Re: [Rd] Possible GPL Violation

From: Peter Dalgaard <p.dalgaard_at_biostat.ku.dk>
Date: Thu, 23 Oct 2008 00:02:10 +0200

Ian Fellows wrote:
> Hi All,
>
>
>
> I was cruising around today, and came across a company (ZumaStat) that adds
> additional statistics functionality to SPSS.
>
>
>

>>From the Website:

>
> http://www.zumastat.com/robust_statistics.htm
>
>
>
> "ZumaStat provides a user friendly interface to access powerful statistical
> programs on robust statistics that are available in the computer package
> called R, which is available free. Most of the R functions were written by
> Professor Rand Wilcox of the University of Southern California and are
> described in his three books:"
>
>
>
> It seems unlikely that the functionality of this program can be separated
> from the R-packages upon which it relies, thus making them one work subject
> to GPL. Does anyone have any experience with this software/company? Any
> thoughts?

As far as I can see they are using R to run prof. Wilcox's R functions. This is not the same as the "robust" package. Judging from his website, prof. Wilcox doesn't believe in packaging nor licencing; all his functions are just stored in one big file. However, even if he had a GPL on his code, there's no telling whether he did a dual licencing deal with ZumaSoft. As it stands, I suspect that he's just happy with the exposure his books are getting.

That leaves the question of whether they might be infringing upon R itself. There ae some really murky legal areas around linking, plugins, and interfacing to GPL'd programs (when does something become a "derivative work"?), but I don't think this is a good case to test them out.

-- 
    O__  ---- Peter Dalgaard             ุster Farimagsgade 5, Entr.B
   c/ /'_ --- Dept. of Biostatistics     PO Box 2099, 1014 Cph. K
  (*) \(*) -- University of Copenhagen   Denmark      Ph:  (+45) 35327918
~~~~~~~~~~ - (p.dalgaard_at_biostat.ku.dk)              FAX: (+45) 35327907

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