glmmADMB and the GPL -- formerly-- How to buy R.

classic Classic list List threaded Threaded
5 messages Options
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

glmmADMB and the GPL -- formerly-- How to buy R.

dave fournier
Dear List,

Some of you have been following the discussion of the GPL and its inclusion
in the glmmADMB package we created for R users. I would like to provide
a bit of background and include an email we received from
Prof. Ripley so that everyone can be aware of how some might use the
GPL to try to force access to proprietary software. I think this is
interesting because many have voiced the opinion about the benign nature
of the GPL and that commercial enterprises who avoid it do so mainly out
of ignorance.

I have noticed two things:
Users of the R-help list appear to rely largely on the advice of a
rather small number of statistical experts. Second, the R users regard R
as being more cutting edge and up to date than lists devoted to
commercial statistical packages like SAS.

For these reasons  I was surprised to see the following post on the web
in reply to a question on negative binomial mixed models.

     https://stat.ethz.ch/pipermail/r-help/2005-February/066146.html

I thought that this was bad advice as certainly our ADMB-RE software
could handle this problem easily.  However one never knows exactly what
sort of data people might use in a particular example that could lead to
difficulties so I decided to code up a program that R users could test
for this problem.  However R users are used to a different approach for
model formulation so that it was difficult for the average R user to
access the program. I approached Anders Nielsen who is both an
experienced ADMB user and R user and asked him to write an interface in
R which would make the program more accessible to R users. He created a
package and the whole thing seems to have had some success with at least
one PhD thesis based on calculations using it. The R code that Anders
wrote is simply an interface which takes the R specification for the
model and outputs a data file in the format the an ADMB program expects.
The ADMB program is a stand alone exe. The R script then reads the ADMB
output files and presents the results to the user in a more familiar R
format. Now it appears at some revision someone put a GPL notice on this
package although Anders states that he did not do so, and and he is
certain that it was not originally included by him. In any event the R
script is easily extracted from the package by those who know how to do
so and we have no problem with making the ADMB-RE source to the  exe
(TPL file) available. In fact the original was on our web site but was
modified as we made to program more robust to deal with difficult data
sets.  The compiled TPL file links with our proprietary libraries and we
have no intention of providing the source for these, but that is exactly
what Prof. Ripley seems to be demanding since he claims that he wants
the program to run on his computer which it apparently does not do at
present. Prof. Ripley seems to feel that he is a qualified spokesman for
the open source community. I have no idea what the community at large
feels about this.

What follows is Hans Skaug's post with Prof. Ripley's reply.

 > On Mon, 22 May 2006, H. Skaug wrote:
 >
 >> > About glmmADMB and GPL:
 >> >
 >> > We were not very cautious when we put in the GPL statement.
 >> > What we wanted to say was that the use of glmmADMB is free, and
 >> > does not require a license for AD Model Builder.
 >
 > But that is not what you said, and you are legally and morally bound to
 > fulfill the promise you made.
 >
 >> > Am I correct in interpreting this discussion so that all
 >> > we have to do is to remove the "License: GPL" statement
 >> > from the DESCRIPTION file (and everywhere else it may occur),
 >> > and there will be no conflict between glmmADMB and the
 >> > rules of the R community?
 >
 > I have made a request under the GPL. `All' you have to do is to fulfill
 > it.
 >
 >> > We have temporarily withdrawn glmmADMB until this question has been
 >> > settled.
 >
 > You can withdraw the package, but it has already been distributed under
 > GPL, and those who received it under GPL have the right to
redistribute it
 > under GPL, including the sources you are obliged to give them.  That's
 > part of the `freedom' that GPL gives.
 >
 >> > hans
 >> >
 >> >
 >> >
 >>> >> Brian Ripley wrote:
 >>> >>
 >>> >> The issue in the glmmADMB example is not if they were required
to release
 >>> >> it under GPL (my reading from the GPL FAQ is that they probably
were not,
 >>> >> given that communication is between processes and the R code is
 >>> >> interpreted).
 >> >
 >>> >> Rather, it is stated to be under GPL _but_ there is no source
code offer
 >>> >> for the executables (and the GPL FAQ says that for anonymous FTP
it should
 >>> >> be downloadable via the same site, and the principles apply
equally to
 >>> >> HTTP sites).  As the executables are not for my normal OS and I
would like
 >>> >> to exercise my freedom to try the GPLed code, I have requested
the sources
 >>> >> from the package maintainer.
 >> >
 >> >
 >
 > -- Brian D. Ripley, [hidden email] Professor of Applied
Statistics, http://www.stats.ox.ac.uk/~ripley/ University of Oxford,
Tel: +44 1865 272861 (self) 1 South Parks Road, +44 1865 272866 (PA)
Oxford OX1 3TG, UK Fax: +44 1865 272595

