(1) pgplot licence vs other; (2) NR

Michal Frackowiak michalf w ncac.torun.pl
Śro, 17 Mar 2004, 11:29:23 CET


about GNU and GPL:

what is the purpose of GPL? creating better, community driven software. 
imho it is more than a license, it is a philosophy. your "software" just 
  do not fit GPL. it is a set of mathematical operations.
how the hell do you want people to use it/trace bugs/improve when you 
only provide hardly readable code??????

we could argue about the quality of the code but I do not think will do 
any good.

see my other comments below:

Boud Roukema wrote:

> === The differences between the pgplot licence and some other licence ===
> (1) distribution: pgplot can be downloaded immediately without delay,
> without requiring any subjective decisions by the owners on whether or not
> to accept the request for registration.
> (2) pgplot does not require the use of further non-free packages
HEALpix is being ported do C and some routines (reading and writing 
images as I remember) are already available.

> Regarding (1), could you imagine someone installing a whole lot of
> packages, maybe with gentoo or debian, and having to wait three days
> for the successive installation of each of 15 different packages?
> That would make 45 days if the person installing does not know in
> advance what the dependencies of the packages are.
> IMHO, taking 45 days (or anything of a similar order of magnitude)
> to fully install a package is clearly something utterly impractical.
It is not an argument nor a nice analogy. It seems as you are the only 
one that hates the registration process. HEALpix is a very specialized 
package with the very limiter users group. I can not see anything wrong 
if the author of such a package wants its users to register.

> Regarding Numerical Recipes, i suggest that everyone on this list read
> the License Information on page xxii of the f77 version, because there
> seems to have been some confusion raised by your earlier message:
> http://www.library.cornell.edu/nr/bookfpdf/f0-1.pdf
>>Copyright does not protect ideas, but only the expression of those
>>ideas in a particular form. In the case of a computer program, the ideas
>>consist of the program's methodology and algorithm, including the
>>necessary sequence of steps adopted by the programmer. The expression of
>>those ideas is the program source code (particularly any arbitrary or
>>stylistic choices embodied in it), its derived object code, and any
>>other derivative works.
>>If you analyze the ideas contained in a program, and then express those
>>ideas in your own completely different implementation, then that new
>>program implementation belongs to you. That is what we have done for those
>>programs in this book that are not entirely of our own devising.

1. "own completely different implementation" - copy & paste, search & 
replace is imho not sufficient and that seems to be the case. your 
implementation is identical.

"Like artistic or literary compositions, computer programs are protected 
by copyright. Generally it is an infringement for you to copy into your 
computer a program from a copyrighted source." - from the very same 
chapter you quote.

For me it would be quite ok if you are inspired by Numerical Recipes and 
include quite similar routines in your code in a limited number. But 
what you have done is not just including the routines, you have created 
a "GPLed" numerical package partly based on the source code from NR and 
added the "Copyright by Boud Roukema".

Is this not like being a Robin Hood? Or rather a false Prometheus?

2. moreover, following you definition of what one can do with the 
copyrighted source code I can not see any point why I would not be 
allowed to use your code (fealpix and others), rearrange it ("be 
inspired") and release as copyrighted by me under a different license????

what I would use from your code would be:
   - methodology,
   - algorithm (including the necessary sequence of steps).
I would not take:
  - arbitrary or stylistic choices (because I would rearrange the code).

Would it be fair?

> What NR claim can be copied:
> - the methodology
> - the algorithm
>   - including the necessary sequence of steps
> What NR claim cannot be copied:
> - arbitrary or stylistic choices
> Do you disagree with Numerical Recipes' point of view on copyright?

I agree but my understanding is different than yours.

> On Tue, 16 Mar 2004, Michal Frackowiak wrote:
>>the last straw: what about pgplot? it is not "free". moreover, it is
>>almost exactly as free as HEALPix:
>>"PGPLOT is /not/ public-domain software. However, it is freely available
>>for non-commercial use. The source code and documentation are
>>copyrighted by California Institute of Technology, and may not be
>>redistributed or placed on public Web servers without permission. The
>>software is provided ``as is'' with no warranty."
>>"The permission to use, without authorization to distribute, the HEALPix
>>software and its documentation without fee or royalty is hereby granted
>>to individual registered users
>>(see the HEALPix site http://www.eso.org/science/healpix)
>>PROVIDED that the preceding copyright notices
>>and the following statements are complied with:
>>- Applications are limited to non-commercial and not-for-profit purposes.
>>- An appropriate acknowledgment is included in all publications
>>based on work conducted with usage of the HEALPix package"
>>there are only 2 differences: registration required with healpix (not a
>>big problem, it is nice to watch as package spreads and I suppose I
>>would do the same) and acknowledgment in publications (which is obvious
>>for me).
>>so why do you not object using pgplot (you use it for every plot in
>>"fealpix") but started this campaign with healpix??????
>>I realize the case is somehow over but your vision of free software
>>really astonishes me. I also realize there will be no public response
>>(in the sense of this mailing list) simply because there is not much to
>>discuss and we have discussed some things at the last Cafe. I really
>>hope all this is coming to the end.
>>best regards
>>Michal Frackowiak wrote:
>>>at least www.gnu.org works. To bring you more arguments WHY fealpix
>>>does not come in the spirit of gnu, please see:
>>>http://www.gnupress.org/potentialauthors.html - Information for
>>>Potential Authors
>>>http://www.gnu.org/prep/standards.html#SEC31 - GNU Coding Standards
>>>more or less these are the things I have already pointed out.
>>>including trolling about proprietary software.
>>>as you can see fealpix does not follow any of the gnu software
>>>directions so all this rumor about making scientific software free
>>>does not make any sense in the context of gnu. moreover it gives
>>>people false opinion about gnu system and the gnu idea of free software.
>>>regards - michal
>>>LISTNAME: cosmo-torun
>>>HELP: send an email to sympa w astro.uni.torun.pl with "help"
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>>Michal Frackowiak
>>mail: michalf w ncac.torun.pl
>>www: http://www.ncac.torun.pl/~michalf
>>jabber im: michal_frackowiak w jabber.pl
>>phone: +48 (56) 6219319 int. 22, fax: +48 (56) 6219381
>>Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Center
>>Department of Astrophysics in Torun (CAMK Torun)
>>ul. Rabianska 8, 87-100 Torun, Poland
>>http://www.ncac.torun.pl, http://www.camk.edu.pl
>>LISTNAME: cosmo-torun
>>HELP: send an email to sympa w astro.uni.torun.pl with "help" 
>>WEB ARCHIVE: http://www.astro.uni.torun.pl/sympa/cosmo-torun/
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Michal Frackowiak
mail: michalf w ncac.torun.pl
www: http://www.ncac.torun.pl/~michalf
jabber im: michal_frackowiak w jabber.pl
phone: +48 (56) 6219319 int. 22, fax: +48 (56) 6219381
Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Center
Department of Astrophysics in Torun (CAMK Torun)
ul. Rabianska 8, 87-100 Torun, Poland
http://www.ncac.torun.pl, http://www.camk.edu.pl
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