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Re: Proposed solution to free/non-free Debate -- Please Read!

>>>>> "MS" == Manoj Srivastava.

 MS> ps. If we do change the DFSG, I vote we make the
 MS> no-modified-source-without-rename packages non-free as well. I do
 MS> think, now, that the DFSG is not free enough.

If I remember it well this would exclude LaTeX (base LaTeX and the vast
majority of LaTeX's standard packages) and TeX itself.

I would regard this as a very *bad* thing.

I understand your concerns about it, but I also understand it would be
disastrous, from a (La)TeX viewpoint, if someone was allowed to, say,
distribute modified cm fonts under the same name (*), since the same
(La)TeX source would produce very different document at different TeX
installation (changing font metrics means to change the way TeX break
lines and pages, could result in badly overfull or underfull boxes, etc.).
Or, if someone was allowed to distribute a modified Babel hyphenation
table, maybe totally messed up, under the same name: a very good written
document could become a completely unreadable one.

[(*): It did happen in the past, check the "important message to TeX
users" by Don Knuth on http://www.tug.org/.]

Think of it as if a Linux Distribution was shipped with cp and rm
interchanged, or if a C compiler was shipped with = and == interchanged.
While there's no way to prevent the latters (other that not installing
such nasty things), (La)TeX authors choose to forbid the former.

So, while I generally regard no-modified-source-without-rename packages as
evil, there *are* macroscopic, well motivated, exception: (La)TeX is very
important to exchange *formal*ideas* in a very portable way, and, if
someone wants to change it, he/she should be allowed and blessed, but it
would definitively better for us if he/she choose a different name.

I really think we should regard (La)TeX as being free in DFSG sense.

Davide G. M. Salvetti (A proud Debian GNU/Linux user and developer.)
FidoNet: 2:332/617.33      HAM: IW5DZC [JN53fr]      KeyID: 2F617F71
    Good Operating Systems should have full sources available.
Have you ever tried Debian GNU/Linux?       (http://www.debian.org/)

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