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Re: forwarded message from Jeff Licquia

* Timothy Murphy <tim@birdsnest.maths.tcd.ie> [020717 23:00]:
> (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.

It may be nearly empty for the developers, but the userbase has an large
intersection in my eyes. People judging effiency more than WYSWYG and
inital ease of use tend to use Debian and LaTeX.

> (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.

Those persons I know, that use LaTeX for more then their diploma-
thesises and the like, do also note freedom of their software very high.

> (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".

Sorry. But any word has a context. Microsoft Word is "free", too.
You can get it without paying when buying computers in some shops.
And Linux is "non-free", as you do not have the right to reduce the
freedom. This in mind the term "Free Software" nowadays has
in large areas a meaning that fit very well with the meaning in Debian.

> (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.

This discussion is theological, because the sibject is.

I think noone wants to change the (La)TeX-Kernel, noone want do make
.tex-file iterchange impossible. We all want the LaTeX to be the
usefull crossplattform tool that it is.

But though we do not want to do it, we want to have the right to
choose this ourselves. We do not want to depend on anyone to be
able to bring our computers in workable state.

It's about principles. We all judge it very unlikely that the LaTeX-
developers will go nuts or a has-to-be-fixed-fast security update
has to be done. (As I think it is very unlikely that police would
suspect me for anything, but am against allowing them to tortue
And it is this principle to demand software to be free is one
of the foundations of Debian and it is an important point for
many of the people I know. (Though I doubt any would stop using

As I have not looked into the licenses, I do not yet have made
up an opinion for myself wheater they are non-free, as I can
not think of any licence that would effectfuly allow what
you want to be allowed and forbid what you want to forbid.
Escpeccially preventing local changes (that are not distributed)
by copyright law seems to be quite hard for me. (It might
be a little bit difficult to make such changes legally, if 
the rights of the users are inadequatly restricted, but not 
impossible, as extreme examples like patches for games have 

  Bernhard R. Link

<gEistiO> sagen wir mal...ich hab alle sourcen in /lost+found/waimea
<me> gEistiO: [...] Warum lost+found?
<gEistiO> wo haette ich es denn sonst hingeben solln?

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