[linux-elitists] [AlanMcNaught@dial.pipex.com: RE: [InChI-discuss] Re: InChI software license]

Eugen Leitl eugen@leitl.org
Wed Oct 5 02:18:57 PDT 2005


Any license wonks here? This is pretty important.

----- Forwarded message from Alan <AlanMcNaught@dial.pipex.com> -----

From: Alan <AlanMcNaught@dial.pipex.com>
Date: Wed, 5 Oct 2005 09:34:45 +0100
To: inchi-discuss@lists.sourceforge.net
Cc: 'Steve Heller' <steve@hellers.com>
Subject: RE: [InChI-discuss] Re: InChI software license
X-Mailer: Microsoft Office Outlook, Build 11.0.6353
Reply-To: inchi-discuss@lists.sourceforge.net

Dear Rich and other inchi-discuss members

The project registered on SourceForge is to "develop facilities for using
and applying the InChI algorithm"; any resulting applications would then be
available under the Artistic Licence. As you would expect, a previous
application to include the InChI code itself in a more comprehensive project
was turned down because of the nature of the present InChI licence.

As Geoff points out, I said in June that the matter of the InChI license
could be reconsidered, and that I would be happier to do this when we were
able to make conformance-testing routines available. This work is not yet
complete. However, I will be talking to various people about changing the
InChI licence during the next few weeks, and should appreciate any advice on
what OS licence might be most appropriate, bearing in mind some remaining
anxiety about preserving the integrity of the InChI code.

With best wishes

Alan McNaught

-----Original Message-----
From: inchi-discuss-admin@lists.sourceforge.net
[mailto:inchi-discuss-admin@lists.sourceforge.net] On Behalf Of Rich Apodaca
Sent: 05 October 2005 01:53
To: inchi-discuss@lists.sourceforge.net
Subject: Re: [InChI-discuss] Re: InChI software license

On Mon, 26 Sep 2005 16:19:16 -0400, Geoffrey Hutchison wrote
> Dear Alan,
> (and the rest of the InChI discussion list)
> 
> I wrote to you this summer about the problems with the current InChI 
>  software license. The current license is unfortunately not 
> compatible  with open source software, such as Open Babel, CDK,
>  JOELib, etc. This  means that while Open Babel has already prepared 
> code to generate  InChIs now, the upcoming Open Babel 2.0 release 
> cannot use it. This  means that Perl and Python chemistry software 
> cannot easily use InChI  either. (Babel 2.0 will include a "wrapper" 
> which will enable Perl  and Python to use the entire Babel library.)

Another consideration is the terms of SourceForge project registration
(first
page of project registration form under 
"Open Source Definition"):

"The term "Open Source" is defined by the Open Source Initiative (OSI) in
their Open Source Definition. Only Open Source projects may be hosted on
SourceForge.net. Projects are expected to meet the requirements of the Open
Source Definition and abide by the spirit of that definition. With this in
mind, it is important to understand that projects hosted on SourceForge.net
are expected to release their source code (as per Clause 2 of the Open
Source
Definition) -- projects may not make binary-only releases. It is also
important to understand that, once released, we feel the importance of
ensuring the long-term availability of source code. We have strict policies
regarding the removal of project data."

Clearly, any project hosted on SourceForge (as InChI is) must release its
code
under a license compatible with the OSI's definition (see:
http://opensource.org/docs/definition.php). The current InChI license
appears
to fail this test on more than one count. I think most would agree that the
quid pro quo that SourceForge is offering is that they will give free web
services in exchange for projects that conform to the OSI defininion.

Consider paragraph 4 of the OSI "Open Source" definition as one possible
point
of contention:

"The license may restrict source-code from being distributed in modified
form
only if the license allows the distribution of "patch files" with the source
code for the purpose of modifying the program at build time. The license
must
explicitly permit distribution of software built from modified source code.
The license may require derived works to carry a different name or version
number from the original software."

I noticed that InChI selected the "Artistic License"
(http://opensource.org/licenses/artistic-license.php) in order to fulfil the
SourceForge requirement for an OSI-compliant license during project
registration. Does this mean that users are free to use the InChI software
under the Artistic License? If so, then this closes the issue. I'm not a fan
of the Artisic License, but it does comply with the OSI's definition.

cheers,
rich


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----- End forwarded message -----
-- 
Eugen* Leitl <a href="http://leitl.org">leitl</a>
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