Hans' post was an attempt to reach some sort of consensus with the R
community so that users who so wished could continue to use the glmmADMB
software.  So far this is the only response we have received. I guess it
is up to the R community to decided whether Prof. Ripley speaks for all
of you.

     Cheers,

      Dave


--
David A. Fournier
P.O. Box 2040,
Sidney, B.C. V8l 3S3
Canada
Phone/FAX 250-655-3364
http://otter-rsch.com

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide! http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: glmmADMB and the GPL -- formerly-- How to buy R.

Berwin A Turlach
G'day Dave,

I have read your e-mail now several time and can't make up my mind if
you want a genuine discussion or just trying to do some flame-baiting.

But here are my 2 cents.  And, in case that you don't read through the
whole reply, let me make it clear to you that this is my personal
opinion, that probably few people (if any) on this list might agree
with me and that I definitely not speak for the list.

>>>>> "DF" == dave fournier <[hidden email]> writes:

    DF> Some of you have been following the discussion of the GPL and
    DF> its inclusion in the glmmADMB package we created for R users.
True in my case.

    DF> I would like to provide a bit of background and include an
    DF> email we received from Prof. Ripley [...]
It is usually considered bad form to forward privately sent e-mails to
a public forum.  Some people are even going so far as to argue that
e-mails, as other communications, are copyright protected material and
that by posting private e-mails, or other communications, to public
forums without the permission of the person who sent the private
e-mail the poster is breaching copyright laws.

So I hope you asked Brian for his permission to post his private
e-mail, because I don't remember seeing it posted to any of the
mailing lists related to R.  

In any case, if you wish to positively engage with a community, I
would advise you to learn about the rules according to which that
community plays.

    DF> so that everyone can be aware of how some might use the GPL to
    DF> try to force access to proprietary software.
Well, that is only possible if the software was released under the
GPL.  So what is the problem?

    DF> I think this is interesting because many have voiced the
    DF> opinion about the benign nature of the GPL and that commercial
    DF> enterprises who avoid it do so mainly out of ignorance.
I must have missed these opinions being expressed in this particular
thread, but have a vague idea what you are talking about.  Though, I
have the impression that you are a bit confused as there are two
issues:

1) Commercial enterprises who release their software under the GPL.
   Since these enterprises released their software under the GPL, they
   should not be ignorant about it and what it implies.  If they are,
   they should sack their lawyers and get better advise.

2) Commercial enterprises who say that they don't want to port their
   product to Linux (or other GPL based operation systems) with the
   argument that this would force them to release the source code of
   their software.  To those enterprises it is usually pointed out
   that they are misinterpreting (or, if you wish, ignorant of) the
   GPL and that by providing their software on a GPL'd platform they
   are not forced to supply source code and they can release their
   software under other licences if they wish.  (And it seems that
   several commercial enterprises got this message as there is quite a
   bit of commercial software available under Linux these days:
   S-PLUS, Matlab, Mathematica, Maple,....)

The case of glmmADMB seems to fall under the first category, it was
released under the GPL and you should have been aware of what this
means because you decided to release it under the GPL.  

    DF> I have noticed two things: Users of the R-help list appear to
    DF> rely largely on the advice of a rather small number of
    DF> statistical experts.
How did you notice this?  A lot of readers of mailing list choose to
reply in private e-mails instead off replies to the list.  My default
is to "reply-to-sender" and not "reply-to-all"; other people's
mail-tool have other defaults.  The R mailing lists are (as far as I
know) configured that "reply-to-sender" goes only to the sender of the
e-mail, not the whole list.  Thus, you should be aware that by looking
at what gets posted on R-help will give you a biased sample.  

    DF> Second, the R users regard R as being more cutting edge and up
    DF> to date than lists devoted to commercial statistical packages
    DF> like SAS.
Sorry, I can't parse this sentence.  Do you mean that R users regard
commercial statistical statistical packages like SAS as being less
cutting edge than R?  Or that people on lists devoted to commercial
statistical packages like SAS have a different opinion about R than
R users?  Or that R users regard R as being more cutting edge than
some other mailing lists?

