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Re: DFSG, the LaTeX Project and its works (Was: none)



On Fri, Jul 19, 2002 at 11:31:19AM -0400, William F Hammond wrote:
> Perhaps it just comes down to nuances of language.

I don't think so.  That is, I don't think there is any "nuance"
involved.

> LaTeX is a _project_.

For the purposes of Debian's licensing discussion, LaTeX is a
copyrighted work.

> Any of a LaTeX class, package, literate-programming wrapper, ...
> is a LaTeX _work_.

This is the only sense that is important to Debian for licensing
purposes.

> With such new language in LPPL wouldn't renaming and version-numbering
> restrictions be appropriate under DFSG?

In my opinion, the LPPL, being a copyright license which by definition
applies only to a work under copyright, should restrict itself to
discussing matters relevant to a Work as much as is possible.

The history, goals, and membership of LaTeX-as-project simply are not
very important for the purposes of a license qua license.  The terms of
the license should not change contingent on who the copyright holder is.

> Then have language in the license to the effect that technical changes
> not changing the _work_ are permissible.

That violates DFSG 3.  Users must have the freedom to change the work in
arbitrary technical respects.

> The new license might contain a URI pointing to the TDS standard
> with some mention of its relevance.
> 
> The new license might also contain a URI pointing to a CTAN doc
> with guidelines on how a distribution implementer (such as Cygwin,
> Mac OS X, Redhat, Debian, SuSE, ...) can provide a distribution of
> LaTeX without breaking it.

Advertising clauses are considered bad form; please avoid using them.

> P.S.  Just because present LPPL might not conform to DFSG does not
> mean that LaTeX is not free.

The LaTeX Project is at liberty to represent the LPPL as a "free"
license to whoever it wishes, regardless of what terms the LPPL actually
contains.

The only definition of "free" that is important to Debian in the current
context is that embodied by the Debian Free Software Guidelines.  Please
do not misinterpret the Debian Project's shorthand usage of the word
"free" for "compliant with the Debian Free Software Guidelines" as an
effort to get the entire world to adopt this shorthand.  We simply do
this for economy of usage in our internal mailing lists.  Within our
community, this abbreviation is well-understood.  Visitors to our
project need not adopt our usage if they fear they would be
misunderstood.

-- 
G. Branden Robinson                |    If you wish to strive for peace of
Debian GNU/Linux                   |    soul, then believe; if you wish to
branden@debian.org                 |    be a devotee of truth, then
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |    inquire.     -- Friedrich Nietzsche

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