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R packages with unlimited licenses

I had an interesting email today saying that developers at the writer’s company wanted to use one of my packages, but weren’t allowed because it was under an unlimited license.

I release quite a few of my packages under an unlimited licence, at least for toy projects and immature packages. In those cases, letting users do what they want is more important to me than the fairness of, for example, the GPL.

(assertive is a notable exception, because it’s taken a lot of work, and also because it contains some RStudio code.)

Anyway, the lady who wrote to me requested that I release my package under a dual license to enable her staff to use it.

My alternate solution is more elegant: since the license is unlimited, you can simply download the package source, edit the DESCRIPTION file to change the license to whatever you want, and use it as you see fit.

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  1. 27th August, 2015 at 13:57 pm

    This sounds really interesting but I can’t quite figure out what the problem with an unlimited licence is. I’ve read the first page of Google hits but it mostly seems to be about Oracle and limited licences and I just don’t quite grasp it.

    Any chance of a quick summary of why the request would have been made? Sorry if I’m being a bit dense.

    • 16th September, 2015 at 6:28 am

      I don’t think that there’s any real problem; it was more a case of “our company allows, this, this, and that licence; ‘Unlimited’ isn’t on the list”.

  2. zacharymayer
    27th August, 2015 at 14:31 pm

    The MIT license is also very permissive, and a little more “standard.”

  3. 28th August, 2015 at 5:15 am

    If you want your package used, give it a well-known open source license like MIT or BSD. GPL is OK for some users but many businesses will balk at it.

  4. 27th May, 2017 at 21:29 pm

    Hey Richie, I was googling for “r package dual license” and got here…. not quite what I was looking for, but it was an enjoyable short read 🙂

  1. 27th August, 2015 at 4:20 am
  2. 27th August, 2015 at 4:23 am

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