Was there any purpose in this statement other than flame-baiting?

    DF> For these reasons I was surprised to see the following post on
    DF> the web in reply to a question on negative binomial mixed
    DF> models.
    DF> https://stat.ethz.ch/pipermail/r-help/2005-February/066146.html
    DF> I thought that this was bad advice as certainly our ADMB-RE
    DF> software could handle this problem easily.
Fair enough.  More flame-baiting or would you kindly let us know
whether ADMB-RE was available in February 2005?  Was glmmADMB
(readily) available at that time?  I note that the quoted e-mail is
about 18 months old, and glmmADMB is at version 0.3.  I also note that
the person seeking advice was asking specifically whether what he
wanted to do was possible to be done using R.  In my opinion, he got a
sensible and correct answer at that time.

    DF> [...]  The R code that Anders wrote is simply an interface
    DF> which takes the R specification for the model and outputs a
    DF> data file in the format the an ADMB program expects.  The ADMB
    DF> program is a stand alone exe. The R script then reads the ADMB
    DF> output files and presents the results to the user in a more
    DF> familiar R format.  [...]
Yes, by looking at the package and the R code that is there, it is
quite obvious that this is what is done.

    DF> [...] Now it appears at some revision someone put a GPL notice
    DF> on this package although Anders states that he did not do so,
    DF> and and he is certain that it was not originally included by
    DF> him. [...]
Yes, someone must have done this.  If you cannot figure out who did
it, you have to tighten the procedures in your company.  A question
which could be of interest here is whether the person who put the GPL
notice into the package had the authority to do so?  Of course, to
answer that question you first have to find out who did it.

    DF> [...] In any event the R script is easily extracted from the
    DF> package by those who know how to do so [...]
Yes, download glmmADMB_0.3.tar.gz from your site (it was still there
yesterday after Hans Skaug's e-mail), uncompress it and untar it.

    DF> [...] and we have no problem with making the ADMB-RE source to
    DF> the exe (TPL file) available.  In fact the original was on our
    DF> web site but was modified as we made to program more robust to
    DF> deal with difficult data sets.  The compiled TPL file links
    DF> with our proprietary libraries and we have no intention of
    DF> providing the source for these, [...]
Well, speak with your lawyers.  They can probably advise you want your
obligations under the GPL is.  My understanding is that if you release
the exe under GPL, then releasing the ADMB-RE source for the exe would
be the minimum, possibly even the source to all the libraries that the
exe links too.  But, as I said several times in the last days, IANAL.

    DF>  [...] Prof.  Ripley  seems to  feel  that he  is a  qualified
    DF> spokesman for the open source community. I have no idea what
    DF> the community at large feels about this.
Well, I have no idea how Brian feels or what the community at large
feels but:
1) The R community, and you are posting to an R mailing list, is only
   a small part of a community that at large subscribe to the ideas of
   the GPL.
2) "open source" is a term that encompasses many things and, IIRC,
   Richard Stallman and the FSF are very critical about "open source"
   and that community.  
3) If asked about who are spokesman for the open source community,
   other names would spring to my mind.  And, see 2), these names
   would not include Richard Stallman or the FSF.

    DF> What follows is Hans Skaug's post with Prof. Ripley's reply.
Which seems to be a private e-mail and, hence, completely a matter
between Hans and Brian.

    DF> Hans' post was an attempt to reach some sort of consensus with
    DF> the R community so that users who so wished could continue to
    DF> use the glmmADMB software.  So far this is the only response
    DF> we have received.
I was tempted to respond, if only to point out that
glmmADMB_0.3.tar.gz was still available from your web-site.  But then,
since IANAL, I refrained since:
a) I don't feel qualified on giving you advice on how to sort out your
   licencing issues; and
b) I already pointed out earlier in a reply to Spencer Grave how the
   license of glmmADMB should probably be formulated to be above water
   and not in conflict with the GPL.  Just read up that e-mail.

    DF> I guess it is up to the R community to decided whether
    DF> Prof. Ripley speaks for all of you.
I might flog a dead horse here, but I hope that you will eventually
get the message:

   It was a private, off-list e-mail.  You can't seriously expect that
   opinions expressed in such an e-mail can be taken as "speaking for
   the R community".

