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[Caml-list] Copyright Clarifications
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Date: -- (:)
From: Xavier Leroy <xavier.leroy@i...>
Subject: Re: [Caml-list] Copyright Clarifications
> [Licensing conditions for the "bignum" library used by OCaml's "num"
>  library]

You're correct that these conditions are a bit of a problem.  The
license you quote is that from the original BigNum distribution in the
late 80's, although the code OCaml uses was later improved at INRIA.

As you noticed, the BigNum code is copyright Digital and INRIA.  If it
were just for INRIA, that code would have been put under a standard
open source license a long time ago.  The problem is on the Digital
side: there have been a long chain of events (Digital PRL lab closed;
Digital acquired by Compaq; Compaq acquired by HP) that makes it
nearly impossible to deal with the copyright holders.

There are several ways to address this problem, such as replacing
BigNum by GMP (the low-level functions of GMP match very closely
BigNum's API), but this will take a while.  

In the meantime, users who are concerned about a potential licensing
problem for a commercial application can also consider other Caml
arbitrary-precision arithmetic libraries, such as MLGMP and Numerix
(see the Hump, section "Mathematics", at caml.inria.fr).  Feel free to
contact us (caml@inria.fr) directly if this licensing issue is a real
show-stopper for your application.

- Xavier Leroy

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