Re: [Rd] Rcpp: Clarifying the meaning of GPL?

From: Mark Kimpel <>
Date: Wed, 23 Dec 2009 00:56:05 -0500

I don't think this is off-topic, in the sense that it is the contribution of the developers of the multitude of packages available that has led to the success of R. How packages are maintained, forked, etc., is an important issue. I should say that I am not a developer, only a user appreciative of the tremendous effort it takes to develop and maintain packages. In the past, however, when I have inquired about developing a BioConductor package for R, I was told that should I do so I should commit to maintain the package. It seems to me, again as a matter of courtesy and cooperation, that should someone wish to make substantive changes to a package that someone else is maintaining, then they should do so in concert with the package maintainer. If the package is "orphaned", however, then the story would be different. If the original developer/maintainer is still active and does not agree with suggested changes, then a fork, with a different name would be the wisest course of action.

I am not taking sides here, I have no idea which of my hypothetical scenarios might have in reality taken place with this particular package. I just wanted to say that I think the issue is important, that good communication is important, and that there are some basic principals that seem reasonable to uphold should we wish the R community to continue to be developer friendly.


Mark W. Kimpel MD ** Neuroinformatics ** Dept. of Psychiatry Indiana University School of Medicine

15032 Hunter Court, Westfield, IN 46074

(317) 490-5129 Work, & Mobile & VoiceMail (317) 399-1219 Skype No Voicemail please

On Wed, Dec 23, 2009 at 12:32 AM, Jeff Ryan <> wrote:

> This is fantastically off-topic, and has nothing to do with *R*.
> Out of "courtesy" to this list, the subscribers, and future readers,
> please take this off-list where it belongs.
> Jeff
> On Tue, Dec 22, 2009 at 11:27 PM, Dominick Samperi
> <> wrote:
> > Stavros Macrakis wrote:
> >>
> >> That said, as a matter of courtesy and clarity, I'd think that a fork
> >> should use a different name.
> >
> > Yes, the point is that this is not a legal or technical matter, it is a
> > matter of professional courtesy.
> >
> > I take this as one vote for the name change.
> >
> > On US copyright law, this should not be confused with "copyright" notices
> > that appear in GPL
> > source code. Remember that these are really "copyleft" notices, and
> copyleft
> > is designed to

> > protect the rights of copiers, not original contributors. My concern
> about
> > the copyright notice
> > should be viewed in the same spirit as the name change (professional
> > courtesy).
> >
> > Since GPL is largely silent on these issues I have asked the R community
> to
> > vote...
> >
> > Thanks,
> > Dominick
> >
> > ______________________________________________
> > mailing list
> >
> >
> --
> Jeffrey Ryan
> ia: insight algorithmics
> ______________________________________________
> mailing list

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