Even if it had been an e-mail to the R mailing list, such e-mails nly
express the opinions of the sender, not that of the members of the
mailing list and not that of the R community (which could encompass
more than the readers of a mailing list) at large.

Cheers,

        Berwin

========================== Full address ============================
Berwin A Turlach                      Tel.: +61 (8) 6488 3338 (secr)  
School of Mathematics and Statistics        +61 (8) 6488 3383 (self)      
The University of Western Australia   FAX : +61 (8) 6488 1028
35 Stirling Highway                  
Crawley WA 6009                e-mail: [hidden email]
Australia                        http://www.maths.uwa.edu.au/~berwin

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide! http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: glmmADMB and the GPL -- formerly-- How to buy R.

Marc Schwartz (via MN)
On Tue May 23 18:01:03 CEST 2006 Dave Fourier wrote:

> Dear List,
>
> Some of you have been following the discussion of the GPL and its inclusion
> in the glmmADMB package we created for R users. I would like to provide
> a bit of background and include an email we received from
> Prof. Ripley so that everyone can be aware of how some might use the
> GPL to try to force access to proprietary software. I think this is
> interesting because many have voiced the opinion about the benign nature
> of the GPL and that commercial enterprises who avoid it do so mainly out
> of ignorance.
>
> I have noticed two things:
> Users of the R-help list appear to rely largely on the advice of a
> rather small number of statistical experts. Second, the R users regard R
> as being more cutting edge and up to date than lists devoted to
> commercial statistical packages like SAS.
>
> For these reasons  I was surprised to see the following post on the web
> in reply to a question on negative binomial mixed models.
>
>      https://stat.ethz.ch/pipermail/r-help/2005-February/066146.html
>
> I thought that this was bad advice as certainly our ADMB-RE software
> could handle this problem easily.  However one never knows exactly what
> sort of data people might use in a particular example that could lead to
> difficulties so I decided to code up a program that R users could test
> for this problem.  However R users are used to a different approach for
> model formulation so that it was difficult for the average R user to
> access the program. I approached Anders Nielsen who is both an
> experienced ADMB user and R user and asked him to write an interface in
> R which would make the program more accessible to R users. He created a
> package and the whole thing seems to have had some success with at least
> one PhD thesis based on calculations using it. The R code that Anders
> wrote is simply an interface which takes the R specification for the
> model and outputs a data file in the format the an ADMB program expects.
> The ADMB program is a stand alone exe. The R script then reads the ADMB
> output files and presents the results to the user in a more familiar R
> format. Now it appears at some revision someone put a GPL notice on this
> package although Anders states that he did not do so, and and he is
> certain that it was not originally included by him. In any event the R
> script is easily extracted from the package by those who know how to do
> so and we have no problem with making the ADMB-RE source to the  exe
> (TPL file) available. In fact the original was on our web site but was
> modified as we made to program more robust to deal with difficult data
> sets.  The compiled TPL file links with our proprietary libraries and we
> have no intention of providing the source for these, but that is exactly
> what Prof. Ripley seems to be demanding since he claims that he wants
> the program to run on his computer which it apparently does not do at
> present. Prof. Ripley seems to feel that he is a qualified spokesman for
> the open source community. I have no idea what the community at large
> feels about this.
>
> What follows is Hans Skaug's post with Prof. Ripley's reply.
>
>  > On Mon, 22 May 2006, H. Skaug wrote:
>  >
>  >> > About glmmADMB and GPL:
>  >> >
>  >> > We were not very cautious when we put in the GPL statement.
>  >> > What we wanted to say was that the use of glmmADMB is free, and
>  >> > does not require a license for AD Model Builder.
>  >
>  > But that is not what you said, and you are legally and morally bound to
>  > fulfill the promise you made.
>  >
>  >> > Am I correct in interpreting this discussion so that all
>  >> > we have to do is to remove the "License: GPL" statement
>  >> > from the DESCRIPTION file (and everywhere else it may occur),
>  >> > and there will be no conflict between glmmADMB and the
>  >> > rules of the R community?
>  >
>  > I have made a request under the GPL. `All' you have to do is to fulfill
>  > it.
>  >
>  >> > We have temporarily withdrawn glmmADMB until this question has been
>  >> > settled.
>  >
>  > You can withdraw the package, but it has already been distributed under
>  > GPL, and those who received it under GPL have the right to
> redistribute it
>  > under GPL, including the sources you are obliged to give them.  That's
>  > part of the `freedom' that GPL gives.
>  >
>  >> > hans
>  >> >
>  >> >
>  >> >
>  >>> >> Brian Ripley wrote:
>  >>> >>
>  >>> >> The issue in the glmmADMB example is not if they were required
> to release
>  >>> >> it under GPL (my reading from the GPL FAQ is that they probably
> were not,
>  >>> >> given that communication is between processes and the R code is
>  >>> >> interpreted).
>  >> >
>  >>> >> Rather, it is stated to be under GPL _but_ there is no source
> code offer
>  >>> >> for the executables (and the GPL FAQ says that for anonymous FTP
> it should
>  >>> >> be downloadable via the same site, and the principles apply
> equally to
>  >>> >> HTTP sites).  As the executables are not for my normal OS and I
> would like
>  >>> >> to exercise my freedom to try the GPLed code, I have requested
> the sources
>  >>> >> from the package maintainer.
>  >> >
>  >> >
>  >
>  > -- Brian D. Ripley, ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk Professor of Applied
> Statistics, http://www.stats.ox.ac.uk/~ripley/ University of Oxford,
> Tel: +44 1865 272861 (self) 1 South Parks Road, +44 1865 272866 (PA)
> Oxford OX1 3TG, UK Fax: +44 1865 272595
>
> Hans' post was an attempt to reach some sort of consensus with the R
> community so that users who so wished could continue to use the glmmADMB
> software.  So far this is the only response we have received. I guess it
> is up to the R community to decided whether Prof. Ripley speaks for all
> of you.
>
>      Cheers,
>
>       Dave


