[R] How can you buy R?

Deepayan Sarkar deepayan.sarkar at gmail.com
Mon May 22 06:00:41 CEST 2006


let me first summarize this sub-discussion so far: I was responding to
the following paragraph in your reply to Spencer:

A question that always interested me was whether you can used GPL'd
code in S-PLUS.  At some point, I got the impression that according to
the GPL the user would violate the GPL if a package contained GPL code
(in particular C and/or FORTRAN code) that was dynamically linked into
S-PLUS by the R code.  My understanding was that in that moment a
product was created that would have to be wholly under the GPL, so the
user was violating the GPL and lost the write to use your package.

to which I replied that

A user can never violate the GPL. The GPL does not govern use, it
governs distribution.

As far as I can tell (and please correct me if I'm wrong), your
contention is that by linking a GPL component P with a non-GPL
component Q, a user may lose the rights granted to him by the GPL to
the GPL-d part P. Let's assume this is true. All that means is that
the user has lost his rights to "copy, modify and redistribute" P. He
does NOT lose the rights to use P. To violate the GPL, he has to copy,
modify or distribute P (which are illegal without the rights granted
by the GPL), at which point he no longer remains a mere user. This is
what I meant when I said that "a user can never violate the GPL".
Sorry for any confusion.

A few other comments below...

On 5/21/06, Berwin A Turlach <berwin at maths.uwa.edu.au> wrote:

> A simple google search would have confirmed to you that the linux
> kernel is developed under the GPL.  There are actually reports that
> the developers are currently discussing to move to GPL 3 (a bit
> strange, since GPL 3 is, AFAIK, open to discussion but not yet
> released) and many of them wanting to stick with GPL 2.  (Another
> thing I find strange, because given the standard clause, one can take
> GPL 2 code, modify it and then release the new version under GPL 3 [or
> later].)

Linux is under GPL2, and not "GPL2 or later". As far as I know,
there's no real discussion; Linus has said he doesn't like (the
intents of) GPL3, and it's virtually impossible anyway to track down
all copyright holders and get their permission to change the license.

>     DS> In any case, this is the complete opposite of the situation we
>     DS> were originally discussing: there one wants to distribute a
>     DS> GPL-d module that possibly links into a proprietary system. As
>     DS> far as I can tell, the example you quoted above has no
>     DS> relevance in this situation.
> First, the e-mail that you are answering to was written in reply to
> your e-mail claiming that a user cannot violate the GPL.  IMO, to make
> this statement true, you have to be careful in how you define user.
> The e-mail was not written as a reply or input to Spencer's e-mail.
> Secondly, I have admitted already on this list, and I am happy to
> admit it again, that English is my second language.  But I am quite
> sure that my command of English is not so bad that I completely
> misunderstand the point of a discussion.  So I have to wonder to what
> you are referring to as "the situation we were originally discussing".

I was referring to your question (quoted above) about use of GPL'd
code in S-PLUS, which is what I was replying to. As I was saying, that
situation is the opposite of the one in your example.


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