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Re: [License] Gsas-II

MARIE Alexandre <alexandre.marie@synchrotron-soleil.fr> writes:

> I would like to know if the license of Gsas-II is free to use.

Thank you for taking care to keep software free for all. Especially
thank you for posting the license text here for discussion.

> Here is the license :
> ______________________________________________________________________________________
>  General Structure Analysis System - II (GSAS-II)
>                          OPEN SOURCE LICENSE
> Copyright 2010, UChicago Argonne, LLC, Operator of Argonne National Laboratory 
> All rights reserved.
> GSAS-II may be used by anyone on a royalty-free basis. Use and
> redistribution, with or without modification, are permitted provided
> that the following conditions are met:

Explicitly grants license to resitribute in modified and unmodified
form. Good.

> * Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright
>   notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer.

This is a restriction that is conventionally considered acceptable.

> * Software changes, modifications, or derivative works should be noted
>   with comments and the author and organization's name.

This might be too restrictive; it effectively forbids anonymous
contribution and redistribution.

> * Distribution of changed, modified or derivative works based on
>   GSAS-II grants the GSAS-II copyright holder unrestricted permission
>   to include any, or all, new and changed code in future GSAS-II
>   releases.

This is, IIUC, met by granting every recipient (including GSAS-II) this
same license. This seems to be a weaker copyleft (one specific party
must receive the same license). I think this is okay, if imbalanced.

> * Redistributions that include binary forms must include all relevant
>   source code and reproduce the above copyright notice, this list of
>   conditions and the following disclaimers in the documentation and/or
>   other materials provided with the distribution.

This combines two requirements:

* A typical requirement to preserve the copyright information and
  license (good).

* A requirement that *every* distribution must come with source code.
  This may be too burdensome; for example, GPL allows the source to be
  omitted, requiring only that a recipient who *requests* source must
  receive it.

> * Neither the names of UChicago Argonne, LLC or the Department of
>   Energy nor the names of its contributors may be used to endorse or
>   promote products derived from this software without specific prior
>   written permission.

A typical requirement not to misrepresent the attribution of a modified
work. Good.

> * The software and the end-user documentation included with the
>   redistribution, if any, must include the following acknowledgment:
>   "This product includes software produced by UChicago Argonne, LLC
>   under Contract No. DE-AC02-06CH11357 with the Department of Energy."

This is a burden on certain forms of work. This might make the work

There are several problems with the license restrictions. They may make
the work effectively non-free.

I would recommend the copyright holders express their intent through a
more well-known free-software license like GPLv3 or Expat.

 \      “When I wake up in the morning, I just can't get started until |
  `\     I've had that first, piping hot pot of coffee. Oh, I've tried |
_o__)                                    other enemas...” —Emo Philips |
Ben Finney

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