Dave,

I thought long and hard about whether to respond to your post. However,
the more I thought about it, the more that I realized that the entire
premise of your post is incorrect.

For the record, I speak for myself and no one else here.

This is a customer service and now, a PR issue, for you and your
company.

Nothing more, nothing less.

It is not about Prof. Ripley's posts, e-mails, representations or
expectations.

BTW, did you request and secure his permission to post what appears to
be part of a private communication between he and Hans Skaug? I did not
see his comments that you have quoted in a public post to r-help.

There is no need for any consensus from the R community here. It is up
to you and your company as to how you wish to reconcile a lapse in
judgement and/or error in task on the part of one or more individuals at
your company for posting your product under the GPL in the first place.

If you want to be angry at somebody, keep it inside your company. Not
here. Nobody in the R Community has erred here.

By allowing your product to be posted under the GPL, besides pointing
out an internal QA issue, you set in motion certain expectations
regarding how your software can be copied and distributed, including
access to source code. The expectation is in place, whether you intended
it or not.

Within that context, Prof. Ripley's request and expectations are
entirely reasonable.

It is up to you to make a business decision, as to how you elect to
respond to the pre-existing situation and how you to elect to deal with
the availability of your products (free or otherwise) moving forward.

Consider your options, make a decision and live with it, whatever the
consequences. The users of your products will ultimately let you know
how successful or not your response is.

Having been one, that's the responsibility and the accountability of a
business owner. It's an easy job when things are going well. RHIP when
things are not.

Marc Schwartz

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide! http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

glmmADMB and the GPL -- formerly-- How to buy R.

dave fournier
In reply to this post by Berwin A Turlach
I promise the list that this will be my last posting
regarding this matter.

The package glmmADMB is not and never was the "property"
or a "product" of Otter Research Ltd. It was simply a probram I wrote
using ADMB-RE and gave away. I do this all the time to help various
people. I don't monitor or try to control what they do with it.
The executable nbmm.exe was produced by using the ADMB-RE package,
but under our license executables produced using
ADMB are freely distributable. See for example the
software Coleraine or stock synthesis.

As I stated in my earlier post I was motivated to
produce software for negative binomial mixed models
by a post of Prof Ripleys, that no such good software
existed. I assumed that to mean anywhere not just as
a currently existing R package.
I originally intended this to be just a stand alone
program that anyone could use after they put the data
into the proper format. I soon realized, however that
R users had a different way of thinking about the methods
for specifying these models. Since I have extremely limited
R skills I asked Anders Nielsen and Hans Skaug if they would be interested
in producing something that could be used more easily by R users.
They were not paid for this and acted simply out of a wish to provide a
service to the R community.
I had no idea how that would go and at that point my involvement in the
development (except for modifying the nbmm.exe to deal with difficult
data) came to an end.

