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Re: User's thoughts about LPPL

Boris Veytsman <borisv@lk.net> wrote:
> I think Debian team overlooks a couple of points.
> 1. Debian already uses software other than LaTeX under the "no changes
>    unless the files are renamed" clause. This is Don Knuth's TeX and
>    MF suite *and* the relevant fonts. Let me remind you that the
>    licensing of TeX is rather peculiar:
>    A. The program itself is in the public domain -- you can do
>    whatever you want with the code or its parts
>    B. The *name* TeX is reserved for Knuth's program. If you program
>    is called TeX, it must satisfy triptest. You can NOT correct bugs
>    in this program, you cannot do Debian QA for it -- you either take
>    it as is or rename it.
>    The same is going for Knuth's Computer Modern fonts. You can do
>    whatever you want with the lettershapes -- as long as you do not
>    call your product CM.

These simple conditions on the overall program name sound like they
fall within the scope of DFSG #4.  Restrictions on individual file
names do not.

> 2. Debian people seem not to realize that LaTeX (and TeX) is BOTH a
>    program and a language -- and a language requires
>    standardization. The nightmare of incompatible HTML dialects proves
>    this point well. Yes, standards limit freedom in some way. However,
>    do you really want your grocer to have a freedom to call 800g a
>    kilogram? 

Debian has several C and Java compilers.  They support different parts
of the languages and are certainly incompatible with each other in
subtle and mysterious ways.  They are all free software and yet,
somehow, the sky has not fallen.

>    As a LaTeX user I have two requirements:
>    A. Standardization. I want a LaTeX document to be compiled and
>    printed exactly in the same way at my desk, at my publisher's desk,
>    at my student's computers etc UNLESS I or students or publishers
>    want otherwise.
>    B. Flexibility. I want a possibility to completely change
>    appearance of any document I received -- IF I WANT IT.

These are nice goals, but they do not make free software.  Debian's
definition of free software means that it satisfies the DFSG.
Whatever your motives may be, if your program doesn't satisfy the
DFSG, then it doesn't go in main.

Walter Landry

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