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Old 6th June 2018
Funkygoby Funkygoby is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 57
Default Cloning a commercial software

A friend of mine is getting close to defend is doctoral thesis. For this purpose, he needs experimentals results involving people going through a test where they have to associate words with categories.
(The subject is presented with a succession of words and he has to choose whether the word belong to cat A or cat B by pressing 'E' or 'I' respectively)

Since his lab refused to purchase a licence fom the software that allows to pass such tests, he asked me if creating the software from scrach would be possible.

I spend 2 evenings writing a prototype. Then we met and managed to replicate the software UI quite exactly, for fun.
The result is ~300LoC of Python3/tkinter (including a lot of comment + strings in french and english) so not much of a challenge.


My question is
: What are the legal implications doing this?
From the results I gathered, I can't seem to draw a clear answer for my case.
- The protocol of the test comes from scientific articles, so We are in fact implementing a scientific protocol.
- My program doesn't reuse the original's software API. You provide a small .csv containing the test, and results are spat out in another .csv. Quite basic.
- The UI is identical, for the sake of it. I could change colors, font, etc maybe?
- My program is FOSS (GPL3'ed)
- So far I not making profit from my program. Maybe I could sell support for it (port it as a webapp, port it to macos, etc...)?

I consider that any program used to create scientific results should be open-source. Peer review, you know...
Does any of you have any experience with such matters? Cloning an existing software?

Thank you.

TL;DR: I cloned a proprietary software's UI that allows to run psychological tests. My version is FOSS. What are the risks?

Last edited by Funkygoby; 6th June 2018 at 04:17 PM.
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