Neither Anders or Hans are employees of or own any part of Otter
Research Ltd. I am its sole employee/owner.

When the package was finished I agreed to host it on my web site.

I also put up a forum because I wanted to see how the software worked
for people.

I appears that Hans put the GPL on the package. He can speak for
himself, but I believe he intended the GPL to apply to the R package
which he had taken over from Anders and not the nbmm.exe Certainly he
would have no authority to bind Otter Research Ltd in this matter.

Now as to "flames" and Lawyers.  As I said Otter Research Ltd is a
company of one person. I have successfully sold software for 16 years
without a lawyer, mostly to the fisheries management community.
I never felt the need for a lawyer until I gave something away for free
to the R community.

I removed the link that Prof Ripley referred to. If there is another
offending link I will be happy to remove it as well if you tell me where
it is. For those who want to use the software I will put it up in its
original form which means that you will need to put your data into
the format that an AD Model Builder program requires. It will still have
the same functionality but unfortunately will be more difficult for R
users to access.

Of course if Hans or Anders or anyone else wants to they are welcome to
take the nbmm.exe and make it available with their own R package if they
can satisfy whatever the requirements are -- just not on my website.

     Cheers,

      Dave



























--
David A. Fournier
P.O. Box 2040,
Sidney, B.C. V8l 3S3
Canada
Phone/FAX 250-655-3364
http://otter-rsch.com

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide! http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: glmmADMB and the GPL -- formerly-- How to buy R.

Jason Barnhart
In reply to this post by dave fournier
----- Original Message -----
From: "dave fournier" <[hidden email]>
To: <[hidden email]>
Sent: Tuesday, May 23, 2006 9:01 AM
Subject: [R] glmmADMB and the GPL -- formerly-- How to buy R.


