Bug#183860: RMS's comment on this bug is mostly irrelevant. :-/
Scripsit Nathanael Nerode <email@example.com>
> Russ Allbery wrote:
> > Nathanael Nerode <firstname.lastname@example.org> writes:
> Not quite. The TeX macros are combined with the texinfo document, and
> TeX uses the result to produce a DVI or PostScript doument.
Yes. But the output of TeX contains no creative elements from
texinfo.tex and therefore is not a derivate of texinfo.tex.
>> The texinfo program (texinfo.tex or the Perl texinfo script) is fed
>> to an interpretor (TeX or Perl), takes the documentation as input,
>> and uses the functionality of that interpretor to generate some
> Except that's not actually the way it works.
It is exactly the way it works.
> texinfo.tex is \include'd by the texinfo document.
That is how the goal "run this program with that input" is most easily
achieved in the TeX language. This technical detail is legally
unimportant. What counts is the end result and the intentions of the
> The situation is *exactly* parallel to header files in C, which are
> #include'd by files using them.
> If texinfo.tex can be \included without subjecting the combination and
> the resulting object file to the GPL, then any C header file under the
> GPL can be #include'd without subjecting the combination and the
> resulting DVI or PostScript file to the GPL.
No. You cannot validly generalize from *one* *specific* TeX macro
package to "*any* C header file".
> Either there needs to be a clear distinction between the two cases,
There are no clear distinctions in this area. Live with it. Some
particular *cases* are clear, though, even if there is a grey area
> (The ideal license would state that \include'ing texinfo.tex is
> considered normal use and not subject to the license.
That is not necessary. It follows immediately from basic principles
for anyone who know how the language works and what the program does.
> Uh, right, except texinfo.tex isn't part of TeX. TeX can't tell the
> difference between it and the file which \include's it;
A human being, such as a lawyer, a judge, or a Debian maintainer,
*can* tell the difference, and that is what matters legally. Law is
about what humans know and do, not about what machines can be thought
> Well, if that's the case, then the combination of C header files (the
> GPL'ed 'program') and your program (the 'data' being used by the
> compiler to generate a .o file) is 'just an accident of implementation
> irrelevant to licensing concerns since it happens internal to the CC
> process', in your words.
Thay may well be the case if the header file contains no code that
actually gets embedded in the .o file.
> Hmm. Texinfo.tex is concatenated with the texinfo source. The
> concatenated result is then run through the "tex" program. The result
> contains hunks of (transformed) material from texinfo.tex,
Where are these hunks? I certainly don't see them in the .dvi file
that texinfo produces on the sources I have tried it on in my time.
> So how is it not a derivative work?....
Because it contains no substantial parts of texinfo.
> > I don't see the argument for declaring the output of the texinfo program
> > to be a derivative work of its implementation.
> Um, the output is full of bits from the implementation? :-/
Bits are not copyrightable. Expressive choices are. The output does
not contain any of the expressive choices embodied by the texinfo.tex
output. (At least, not in copyright law's sense of expressive choice).
> If you show that no substantial amount of the text of texinfo.tex
> ever ends up in output files, then fine, I'll agree with you. :-)
Proof of absense of something is notoriously difficult to make. Which
form of such proof would you consider valid?
I suggest that, given that it's you who are making claims contrary to
the commonly held knowledge, the burden of proof should be on
you. Please show which substantial parts of texinfo.tex you think end
up in the .dvi file.
Henning Makholm "Detta, sade de, vore rena sanningen;
ty de kunde tala sanning lika väl som någon
annan, när de bara visste vad det tjänade til."