[Numpy-discussion] Licensing question

Robert Kern robert.kern at gmail.com
Wed Aug 8 05:53:00 EDT 2012

On Wed, Aug 8, 2012 at 10:34 AM, David Cournapeau <cournape at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Wed, Aug 8, 2012 at 12:55 AM, Nathaniel Smith <njs at pobox.com> wrote:
>> On Mon, Aug 6, 2012 at 8:31 PM, Robert Kern <robert.kern at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> Those are not the original Fortran sources. The original Fortran sources are
>>> in the public domain as work done by a US federal employee.
>>> http://www.netlib.org/fftpack/
>>> Never trust the license of any code on John Burkardt's site. Track it down
>>> to the original sources.
>> Taken together, what those websites seem to be claiming is that you
>> have a choice of buggy BSD code or fixed GPL code? I assume someone
>> has already taken the appropriate measures for numpy, but it seems
>> like an unfortunate situation...
> If the code on John Burkardt website is based on the netlib codebase,
> he is not entitled to make it GPL unless he is the sole copyright
> holder of the original code.

He can certainly incorporate the public domain code and rerelease it
under whatever restrictions he likes, especially if he adds to it,
which appears to be the case. The original sources are legitimately
public domain, not just released under a liberal copyright license. He
can't "remove" the original code from the public domain, but that's
not what he claims to have done.

> I think the 'real' solution is to have a separate package linking to
> FFTW for people with 'advanced' needs for FFT. None of the other
> library I have looked at so far are usable, fast and precise enough
> when you go far from the simple case of double precision and 'well
> factored' size.


Robert Kern

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