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Re: Draft new DFSG

On Wed, Nov 25, 1998 at 06:45:59AM -0800, Joseph Carter wrote:
> That looks very non-free anyway.  No provision for patches even.

The question of TeX copyright is obscure.  The TeX source has a
license saying, in effect, no changes except via special kinds of
patch files.

However, the book containing the typeset sources to TeX (written by
Knuth himself, so this is authoritative) says that the code is in
public domain.  The name TeX is a trademark of AMS and one is allowed
to use it only of software that passes a certain test suite (the TRIP

My interpretation of this all is this: The file tex.web (and its
direct copies) must not be modified (due to the notice on top of the
file).  For producing working copies of TeX, a change file is allowed.
However, (due to the public domain notice) everyone is permitted to
use the code content of the TeX sources as one pleases, as long as one
does not violate AMS' trademark of TeX.

Remember that tex.web contains not only the source code TeX, but also
elaborate English text explaining the program; the non-free license
seems to apply to the explanation and the whole containing both the
code and the explanation, but not to the code as a separate work.

I'd say TeX is free, but I would never recommend anybody to use a
Knuthian license (as it has been called).

%%% Antti-Juhani Kaijanaho % gaia@iki.fi % http://www.iki.fi/gaia/ %%%

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