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Re: forwarded message from Jeff Licquia

On Tue, Jul 16, 2002 at 09:35:23PM -0500, Steve Langasek wrote:
> Sadly, you seem to have missed the point of Free Software altogether,
> which can be stated simply as: preventing anyone from having exclusive
> control of the software so that everyone can benefit.  

(1) The intersection of those interested in LaTeX
and those seriously interested in Debian is almost empty, I imagine.
I would have said it was empty, 
except that Frank Mittelbach seems to belong to both sets.

(2) You (or someone else on the Debian "side")
asked for the "LaTeX community" to comment on the discussion.
I'm an ordinary LaTeX user,
but I'm pretty sure that I speak for 95% (if not 100%) of LaTeX users
when I say that satisfying the Debian licence
comes very low indeed in my order of priorities.

(3) Debian does not have a monopoly of the word "free".
I suggest that if you do not want to be offensive
you should say "Debian-free" or "free in the Debian sense".

(4) There is no need for Debian or anyone else to modify the LaTeX kernel,
since you can make any changes you want in a package (.sty file).
So the whole discussion seems to me entirely theological.

(5) You speak a lot about Linux,
but your approach seems to me far from that promoted by Linus Torvalds.
In fact Torvalds and Knuth seem to me very similar in their viewpoints,
as perhaps one might expect.

> If the Latex
> developers don't believe this is important enough that they will choose
> a license that complies with the Debian Free Software Guidelines, that's
> once again their right as copyright holders, but it definitely makes it
> incompatible with Debian's stated goals.

I guess we'll just have to do our best to survive from day to day.

Timothy Murphy  
e-mail: tim@birdsnest.maths.tcd.ie
tel: 086-233 6090
s-mail: School of Mathematics, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland

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