Source code translation

This is a discussion on Source code translation within the General Discussions forums, part of the Community Boards category; Say you wrote a superb open source library called XXX in language YYY and share it on the net. Someday, ...

  1. #1
    Ugly C Lover audinue's Avatar
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    Source code translation

    Say you wrote a superb open source library called XXX in language YYY and share it on the net.

    Someday, some people notifiying you that they are translating (not porting) your great codes into language ZZZ.

    How do you feel about this?
    Just GET it OFF out my mind!!

  2. #2
    and the Hat of Guessing tabstop's Avatar
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    "Cool beans" is what I would say (but not if anyone could actually hear me, of course). Are they the ones making the careful distinction between translating and porting or are you?

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    Devil's Advocate SlyMaelstrom's Avatar
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    If you're keeping it open-source then you're giving others the opportunity and right to do this. It's really part of embracing the open-source culture for other users to be able to take your ideas and develop them in their own fashion.

    You have to recognize that some languages may provide distinct advantages over another language... so if someone goes out and writes a program in Java and some user recognizes that they can overcome some of the application's issues by re-writing it in C# or perhaps a language that the original developer is not proficient in... then it is a logical advantage to do so and shouldn't be seen as different from any other adjustment of the code like if someone rewrote one of your algorithms to be more efficient.
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    Ugly C Lover audinue's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tabstop View Post
    "Cool beans" is what I would say (but not if anyone could actually hear me, of course). Are they the ones making the careful distinction between translating and porting or are you?
    They are translating, not porting (a.k.a. wrapping).. In other words their program will always work without your original code.
    Just GET it OFF out my mind!!

  5. #5
    and the Hat of Guessing tabstop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by audinue View Post
    They are translating, not porting (a.k.a. wrapping).. In other words their program will always work without your original code.
    Well, but that's what porting is too. I'm guessing translating vs. porting will have somewhat different connotations to different people, but to me porting just means that you do exactly the same things in exactly the same way, just in a different language, while translating means that you try to do the same things in whatever way works the best in the new language (for instance, going from C to C++, porting might mean turning malloc into new, while translating might mean turning that dynamic array into a vector).

    EDIT: Although, yes, you do more often hear people use "port" in the sense of moving from one machine to another, where you have to change all the system-specific stuff but the base code remains the same. Either way, if this (porting/translating/whatever) is a problem for you somehow, then why did you open-source it in the first place? This is the most natural form of "derived work" there is....
    Last edited by tabstop; 09-05-2009 at 12:30 PM.

  6. #6
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    They concept here is that you shared it.

    Unless you clearly stated your desire for people not to do so by including the proper copyright, not only you can't do a thing about it, but you also encouraged and implicitly stated your desire for people to use your code as they see fit, including their ability to use your code and make money of it.
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    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  7. #7
    Frequently Quite Prolix dwks's Avatar
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    I would consider it an honour. Obviously if someone's going to all the trouble to port/translate/convert your code, whether to another machine or another language, they like it. Or find it useful. Or something.
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    Ugly C Lover audinue's Avatar
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    Nice responses.

    I love to read and examining people's codes in many languages nowadays, and just translate it into my current project's language, hell yeah, I'm just too lazy to learn the concepts behind it (especially something with ugly math symbols).

    I tought by doing so, I'll be called plagiarism or something.
    Just GET it OFF out my mind!!

  9. #9
    Malum in se abachler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tabstop View Post
    Well, but that's what porting is too.
    Porting is moving code from one architecture to another, usually while retaining the same code base, i.e. same language.

    Translating is taking it from one language to another.
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  10. #10
    Devil's Advocate SlyMaelstrom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by audinue View Post
    (especially something with ugly math symbols).
    ... but those are the most fun.

    Warning: Link contains strong language... yada yada yada...
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    At least they are notifying you, and hopefully giving you credit. Note that opensource code can still have copyright. The BSD license, for example, says you need to credit the original project (I believe).

    I too would feel honoured.

    That is the point of open source projects. You can tweak everything to your liking (including porting it to a different language).

  12. #12
    C++ Witch laserlight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by audinue
    I tought by doing so, I'll be called plagiarism or something.
    It would be plagiarism if you claimed that the translated work was entirely your own original work. Additionally, it would be copyright infringement if you have no license to perform that translation yourself.
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    spurious conceit MK27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyberfish View Post
    At least they are notifying you, and hopefully giving you credit. Note that opensource code can still have copyright. The BSD license, for example, says you need to credit the original project (I believe).
    The GPL also stipulates this *and* that the GPL must be applied to the derived work, ie, you can use the source, but you must release whatever you do with it as itself open source licensed by the GPL.

    I don't know how applicable this is to a translation, however, since that would not include any of the original source. I think people who copy a concept, even down to very fine details -- such as the linux kernel is a copy of the unix kernel concept -- are not, in fact, bound by you having copyrighted the code. Linux does not include any non-original source code, so it did not violate any copyrights.

    Quote Originally Posted by audinue View Post
    I tought by doing so, I'll be called plagiarism or something.
    This is a pretty straightforward distinction. If I am writing an essay, and during my research I find a similar essay and I decide to say:

    A similar perspective has been advanced by Dr. Smith, "notice the quotes"
    You do not need Dr. Smith's permission, but you do need to respect his/her authorship of public, copyrighted work. If you do this:

    A similar perspective could be that...
    Without mentioning Dr. Smith, etc., you are now plagiarizing.
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  14. #14
    C++ Witch laserlight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MK27
    I don't know how applicable this is to a translation, however, since that would not include any of the original source. I think people who copy a concept, even down to very fine details -- such as the linux kernel is a copy of the unix kernel concept -- are not, in fact, bound by you having copyrighted the code.
    That is a good point. If we are talking about a novel, translation from the original language of the novel to another language is an exclusive right of the copyright holder (at least in the jurisdictions that I know of). It seems to me that the same would apply where one "translates" a software library written in one programming language into a library written in another programming language. This would be different from writing another library, based on similiar ideas, in another programming language, in which case the copying of the ideas might be restricted by patents.
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  15. #15
    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
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    I would consider it an honour. Obviously if someone's going to all the trouble to port/translate/convert your code, whether to another machine or another language, they like it. Or find it useful. Or something.
    Unfortunately honor does not pay the bills.

    If you did not protect your code via a license or copyright and you shared it with others then there is nothing you can do. If you want to protect your code then it's actually very simple. License and copyright it and by all means do not share it. You can share ideas from within it, around it, etc., but nothing says you have to share the code.

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