From: John Stone (johns_at_ks.uiuc.edu)
Date: Thu Dec 16 2021 - 12:34:12 CST

Hi Nuno,
  We (UIUC) can't be held responsible for installations of other software on
third party end-users computers that we've never been involved with.

What you've got there is basically an app store of a kind, managed by a
different group, in a different university, in a different country,
governed by different laws, without any of our involvement. All of those
things make it a somewhat thorny problem for the UIUC lawyers.
Even setting half of those concerns aside, I honestly think even if it
was the VMD team doing this, that they would still have strong
reservations about doing an app store because they would likely require
that UIUC somehow be indemnified for damages resulting from potentially
malicious code/apps etc.
When a user installs things themselves, they take on the task of
vetting the app/plugin/script and they bear responsibility for the outcome.

Every year, I have to sign various forms for US government export
control and for US government agencies that install VMD, that state
that it does not allow end users "automatically install" things and
that it doesn't incorporate various kinds of export-restricted encryption
etc. If it did, they would prohibit VMD from being used on those government
systems. Without going into unimportant details, while these government
users are in the minority of the VMD user community, they are important
users, and I wouldn't want to have to maintain special non-standard VMD
distributions just for them.

Nothing prevents VMD users from installing your app store plugin, or any other
third party VMD plugins for themselves, and that's fine with us.
That is the whole idea of the plugin mechanism -- to allow anyone anywhere
to write VMD plugins/extensions and share them with anyone they want.

Even aside from the special complexities of managing an "app store" that
I listed above, we don't have the manpower to personally inspect/correct
and/or maintain more than a moderate number of VMD plugins contributed
by others. I would argue that we're already "saturated" by the work
involved in keeping the existing contributed plugins running with new
revs of Tcl, Python, (MacOS!) and so on. It's natural to me that
people are distributing plugins independently of VMD and/or UIUC,
and I both hope and expect that to continue.

Best,
  John Stone

On Thu, Dec 16, 2021 at 05:55:55PM +0000, Nuno Cerqueira wrote:
> Hello Artur
> Why don't you use the┬ VMDStore plug-in.┬ Have a look at:
> [1]https://biosim.pt/how-to-install-vmd-store/
> It was developed┬ by us with this purpose in mind. Share the plugin in our
> group and others that are interested in it.
> Have a look to it.
> This is a useful┬ plug-in that allows┬ the plugins to remain active and
> be used by everyone. Otherwise they┬ will be forgotten┬ and
> ultimately┬ not available.┬
> A lot of work has been done by several researchers to provide extra
> functionalities to VMD through┬ plug-ins. Unfortunatly, VMD development
> team has never paid much attention to it. VMDStore was our contribution to
> change this.
> If you need any help, please contact┬ us.
> regards,
> Nuno
> On Thu, Dec 16, 2021 at 3:16 PM Arthur Pereira da Fonseca
> <[2]arthurpfonseca3k_at_hotmail.com> wrote:
>
> Hello everyone,
>
> ┬
>
> I developed a program to help me run some analysis on a dcd MD. This
> program uses mostly VMD to perform such analysis. Now I want to
> distribute this program to my research group and other people
> interested. Looking at the VMD's license file I saw:
>
> ┬
>
> 2. Licensee may, at its own expense, create and freely distribute
> complimentary works that interoperate with the Software, directing
> others to
> the TCBG server to license and obtain the Software itself.
>
> ┬
>
> ┬ The problem is I'm deploying my program as a Docker container, and I
> need a binary VMD included. Is it possible? Can I verify that the user
> got a license for VMD? Is there any framework that I can use to validate
> an user?
>
> ┬
>
> References
>
> Visible links
> 1. https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://biosim.pt/how-to-install-vmd-store/__;!!DZ3fjg!ogBhsfFm5apUhx2aC1dXfGrcjCAP0CpFvBOBCLn8I8WoyMs7rdNc4PounJp2e2c5Bw$
> 2. mailto:arthurpfonseca3k_at_hotmail.com

-- 
NIH Center for Macromolecular Modeling and Bioinformatics
Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology
University of Illinois, 405 N. Mathews Ave, Urbana, IL 61801
http://www.ks.uiuc.edu/~johns/           Phone: 217-244-3349
http://www.ks.uiuc.edu/Research/vmd/