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Re: Towards a new LPPL draft

Frank Mittelbach <frank.mittelbach@latex-project.org> wrote:
> Folks,
> it seems to me that by now we are turning around in cycles rehashing arguments
> that are important in general (can LaTeX have security problems, yes or no?;
> how does one do software development ...) but not with respect to the problem
> at hand which still is (to me at least) the following two things:
>  1) determine whether or not the fundamental believes of the LaTeX Mafia
>     comply with the those of the Debian people

It seems that the fundamental goal that the LaTeX project is trying to
accomplish is to make sure that any changes that are made are not
"silent".  When I run latex on my document (yes, I do use it.  I've
been using it for about 8 years, and TeX for about 12), I get the output

  This is TeX, Version 3.14159 (Web2C 7.3.7)
  LaTeX2e <2001/06/01>

If you required Debian, when making a change, to have it output
something like

  This is DebTeX, a modified version of TeX
  DebLaTeX2e, a modified version of LaTeX2e

then anyone running LaTeX can see that it is not a standard version of
LaTeX.  This is perfectly compatible with the DFSG, and all that the
TeX license requires.

The renaming requirement can and likely will be legally circumvented
in a way that is transparent to the user.  If Debian finds that it has
to modify article.cls, Debian will do everything that it can to make
sure that modified versions of article.cls are automatically used.
Otherwise, there will be a lot of breakage.  Certainly I would do it
on the systems I maintain.

>  Axiom: after all discussions the LaTeX Mafia, the LaTeX users that
>  spoke on this list, and the Debian users that mailed me privately,
>  still believe that the requirement for renaming files LaTeX source
>  files when doing modification for distribution is essential and
>  helpful.

If file renaming is a real axiom, then I don't think that Debian and
the LaTeX Project can come to an agreement.  DFSG #4 has never been
interpreted as allowing that kind of restriction, and I don't see why
Debian should make an exception for LaTeX.

Walter Landry

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