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Re: forwarded message from Jeff Licquia

> Date: Fri, 19 Jul 2002 01:24:24 -0500
> From: Chris Lawrence <lawrencc@debian.org>

> How does the LPPL actually prevent a distributor from FUBARing their
> distribution of LaTeX?  The fact is people regularly ignore licenses,
> copyrights, patents and trademarks (if this weren't the case, there'd
> be almost no GIFs or MP3s in the world).
> To put it another way: If you don't trust people to do the right
> thing, no license will help you.

This argument is too sweeping to be taken seriously: if licenses are
useless, then you must forget not only about LPPL, but also about GPL,
LGPL, Artistic license, etc. trash DFSG, close this list and urge its
subscribers to do something useful with their lives instead. While
this decision might have merits, I suspect it is too strong.

> I *do* use LaTeX in my every day work.  I also recognize that someone
> might want to make a derived work of LaTeX (say "MyLaTeX") without
> having to engage in unreasonable amounts of bookkeeping or bizarre
> filename hacks (i.e. without recoding the parser to add "my" to the
> beginning of every package that is \usepackage{}d since they had to
> rename every single file in the distribution that they touched) and
> without breaking compatibility with their own source files (i.e. so
> they can run mylatex blah.tex where blah.tex is valid input to latex).
> In fact, pdflatex depends on this very ability, but since the LPPL
> only trusts the anointed of the LaTeX3 Project to do this in a trivial
> manner, I couldn't make a tifflatex or pcllatex without going through
> silly bureaucracy (renaming files, hacking macros to search for my
> modified versions of .cls and .sty files with messed up names, etc.)
> that Frank doesn't have to engage in.

This is completely wrong. Pdflatex does NOT depend on this
ability. The authors of pdftex (Han The Thanh, Petr Sojka, and Jiri
Zlatuska) are not members of LaTeX3 projects and have no special
rights or privileges. No members of LaTeX3 team I know participated in
pdftex project. Pdflatex does not change any single file in the LaTeX

As far as I know there are two files in the common LaTeX distribution
that provide additional functionality for pdftex: pdf drivers in
graphics package and hyperref package. They were added by the authors
of these packages; under LPPL anybody can *add* a new file to provide
additional functionality to the system

There is absolutely no need for you to change LaTeX kernel to make a
tifflatex -- in the same way Han The Thanh did not need to change it
to make pdflatex.

If you *knew* how LaTeX works, you might give another example instead,
when there was need to change many LaTeX files: the hyperref
package. Hyperref provides additional functionality for LaTeX, but it
needed to rewrite a lot of things to do so. Nevertheless it does not
touch any files: it dynamically patches the kernel at run-time. 

Good luck


I don't know who my grandfather was; I am much more concerned to know
what his grandson will be.
		-- Abraham Lincoln

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