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Re: What to do when the LaTeX sources are missing, but an XML equivalent was rewritten from scratch ?

On Mo, 19 Nov 2007, Russ Allbery wrote:
> Of course, that free to use and distribute is not sufficient for Debian
> main.  They would also have to grant a license to create derivative works
> and distribute those derivative works, including the derivative work of

Argg, yes, here we are again. What matters to me is that a user can use
the INFORMATION in the document, i.e. the actual source and use it in
case he makes a derived work.

And it matters to me that people can get optimal typographic quality.

So either we have to distribute crippled versions of many documents,
crippled only in the sense that yes, all the information/text is there,
but the layout and design is crippled. Or we do not distribute them at

That is a very bad option, sorry.

Maybe it is that I am one of the few who CARE for design and typographic

Do the DFSG apply to design???

What does it mean that a design is free?

I knew in advance that this discussion is useless. What a pity for most
of our users to get only crippled versions of documents, not nice and
not beautiful. As DEK says at the beginning of the TeX book:

	Go forth and create beautiful documents.

Well, we are doomed to ship crippled variants of beautiful documents.

> If that isn't possible, I think it's kind of a murky area.  I'm not sure
> I'd support going on a crusade against such documents, but I'd much rather
> see all documents in Debian have a clear provenance, including being built
> from fonts in Debian.

Well, we can restrict us even further, but in the typographic world this
is unfortunately a pain-in-the-ass.

Take, as a VERY NICE example the fontinstallationguide.pdf by Philip
Lehman. It is distributed with a nice pdf and the source code (besides
others). The pdf uses many commercial fonts (like Minion, Adobe
Garamond, ...). It is a beautiful document, worth to be bound as book,
worth to be read, full of wonderful information. The design makes it
even better, an example of art and technique.

Now take the source code, it is under GPL, it states:
% Note that the document preamble was altered in such a way that the file
% requires a standard class and publicly available packages only, all of which
% can be found at CTAN. The body is almost unmodified. I have essentially
% removed the original title page and any graphics to ensure that the file is
% self-contained and can be compiled without further modification. Most
% packages employed in this file are standard and should be supplied by all Tex
% distributions. Any non-standard packages you might be lacking are available
% from CTAN.
% I have not made any attempt at polishing the layout since this file is not
% intended for typesetting in its present form. It is mainly provided for the
% sake of translators and anyone interested in using the content under the
% terms of the GNU FDL.

So what options do we have:
- either we distribute the source code plus the pdf generated from it,
  which will give the users a document which is "NOT INTENDED FOR
  TYPESETTING" (from the above statement),

- or we ship the nice pdf and the source code

In both cases the user has the FULL RIGHT over the source code, can use
it in any way he likes. Reuse it, alter it, etc etc. But in the second
case he ALSO (!!!!!) has the right to have a nice beautiful well
designed document.

So do we TAKE rights from the users or GIVE them rights?

Answers please?

Are we caring for users? And their rights? Then why take away their
right to have something well designed?

Best wishes


Dr. Norbert Preining <preining@logic.at>        Vienna University of Technology
Debian Developer <preining@debian.org>                         Debian TeX Group
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