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Re: forwarded message from Jeff Licquia

On Thu, 2002-07-18 at 03:59, David Carlisle wrote:
> > I did not see any statement to this effect in the LPPL draft that was
> > posted here:
> > 
> > http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2002/debian-legal-200207/msg00007.html
> > 
> > I would love to hear that I had completely missed it, or that you've
> > changed the draft to include such a statement.
> My understanding is that no such statement is necessary (but there is
> one anyway:-)

That's good to hear.  At some point, it might be fruitful to post the
latest draft, so we don't argue over things that are already resolved. 
I don't know what the status of the draft is, though, or whether there
are some more changes needed, so I'll leave that to you to decide.

In licensing, you have to assume that nothing is allowed unless
permission is explicitly granted.  Explanatory text that lays out how
you're able to exercise freedoms granted to the licensee (such as being
able to create "mylatex" and how to override the default classes and
such) is also good to avoid problems.

> (Also it's difficult for latex to talk of command names, even more than
> files, latex is used on systems with no command line, so you have to
> interpret "command name" as "menu option or icony thing or anything else
> that can be reasonably construed as starting the program from a user
> action", which propbably isn't legally watertight...)

Right.  Definitions are key; something like this might be closer:

"For the purposes of this license, a 'command name' constitutes any
method of starting the Program, including but not limited to commands
typed at command shells and clickable icons in a graphical environment."

You could then reference that definition in your restrictions.

Of course, IANAL; if you have access to one, they might be able to write
you a better definition.

> pslatex does not modify any of the latex source or run time files
> so is clearly not in breach of the LPPL. It does have a pile of extra
> tex macros that redefine chunks of latex, but LPPL explictly does not
> forbid redefintions it just says such redefinitions should not be in a
> file of the same name as the original.
> Then wrapping it all up it has a new shell script which called "pslatex"
> which calls standard latex on the user's document while inserting the
> redefinitions in a suitably cunning way. This shell script again is not
> a modification of any part of latex and doesn't share any name with any
> part of latex so clearly is not in breach of LPPL.

I see.  So the process of modifying LaTeX involves a "runtime patch
system" of sorts, where a LaTeX document's calling of the "article"
class gets redirected to the file "article-hacked".  The original
"article" must remain, then, but never gets used in the LaTeX-alike
system, although it will continue to be used in standard LaTeX when that
is called.

That's the part that has been confusing me the most, I think.  No, I
don't see that as unreasonable, or non-free.

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