[EpiData-list] Epidata Recommend

epidata-list at lists.umanitoba.ca epidata-list at lists.umanitoba.ca
Tue Jan 23 02:53:28 CST 2007

Dear Tim,

Thank's for that very  documented summary.
As you mention it , "available to anyone at no cost"  is the first issue 
but definitively open source tools is at least the goal, but probably 
also a way to  achieve the goal of a public health tools. (imho)


epidata-list at lists.umanitoba.ca a écrit :
> epidata-list at lists.umanitoba.ca wrote:
>> Dear all,
>> You will find here an interesting comapraison of  free tools for
>> Outbreak Investigation
>> http://www.eurosurveillance.org/ew/2007/070111.asp#4
>> And of course Epidata is recommended :)
>> Thank's to all participating and specialy to Jens !
>> Gilles
> Unfortunately the authors of that article have confused "public domain"
> with "available to anyone at no cost".
> Software is only  "in the public domain" if no-one asserts copyright
> over it - therefore it is owned by no-one , and consequently anyone can
> create modified versions and assume ownership over those modified
> versions and sell or distribute them to others.
> "Public domain" software, which is quite rare, should not be confused
> with "free, open-source software" (FOSS, sometimes also referred to as
> "free/libre open-source software" (FLOSS). For FOSS, copyright ownership
> is always strongly asserted and protected. However, the copyright
> holders of FOSS also grant a license to others which allows them to use,
> modify and re-distribute the software to others, provided that the FOSS
> licensing arrangements and the copyright ownership remain unchanged. The
> underlying source code is also made available to permit others to
> modify or improve the software as they see fit. In practice, these
> arrangements tend to encourage co-operative improvement of software
> projects, rather than competitive splitting of projects into
> incompatible derivatives, although the latter can and does sometimes
> happen. The main effect of FOSS licensing is to remove the monopoly
> which the copyright holder otherwise has on the fixing of bugs and the
> creation of improved or customised versions.
> An example of public domain software in the health sphere is the
> hospital information system VistA created by the US Department of
> Veterans Affairs. In theory, parts of Epi Info written by US Federal
> government employees at CDC are, under US law, in the public domain.
> However attempts by various parties over the last decade to obtain
> access to the underlying source (program) code for the theoretically
> public domain parts of Epi Info have been unsuccessful. In addition some
> parts of the original Epi Info and large parts of Epi Info for Windows
> were written by or belong to parties outside the US CDC and thus are not
> even theoretically public domain. Thus Epi Info is at best partially
> public domain in a theoretical sense, but in practice is not, because
> CDC assert copyright of the software as a whole in the only form in
> which it can be freely downloaded from their Web site.
> EpiData is definitely not "public domain". Copyright over all parts of
> it is asserted  by the EpiData Association.
> Neither Epi Info or EpiData are free, open source software (FOSS) - they
> are not provided under a FOSS license which permits enhancement or
> modification or redistribution to others, nor is the programming source
> code needed to make such enhancements available. I understand that there
> are long-term plans to release EpiData and its underlying source code
> under a free, open source license, but the timeframe for this change in
> licensing is unknown at this stage.
> Both Epi Info and EpiData are available to anyone at no cost. This is
> probably the issue of greatest immediate interest to most
> epidemiologists and other public health practitioners. However, in the
> long-term, free, open source licensing of epidemiological and public
> health tools should, in theory, lead to greater collaboration over their
> development and thus faster progress.
> Tim C
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Dr Gilles DESVE
Directeur technique
Tél : 01 53 02 40 61

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