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RE: NONMEM 7 Update

From: Alison Boeckmann <alisonboeckmann>
Date: Fri, 03 Jul 2009 14:30:32 -0700

Dear all,

The term "open source" has been used in connection with NONMEM. This is
not correct. A better term might be "source distribution".

For the definition of "open source", please see

NONMEM distribution never complied with any of the rules, e.g., free
redistribution and derived works, nor was it intended to comply with
the spirit of open source. The code was always protected via copyright
and a strict license agreement (see below).

Some historical background: the first version of NONMEM (ca. 1980) was
distributed as pre-compiled binaries for IBM mainframes. Stuart decided
later to distribute as source only because it allowed NONMEM to be run
on more platforms. Comments were stripped to help it fit on the smaller
media (mag tapes; floppies) of the time. Did any users ever look at
the source code to understand what NONMEM was doing, or contact Stuart
to say "the algorithm in such and such a subroutine could be improved,
here is my suggestion"? Maybe, but Stuart did not distribue the source
code to invite collaboration. I believe that, had there been some way
of distributing NONMEM in a form that would allow it to be installed on
all platforms, but without providing the source code, Stuart would have
done so, and Lewis would have agreed.

Perhaps there will be a loss to the NONMEM community and to science when
the source is no longer distributed, but it is not "open source" as such
that is being lost. As Tom Ludden pointed out to me, "The new methods
have all been previously published. Only the specific implementations
of the methods are protected, not the science related to their

Here are some of the provisions of the license agreement that was used
when UCSF distributed the code. As you can see, they were not at all in
the spirit of open source software, and do not allow anyone to take
NONMEM and develop it on their own.

 2.1 REGENTS grants to LICENSEE a non-transferable, non-exclusive
   license, under REGENTS' Copyright and/or license to use, for
   internal use only, LICENSED PRODUCTS. No right to sublicense
   REGENTS' LICENSED PRODUCTS is included herein and such right is
   expressly withheld.


 3.1 LICENSEE shall have the right to copy and modify the LICENSED
   PRODUCTS for use on a single computer of LICENSEE provided that any
   portion thereof included in a modified work shall remain subject to
   all terms and conditions of this Agreement. LICENSEE agrees to take
   all steps necessary to ensure that the LICENSED PRODUCTS, or any
   portion thereof, in any form, are not disclosed to others by
   LICENSEE. LICENSEE warrants that all individuals having access to the
   LICENSED PRODUCTS under this Agreement shall observe and perform this
   nondisclosure covenant, and that the LICENSEE will establish adequate
   procedures for this purpose.

11.1 LICENSEE agrees that, should this license not be renewed within
   thirty (30) days after its anniversary date, LICENSEE will return all
   LICENSED PRODUCTS to REGENTS and will destroy all other copies of
   LICENSED PRODUCTS and any derivative works of LICENSED PRODUCTS
   LICENSEE may have in his possession.
  Alison Boeckmann
Received on Fri Jul 03 2009 - 17:30:32 EDT

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