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Re: st: Dependencies in Stata ado-packages


From   Nick Cox <njcoxstata@gmail.com>
To   statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu
Subject   Re: st: Dependencies in Stata ado-packages
Date   Tue, 19 Jun 2012 09:27:18 +0100

My P.S. was evidently ambiguous. I had in mind that the _files_ of
somebody else's packages be copied as is to lie alongside yours on
your package site.

Richard is here discussing physical incorporation of code. Let's just
flag that copying non-trivial amounts of code absolutely requires the
explicit permission of the original author so long as the author is
contactable. It requires acknowledgment even if the author has died or
disappeared.  What is non-trivial has to remain a judgment call. In
cases of doubt, it's elementary: better to ask and not be sorry or
embarrassed or sued afterwards.

Nick

On Tue, Jun 19, 2012 at 5:01 AM, Richard Williams
<richardwilliams.ndu@gmail.com> wrote:
> At 08:20 PM 6/18/2012, Nick Cox wrote:
>
>> P.S. I would not recommend copying the borrowed files to your own
>> package files, even with the authors' permission. This can lead to
>> more problems than it solves as and when the borrowed package is later
>> modified.
>
>
> I think that is debatable. You can't count on authors of other routines to
> be careful not to break your program (especially since they may not even
> know your program requires their program). They might decide to change the
> syntax, update their program to require Stata 13, rename the program or
> function, or do various other things that might zap your program. Therefore,
> if the author doesn't object, it may be desirable to copy parts of their
> code into your program, with proper attribution.
>
> To deal with Nick's concern I would rename the copied section so as not to
> conflict with the package you are copying from, e.g. you don't want somebody
> calling your copied routine rather than the original.
>
> Of course, it may also depend on how much code you have to copy. I would
> guess that a function in moremata wouldn't require that much copying,
> whereas a major estimation routine might be a very different matter.
>
> Letting the author know that your program calls theirs might reduce the
> likelihood that they will inadvertently zap your program when they make
> changes to theirs.
>
>
> -------------------------------------------
> Richard Williams, Notre Dame Dept of Sociology
> OFFICE: (574)631-6668, (574)631-6463
> HOME:   (574)289-5227
> EMAIL:  Richard.A.Williams.5@ND.Edu
> WWW:    http://www.nd.edu/~rwilliam
>
>
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