Re: the recent speech recognition thread on Fedora-devel, I am looking
at packaging up a few tools from http://www.nist.gov/speech/tools/
SPHERE in particular. However, the distribution contains no mention
of a license. A query about this was answered with a pointer to this
which says, "These World Wide Web pages are provided as a public
service by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
With the exception of material marked as copyrighted, information
presented on these pages is considered public information and may be
distributed or copied. Use of appropriate byline/photo/image credits
The SPHERE source distribution contains a directory, src/lib/sp, which
does contain code with copyright and license statements. However,
this is code that was written outside of NIST and appears to be
released under a variety of open source licenses. I will do a
thorough audit of that directory before proceeding. Assuming that
audit turns up no problems, what do you think of NIST's statement
above? Since the code they wrote contains no copyright statements,
are they declaring it public domain? I can ask for more information
if necessary, but I'd appreciate a hand with crafting the questions if
I hope this doesn't turn into the conversation I had with a prominent
computer scientist a couple of years ago. He distributes some
excellent software with no clear license. We had a conversation that
went something like this.
Me: "Under what license are you distributing this software?"
Him: "Argh! I hate it when people ask me that! I'm just doing
research and making the results of my research available to the
Me: "Yes, but the public doesn't know what they are allowed to do with
your software. That's what the license spells out."
Him: "They can do whatever they want with it. That's why I put it on
a web page!"
Me: "Great, would you mind just writing that in a license file and
including it with the software?"
Him: "I haven't got time for this nonsense. If you find the software
useful, then use it. If not, don't use it!"
[Conversation then goes in circles for the next 5 minutes until me gives up.]