> Dear List,
>
> Some of you have been following the discussion of the GPL and its
> inclusion
> in the glmmADMB package we created for R users. I would like to provide
> a bit of background and include an email we received from
> Prof. Ripley so that everyone can be aware of how some might use the
> GPL to try to force access to proprietary software. I think this is
> interesting because many have voiced the opinion about the benign nature
> of the GPL and that commercial enterprises who avoid it do so mainly out
> of ignorance.
>
> I have noticed two things:
> Users of the R-help list appear to rely largely on the advice of a
> rather small number of statistical experts. Second, the R users regard R
> as being more cutting edge and up to date than lists devoted to
> commercial statistical packages like SAS.
>
> For these reasons  I was surprised to see the following post on the web
> in reply to a question on negative binomial mixed models.
>
>     https://stat.ethz.ch/pipermail/r-help/2005-February/066146.html
>
> I thought that this was bad advice as certainly our ADMB-RE software
> could handle this problem easily.  However one never knows exactly what
> sort of data people might use in a particular example that could lead to
> difficulties so I decided to code up a program that R users could test
> for this problem.  However R users are used to a different approach for
> model formulation so that it was difficult for the average R user to
> access the program. I approached Anders Nielsen who is both an
> experienced ADMB user and R user and asked him to write an interface in
> R which would make the program more accessible to R users. He created a
> package and the whole thing seems to have had some success with at least
> one PhD thesis based on calculations using it. The R code that Anders
> wrote is simply an interface which takes the R specification for the
> model and outputs a data file in the format the an ADMB program expects.
> The ADMB program is a stand alone exe. The R script then reads the ADMB
> output files and presents the results to the user in a more familiar R
> format. Now it appears at some revision someone put a GPL notice on this
> package although Anders states that he did not do so, and and he is
> certain that it was not originally included by him. In any event the R
> script is easily extracted from the package by those who know how to do
> so and we have no problem with making the ADMB-RE source to the  exe
> (TPL file) available. In fact the original was on our web site but was
> modified as we made to program more robust to deal with difficult data
> sets.  The compiled TPL file links with our proprietary libraries and we
> have no intention of providing the source for these, but that is exactly
> what Prof. Ripley seems to be demanding since he claims that he wants
> the program to run on his computer which it apparently does not do at
> present. Prof. Ripley seems to feel that he is a qualified spokesman for
> the open source community. I have no idea what the community at large
> feels about this.
>
> What follows is Hans Skaug's post with Prof. Ripley's reply.
>
> > On Mon, 22 May 2006, H. Skaug wrote:
> >
> >> > About glmmADMB and GPL:
> >> >
> >> > We were not very cautious when we put in the GPL statement.
> >> > What we wanted to say was that the use of glmmADMB is free, and
> >> > does not require a license for AD Model Builder.
> >
> > But that is not what you said, and you are legally and morally bound to
> > fulfill the promise you made.
> >
> >> > Am I correct in interpreting this discussion so that all
> >> > we have to do is to remove the "License: GPL" statement
> >> > from the DESCRIPTION file (and everywhere else it may occur),
> >> > and there will be no conflict between glmmADMB and the
> >> > rules of the R community?
> >
> > I have made a request under the GPL. `All' you have to do is to fulfill
> > it.
> >
> >> > We have temporarily withdrawn glmmADMB until this question has been
> >> > settled.
> >
> > You can withdraw the package, but it has already been distributed under
> > GPL, and those who received it under GPL have the right to
> redistribute it
> > under GPL, including the sources you are obliged to give them.  That's
> > part of the `freedom' that GPL gives.
> >
> >> > hans
> >> >
> >> >
> >> >
> >>> >> Brian Ripley wrote:
> >>> >>
> >>> >> The issue in the glmmADMB example is not if they were required
> to release
> >>> >> it under GPL (my reading from the GPL FAQ is that they probably
> were not,
> >>> >> given that communication is between processes and the R code is
> >>> >> interpreted).
> >> >
> >>> >> Rather, it is stated to be under GPL _but_ there is no source
> code offer
> >>> >> for the executables (and the GPL FAQ says that for anonymous FTP
> it should
> >>> >> be downloadable via the same site, and the principles apply
> equally to
> >>> >> HTTP sites).  As the executables are not for my normal OS and I
> would like
> >>> >> to exercise my freedom to try the GPLed code, I have requested
> the sources
> >>> >> from the package maintainer.
> >> >
> >> >
> >
> > -- Brian D. Ripley, [hidden email] Professor of Applied
> Statistics, http://www.stats.ox.ac.uk/~ripley/ University of Oxford,
> Tel: +44 1865 272861 (self) 1 South Parks Road, +44 1865 272866 (PA)
> Oxford OX1 3TG, UK Fax: +44 1865 272595
>
> Hans' post was an attempt to reach some sort of consensus with the R
> community so that users who so wished could continue to use the glmmADMB
> software.  So far this is the only response we have received. I guess it
> is up to the R community to decided whether Prof. Ripley speaks for all
> of you.
>
>     Cheers,
>
>      Dave
>



Dave,

While the background information is appreciated I think some of your
comments are not germane to the glmmADMB issue.  Here are my thoughts:

    1) Perceiving our reliance upon a small group of experts on the
       r-help list is a bit presumptuous.  Personally, I have several
       friends and colleagues elsewhere to rely upon.  I try not to
       wear out my welcome with them, just as I endeavor the same with
       the R-help list.

    2) Clearly, Prof. Ripley does not speak for the entire community and
       he doesn't appear to make that claim to in any of the material below
       or that I've seen in archives. He's one member exercising his right
       as a list member, developer, etc. to pursue an issue that he
       deems important.  (One need not even be an R user to challenge your
       choice of license and source code availability.)

       Clearly you have a right to state your opinions.  It just appears
       gratuitous when you do so in this manner.

    3) IMHO the status of the proprietary code is possibly in doubt from
       purely a legal perspective.

       Prior posts note your intent was to keep certain portions of the
       source code proprietary.  *I* think it is reasonable
       to agree that you intended this and attempted to communicated this.

       It is unclear how much rigor you applied to ensure your legal rights
       were protected when documenting your choice of license.

       However, withdrawing the glmmADMB package itself seems "a day late
       and a dollar short."  The package itself appears to be GPL'ed and it
       appears that Otter Research is aware of that.

    4) I agree w/ those comments made by Berwin Turlach and Marc Schwartz.

Otherwise, I would extend a general thank you for contributing an R package.
Although I don't use glmmADMB, your generosity as a contributor is noted
although
perhaps not always explicitly recognized.

I do hope that Otter Research finds a solution to its current predicament.

-jason

______________________________________________
[hidden email] mailing list
https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-help
PLEASE do read the posting guide! http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html