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Re: Chemical modelling software

On Mon, Aug 21, 2000 at 04:08:49PM -0400, Peter S Galbraith wrote:
> Both `for non-commercial and non-military purposes' make it
> non-free.
> This looks okay for non-free.
> You might want to talk to them about it, but perhaps this is
> typical in your field (and the author has a hope of eventually
> making a pile of money from some company that want the software).

Thanks, you and others, for your comments.  I'll now write to the author of
viewmol and see what clarification he can make.  My gut feeling is he won't
mind redistributing modified code.

I think the attitude in the field is more or less one of "I didn't make any
money off writing this program, and I sure as heck don't won't *you* to make
any money off it instead of me".  To an extent, the academic world is about
sharing information, and so is usually quite compatible with the
free-software notion of sharing code.  Except for those who want to take
their academic work and make a company out of it, but not everyone plans to
do that, and I don't believe he does either (the program history indicates
it was written by a number of people, but first of all by a 16yo German
doing some work experience.  Doesn't really sound "potentially commerical"
in intent).

So I'll write to the author, and if he replies amicably, I might even
suggest he release the program under the GPL.  It's possible he simply isn't
aware of the GPL or its significance.  I'll ask first whether he supports
the distribution of the program in Debian in principle, and then explain to
him what "non-free" means and whether he's happy with that designation.



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