[R] question about licensing

Christopher Quale quale at stat.berkeley.edu
Thu Jul 12 22:10:15 CEST 2001

Sorry if this an inappropriate place to post this question - I have read 
the FAQ's and looked through the mailing list archives but couldn't find 
an answer to my problem. I am working my way through the GPL to try and 
answer this myself, but I was wondering if someone could offer some 

I am working on a commercial software development project for which data 
analysis is to be integrated into the program. If we were to distribute 
copies of our software, what would be the effect if the R interpreter 
(necessary to run scripts that are written by me to do data analysis) 
were also part of the software? In particular how would that effect the 
open/closed nature of the source code for the rest of the project? Since 
the results of the data analysis (the "output" of the program) is what 
is of interest, does this mean that the rest of the software for the 
project must be distributed according to the GPL? Does the use of 
scripts to be run by the R interpreter constitute altering the program 
(I am guessing not)? What if I made calls to R from a C program? (Note 
that I don't plan to redistribute altered versions of the R interpreter).

I will be judicious in the modules I use so as not to use those that are 
expressly for non-commercial use, but for those covered under the GPL 
(and R itself) I am a bit unclear as to the consequences of distributing 
our software with the R interpreter (should we decide to do so).


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