[Rd] R and Commercial applications

From: A.J. Rossini <blindglobe_at_gmail.com>
Date: Thu 20 Apr 2006 - 11:53:40 GMT

> From: Philippe Grosjean <phgrosjean@sciviews.org>
> However, I was suprised to learn that the Pipeline Pilot R Collection is
> not GPL and is not free (in term of money, i.e., you have to pay
> 3500$/year to use it). I am not sure, but I think they break the GPL
> license here since they use a commercial license for, basically, a
> collection of R scripts embedded in their 'PP components'.

It shouldn't suprise you. There are plenty of similar examples, such as CSIRO's gene expression image analysis viewer, Spotfire allows for a similar interaction, and BioConductor is "repackaged" for S-PLUS without much returned to the developers (by license design).

And at least where I work, that $3500/year is pocket change for IT tools (vs. doing something bespoke to solve a similar problem). Pipeline pilot is an excellent product for what it does, fast and flexible screening of large numbers of readouts).

And just wait until commercial companies provide "supported R" distributions, and will sell you a "supported" value of R for a group for such pocket change (i.e. the Red Hat model). Now there's serious value, if done correctly. Analytics/decision making is getting on VC radar screens these days.

Think, "Red Hat Enterprise Edition" vs. Fedora. The latter has been usefully helped by people who have bought the former. It takes someone's money to do these things.

Now, as Peter mentioned, "embedding" is a bit of a tricky thing. It's never been clear why shell'ing out commands is any different than linking to a shared library when you consider the general activities (yes, system/robustness, vs "a hack") but they are viewed differently from the GPL perspective, as far as I'm aware of the relevant sections. But I'm not a lawyer.


Muttenz, Switzerland.
"Commit early,commit often, and commit in a repository from which we can easily
roll-back your mistakes" (AJR, 4Jan05).

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