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Re: LaTeX & DFSG

On Thu, 2002-07-18 at 13:06, Boris Veytsman wrote:
> I think we finally got to understanding what is allowed and what is
> not in TeX and LaTeX licensing -- or at least in the licenses
> intentions. 
> Right now I as an end user and developer have the following rights:
> R1. Change the appearance of any document I got by adding the line
>     inputting my set of macros to the document.
> R2. Change the appearance of all documents by (1) using instead of the
>     command "latex file" a command "modified-latex file" or (2)
>     passing the corresponding options to tex or (3) using my own
>     version of tex with different name.
> R3. Distribute my macros, modified versions of latex, tex, fonts etc.,
>     for profit or not, as long as I take care they will not be
>     confused with the original tex, latex and fonts, and (in case of
>     latex) impose the same "do not confuse users" restriction on the
>     modified product (TeX is trademarked, so this restriction would be
>     redundant for it).
> Besides these right I have the following assurances:
> A1. If I issue the command "latex file", the appearance of the
>     resulting document will be exactly the same as intended by the
>     author with discrepancy no more than tens of Angstroms.
> A2. If I send my document to be latexed to my publisher, colleague,
>     friend, the appearance of the document on their desks will be
>     exactly same as on mine. This is true whether they use Debian
>     Linux, FreeBSD, Windows, Macintosh or Palm Pilot.
> A3. The propeties A1 and A2 are going to be there whether the document
>     is processed today, tomorrow or in any foreseeable future.
> Now what other rights are you talking about? This could not be my
> rights as a user a developer -- I have all that I need. Obviously it
> must be some other rights. Probably *your* rights. I take from the
> discussion that some people here want the right to modify parts of the
> TeX suite while still calling the thing TeX and LaTeX. In other words
> you want the right to change files on your server in such a way that
> "apt-get upgrade" will make my machine produce slightly different
> documents than my colleagues' machines. Worse than that, you want the
> right to dump these changes on other Debian machines -- while I can
> stop using your verson of LaTeX, I cannot presume my colleagues'
> admins are clueful enough to make this decision. 

No, not at all.  I think that your R3 right is the point of contention;
we do not believe that the draft of the LPPL we've seen confers that

> Some people say they need this right to make (La)TeX more secure. This
> argument is purely hypothetical: there was no vulnerabilities reported
> during all the years of TeX and LaTeX existence, which is longer, than
> the existence of Linux or popularity of Unix and C. On the other case
> the dangers that LPPL tries to prevent are quite real: the story with
> "improved" CM fonts comes to my mind. Again, the people who improved
> CM fonts might think that they made a service to the community; they
> might consider the changes to be small. Nevertheless they are NOT
> small for me and I do not want this service. You break A1--A3 without
> meaningfully adding anything to R1--R3. 

Security is only one of many good reasons to change LaTeX, and it's
certainly a valid one, even for LaTeX.  The lack of security problems in
LaTeX is possible a happy accident of history rather than a real virtue
of its code.

Let's take an example that will likely resonate with typesetters a bit
more: the euro.  How did you arrange to add the euro symbol to TeX and
LaTeX?  What would have happened if I would have needed a euro symbol
before it was added?

> Thanks, but no thanks. I do not want you to have this freedom. I do
> not want you to send me these "maybe altered" weights. I do not want
> you to be able to send them to anybody. I abhor the thought that my
> business associates, colleagues or anybody else might use your weights
> UNKNOWINGLY. You have the right to distribute any weights as long as
> you call them deb-kilograms or Pickwickian kilograms -- but please do
> not meddle with the standard weights.

This is a restriction the Debian Project can live with.

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