[seqfan] Re: The OEIS mentioned on Quomodocumque

Russ Cox rsc at swtch.com
Mon Dec 6 00:27:54 CET 2010

I replied to the blog post (the reply has not been approved yet).
I have copied the response below.


This is quite a bit blown out of proportion.

The OEIS never had a license before. It was available as a file on a
web server, copyrighted by AT&T, with no explicit license granting
anyone redistribution rights, though of course people did anyway. The
situation was murky at best.

The OEIS recently transferred ownership from AT&T to the newly
established OEIS Foundation, and more recently transferred editing
mechanisms from “mail changes to Neil” to a web-based, collaborative,
wiki-like editing system. These have both been very big transitions
for the OEIS, and neither is yet complete.

As part of transitioning to ownership by the new OEIS Foundation, we
(the trustees) added an explicit license. The fact that it grants
anything at all makes it less restrictive than what was there before,
but we recognize that it is not right yet. William Stein raised some
valid objections to the license. We definitely think that the uses he
raises should be allowed, so the license will have to change. The OEIS
Foundation Board has been discussing alternate licenses for the past
few days.

That said, the OEIS is 45 years old and intends to be a lasting
reference work; it does not move at “internet speed”. The transitions
I mentioned above have themselves already been going on for over a
year. I am sure that we will end up with the right license, one that
works for the OEIS and works for its users, Sage and William Stein
among them. But it will probably take a few weeks, maybe even into
January due to the upcoming holidays.

Please be patient. All will turn out right.

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