[BioPython] Phylogenetics trees

Jeffrey Chang jchang@SMI.Stanford.EDU
Thu, 31 Aug 2000 15:28:59 -0700 (PDT)

On Thu, 31 Aug 2000, Andrew Dalke wrote:

[Rick Ree]
> >However I would really rather keep all the code in mavric under the GPL. 
> >At the risk of raising hackles I must admit I like the requirement that
> >modifications to the code be made available-- it appeals to my ideals
> >about how science should be done, i.e. free and open access to ideas and
> >improvements (sorry to be so melodramatic :) 
> I can understand the desire that modifications to the code be made
> available.  I've also released code with that requirement.  However,
> I did it under the LGPL, which doesn't have the clause mandating that
> all other code be under the same license.  At the very least, this
> allows use with other free, but incompatible, licenses.

Has anyone looked at the new python license yet?  They've been working
with FSF and Stallman to make one that's compatible with GPL.  Last I
checked, they were trying to work out one last sticking point.

Unfortunately, I'm not familiar with the terms of that license.  If anyone
knows anything about it, and whether or not it would be a *good thing* for
biopython, please let us know!

> It's also not true that changes to the code will be distributed even
> if the program is available for public use.  I've given the example
> of web sites which offer access to modified programs with special
> features.  The code is GPL'ed, but the use doesn't fall under the
> licence's definition of distribution.  Also, if someone really wants
> to turn a GPL library into a LGPL-like use (where their code is not
> affected by the GPL restrictions) then it's pretty easy to put a
> CORBA or SOAP wrapper around the library and use it from elsewhere.

Yes.  The GPL is mostly targetted towards end user applications, where
modifications are generally bug fixes or feature additions.  The core
purpose of the application isn't changed.  For libraries, it's a bit more
problematic since libraries are usually the infrastructure, rather than
the actual "meat" of the program.  There's many different applications
that can be built on top of the library, and it seems odd to me to require
people to GPL anything that uses a library.