[Cosmo-torun] puzzled about healpix software and Numerical Recipes

Boud Roukema boud w astro.uni.torun.pl
Śro, 17 Lis 2004, 13:56:15 CET


On Mon, 15 Nov 2004, Michal Frackowiak wrote:

> It seems that it is far more complicated that it appeared to be.

Like physics :).

> I suppose however that there will be no lawsuit against HEALPIX because
> of very limited number of users - compared to other commercial applications.
> It confirms my view that neither the copyright law nor open software
> concept apply to the scientific software. People just do not care. Which
> is the situation I disklike a lot. And if you want to change it you will
> most likely not be recognized. Because what matters is the numerical
> result/graph/plot/confidence level/equation/final result. And this is
> because main channel of communication and publishing is via refereed
> papers, and not webpages/discussion etc.

Well, have a look at Bruzual & Charlot's main paper about their
evolutionary stellar population synthesis code:


and look at "Citations to the Article (1224)".  That's 1224 citations of
one article.

Gustavo Bruzual is on the organizing Committee of the IAU Commission on

and Stephane Charlot quite quickly got a faculty position at the IAP in Paris.

The copyright is (was, anyway) not full GPL, but that was back in 1993
- the spirit of distribution was very open and hardly anyone was
talking about GNU/Linux. i had read the GPL manifesto in emacs ;) but
i thought (at the time) that this was only a *project* for something a
long way in the future...

In any case, IMHO both authors got plenty of "career" benefit from
distributing their software as freely as they knew how to.

> Ok, but it is the system the salaries are based on. Years will pass
> until it is changed. Not our until we live I IMHO.

> because main channel of communication and publishing is via refereed
> papers, and not webpages/discussion etc.

Demographic and Citation Trends in Astrophysical Journal papers and Preprints

: On average, ApJ papers posted on astro-ph are cited more than twice
: as often as those that are not posted on astro-ph.

Most likely it's probably similar for A&A and MNRAS.

IMHO, refereed papers (whether or not on astro-ph) are really very
similar to webpages/publicly archived mailing lists - the only
difference is the time scale and the depth.

And IMHO, if the discussion on mailing lists, webpages is effective, it
will lead to good published papers. We might have to have a very long author
list, but where's the problem? Observers' papers are getting longer and
longer author lists.

Anyway, time will tell... :)

> Boud - sorry for the "offensive" emails regarding copyrights and the
> gnu-style. Although I do not in 100% agree with the way you act, I agree
> with the reasons and motives in most!

Thanks - no hard feelings. i appreciate your contributions. :)


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