as a subscriber to the list of Prospero users today I have received this
message from the Prior Health Sciences Library (PHSL):
> The Prior Health Sciences Library has made the decision to discontinue
> distribution and use of Version 2.0 of its Prospero software.
> As of September 8th, 2003, this version of Prospero is no longer available
> and will not be supported or used by the Library in the future and
> any license previously granted by its authors is hereby terminated
> and revoked. All users of Version 2.0 of the Prospero Software are
> immediately required to discontinue use and distribution of the software.
> As of September 29th, 2003, the Library will no longer be able to send or
> receive documents to or from Version 2.0 of the Prospero Software.
> Future Development of Prospero will continue and information concerning
> its development and use is posted elsewhere on this Web site.
As you probably know, Prospero is a library software to allow electronic
Document Delivery through the web.
Reading the statement quoted above my first thought was "Today is the
1st of April ... Prospero is GPL'd and many universities have chosen it
for that reason ...", but the same statement appears in the home page
of the site http://bones.med.ohio-state.edu/prospero/.
To the best of my knoledge, Prospero was developed from the open-code of
the Yale Library Electronic Document Delivery service (EDD), in its turn
derived from DocView and DocMorph (National Library of Medicine) and
from WebEDD (Marshall University Medical Library.)
As the PHSL stated in the FAQ about Prospero in its site:
> Q. Why give Prospero away?
> A. Good question. Our library administration often wonders that one.
> The Prospero project has no budget.
> By making the product open source enable libraries to create electronic
> document delivery services when they are needed, not when they can
> afford the software.
> Also we can't. Prospero make use of existing open source software, which
> by licence, we can not charge a fee.
(Don't search for the FAQ now: it seems to have been removed from the site.)
I posted a reply to the list (... ah! The list is now moderated and I
have to wait for the answers ...) hoping for a clarifying explanation
from the PHSL.
I think that while they have the right to no longer support the
development of Prospero and/or to start a new non-GPL project on a new
basis, they absolutely can not require the users of version 2.0 "to
immediatly discontinue use and distribution of the software" without
But maybe I misunderstood their words or they simply didn't mean what
they stated... Does anybody knows something more about the future of
University of Padua Italy
From: Daniel Chudnov <dchud@um...> - 2003-09-10 15:45:50
On Wed, 2003-09-10 at 04:22, Gianluca Drago wrote:
> as a subscriber to the list of Prospero users today I have received this
> message from the Prior Health Sciences Library (PHSL):
This was indeed a shock. If nothing else, PHSL owed its community a
better explanation, and some lead time before attempting to cut off
support like that.
I don't quite understand whether they have the right to revoke the
license and require users to discontinue use immediately. I've made
some inquiries about this, but I'd advise other interested parties to do
the same (i.e., call your own lawyers! :).
> To the best of my knoledge, Prospero was developed from the open-code of
> the Yale Library Electronic Document Delivery service (EDD), in its turn
> derived from DocView and DocMorph (National Library of Medicine) and
> from WebEDD (Marshall University Medical Library.)
To be precise, Yale's EDD software, primitive though it was, was
developed from scratch at the source level. We developed it at Yale
after seeing a presentation from the Marshall folks at an AMIA
conference, who were, like Yale, inspired by Frank Walker's group's
WebEDD work at the NLM (but not their code). The Marshall folks weren't
interested in sharing their code at the time, so we wrote one in-house.
We released our code, including a VB-based frontend and perl backend
scripts, all under the GPL. The perl backend scripts from Yale's EDD
were then re-released by PHSL within their Prospero package, which had
its own GUI frontend; I'm not sure whether the original backend scripts
still live in any similar form in Prospero 2.0.