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Re: User's thoughts about LPPL

On Thu, Jul 18, 2002 at 09:28:22AM +0200, Javier Bezos wrote:
> Of course, I won't tell you that. I repeat that the internals *can*
> be changed without touching a single file from the LaTeX kernel,
> and currenty there are several packages doing that. An example:
> the hyperref package patches some internals of the LateX kernel
> to provide hyperlinks and more in pdf documents, and no file
> from LaTeX has been modified.

If the core can be changed in any way without changing it directly,
then you can break output exactly as well by this mechanism as you
could by editing it directly.

If so, then there's no point in forcing people to use it; they can break
stuff anyway.

If not, then there are apparently things you can't do with this mechanism.

> Definitely right, and as you can see LaTeX already provides
> a mechanism for that (which could explain why LaTeX is still
> alive after 20 years). The lppl ensures that this mechanism is

I can modify gcc, remove short-circuit evaluation, and distribute it,
breaking almost every C program in use.

Yet, C has been around for 30 years, without any of these restrictions,
without falling apart.

> used, or otherwise the free distribution of LaTeX documents
> won't be possible and it will suffer severe restrictions.

You're saying that if I edit the core directly instead of using the
mechanisms you mention, free distribution of documents is no longer
possible, and Latex will suddenly have severe restrictions?


Sorry, but there's no connection here.  If I edit the core directly and
break everything, I can still freely distribute my Latex documents and
Latex will not suffer any restrictions.

Of course, if I distribute my broken copy of Latex and call it Latex, it
might cause some grief, since people who think they're getting Latex are
getting something else.  That's why some people use licenses that say
that if you distribute changed versions, you need to call the program
something else.  No matter how much (or how subtly) I break Latex, and
no matter how many people I distribute it to, it's not going to cause
preventable problems if I call it something else.

Of course, that means there's another tex parser out in the wild that
may not be completely compatible with Latex, but that can't be stopped.

Glenn Maynard

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