christopher Jefferson
Subject: Re: Citation requirement and the GPL
Date: Sun, 27 Mar 2016 22:35:19 +0100

On 27 March 2016 at 18:26, Ole Tange <> wrote:
> On Sun, Mar 27, 2016 at 11:20 AM, Christopher Jefferson
> <> wrote:
> :
>> Would I cite 'parallel' if it was an integral part of my research
>> project (for example, a parallelisation project)? Of course! Further,
>> if I reported times taken I would cite parallel, as it would be an
>> integral part of recreating those times.
>> If I used parallel to simply speed up a set of analysis of data? Then
>> I would not cite it, in the same way I wouldn't cite xargs, grep, cut,
>> awk and bash, which might be used in the same scripts.
> As the speedup of analysis is a common use case, GNU Parallel
> (--citation) mentions this situation in this way:
>   When using programs that use GNU Parallel to process data for
> publication please cite: [...]
> Do you feel the wording is unclear? If so: What should it say to
> convey the message that you should cite when using GNU Parallel for
> speeding up of analysis of data?

If that is what you want, then the current wording is fine.

> You do not find similar wording in xargs, grep, cut, awk and bash -
> thus no need to cite those.

I personally disagree with this -- I do not cite software or papers
because their authors want citations. I cite because I believe the
citation helping users understand my paper, reproduce it's results, or
place it in context.

> If you prefer not to cite GNU Parallel at all, then please refrain
> from using GNU Parallel.

I am happy to accept that, but I feel that this requirement violates
the GPL, the GPL FAQ specifically covers this case:

Perhaps parallel should be changed to another, less free, license?
Otherwise I could simply take parallel and delete the request for


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