Re: LaTeX & DFSG
On Sat, 2002-07-20 at 11:01, William F Hammond wrote:
> Jeff Licquia <firstname.lastname@example.org>, who seems to be the Debian spokesman,
Uh, oh. Does this mean I get blamed for stuff now? :-)
> writes in email@example.com at 19 Jul 2002 16:09:59 -0500,
> > - A program is modifiable if a user has the legal right to change the
> > program's behavior in an arbitrary way without excessive inconvenience
> > or requirements.
> Absolutely. The LaTeX world has always had that. There are, however,
> both good and bad approaches.
> I hope we are straight on the distinction between users and package
> or class authors. Everybody in the LaTeX world has freedom, but
> the mechanisms for breakage-free exercise of that freedom depend on
> the role.
> > Now, the sticky word here is "excessive". In one respect, LD_PRELOAD
> > can be used to change any program's behavior no matter the license, but
> > I think we'd agree that this would be an excessive requirement.
> > Taken at a "stupid level", your requirement for filename changes also
> > seems excessive. At face value, the cascading change requirements
> > (change references in this other file, which is also a change requiring
> > rename, which means more references to the new file have to be changed,
> > etc.) would make it nearly impossible to practically make changes to
> > LaTeX. Further, it's not clear whether further modifications beyond the
> > first set require yet more name changes, for reasons I've discussed
> > elsewhere.
> I don't follow the allusion to cascading change requirements.
> Could someone pose a simple example? Or was the cascade a nightmare?
OK, here's what I was thinking.
Let's imagine something like LaTeX licensed under something like the
LPPL, and let's also assume that I'm going to hack it.
So, I edit "article.sty". OK, no problem; just rename it to
Oops, now things aren't working right. "book.sty" references
"article.sty", and it's pulling in the old one. That's not right, so I
edit "book.sty" to reference "article-hacked.sty". Since this is a
change, I also need to change "book.sty" to "book-hacked.sty".
Shucks. There's a reference to "book.sty" in "brochure.sty". Change
the reference to "brochure.sty", rename to "brochure-hacked.sty",
Darnit, "latex.cnf" refers to "brochure.sty"! Edit "latex.cnf"...
Now, I can see your objection a mile away. Remember that I said that
this was on a "stupid level", as in "All I know about my rights
concerning modification of this program is what I read in the LPPL."
Also, take my following paragraphs into account, where I recognize that
this isn't the whole story.
Also, don't take my specific files seriously; I haven't the faintest
clue how LaTeX's internals work. The point is that I need to be able to
hack LaTeX, and at some level, there's bound to be internal references
to other files which need to change.
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