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Re: Towards a new LPPL draft

sorry pressed C-c C-c in the wrong window ... try again

Jeff Licquia writes:
 > > sorry, but we are not concerned only with the core stuff. even though we don't
 > > distribute the rest. The whole set of files put on ctan and identical (on a
 > > pristine LaTeX installation) is what makes LaTeX useful, not  their quality as
 > > such. So either we find a solution which keeps this intact (and we
 > > had found something with LPPL, though we are happy to reword it, to iron out
 > > mistakes in it that do not fit the intended meaning).
 > Well, I am confused, then.

what i meant is that there is no point in changing LPPL that would work nicely
for a core but makes it impossible to use for individual packages as well. 

 > There is, I imagine, stuff that is not a part of LaTeX, but that works
 > with LaTeX.  That stuff may or may not be licensed under a particular
 > license.  That's immaterial to the question of whether LaTeX is free or
 > not.

well, yes but the question isn't really whether or not LaTex is free, but
rather whether some form of LPPL is DSFG-complient.

Nevertheless it is certainly correct to say that we need to define the scope
of words like "LaTeX language".

So let me try

 LaTeX Language (LL) = union of all definitions that are lodable ontop of the
                  latex format regardless of their licensing or availibility

 Unique LaTeX Language (ULL) = subset of LL which is licensed under LPPL and is
                  publically available, eg on CTAN

i#m too tired already to try a rigerous set of definitions (format isn't
defined ...) am prepared to do this excerise later again.

Now ULL (but not necessarily LL)has the property that if documents only use
commands from it then these documents either compile on an installation (and
giveidentical results) or stop at some point with a request for a part of the
ULL which is not installed.

That ULL is what I am concerned about. Now that is made up from many sources
with different authors and I don't except that Debian or anybody else is
necessarily distributing the whole lot.

But if Debian is distributing, say, the LaTeX package gemoetry (which is under LPPL and
written by somebody in Japan) then any desire to modify it and distribute the
modification (as well or only) has to ensure that the ULL stays intact. That
is what LPPL is trying to achieve and did so quite well.


 > If you're asking Debian to always ship absolutely everything in CTAN as
 > a precondition to gaining modification rights to LaTeX, then that's
 > something that Debian can't offer.  We don't know how that software is
 > licensed, and can't guarantee that it will be free or not.

I don't or perhaps i should say, I haven't intended that. Not even that Debian
has to shop the whole of ULL. There is however a subset of ULL which is
considered absolutely required and one that is considered to form sensible
distribution (not defining those two tonight)

 > > but there is no point in providing a largely useless core (identical) and
 > > having all the rest happily return to the state of 1990 where no two site had
 > > identical LaTeX packages and thus document exchange turned out to be largely a
 > > matter of luck or sending whole latex package trees along with the document.
 > > 
 > >  > But before we can deal with the add-ons, we need to deal with the core.
 > > 
 > > no. sorry. if that is what only we are trying to do then I guess we have to
 > > give up.
 > Then you should take over the copyright from the other contributors, or
 > mandate that they accept the LPPL as you deliver it, or get everyone to
 > accept the LPPL voluntarily, or something.

that is already the situation: a large proportation of the LL is by now in ULL 

what i was trying to say above was that it would be counterproductive from our
point of view, if we come up with a new LPPL which would result in having a
small core being in ULL and all the other packages being left out thus
returning to the state where they could be individually modified an appended
to the core distribution with the result that each two distributions from
different distributors would start being (very) different again

hope that has cleared the misunderstanding:

 > You can't have it both ways.  If you treat add-ons outside your control
 > as "core" to LaTeX and allow them to be licensed arbitrarily, then you
 > must accept the fact that people like us will be forced by the licenses
 > to drop portions of it.  Otherwise, as has been pointed out before, the
 > LPPL could be a free license but LaTeX be non-free, because one file
 > within it has an unacceptable modification restriction.

agreed. we are not talkingabout LL but ULL

 > Put another way: If you refuse to allow us to drop a non-free file, then

i do (though i try hard to getthem under LPPL and thus into ULL)

but i even would allow you to drop part of ULL

 > >  > The rights we demand are usually for special cases.  For example,
 > >  > someone might want to create LaTeX Plus with some of his/her new ideas
 > >  > for how document formatting should be done.  Or, you guys might get hit
 > >  > by a bus, and our obligation to our users requires us to make sure that
 > >  > LaTeX is taken care of in your absence while the Project figures out who
 > >  > should take over.  Or maybe no one wants to take over, and we maintain
 > >  > it as a legacy package (which we do for lots of the things we ship).
 > > 
 > >  - if somebody wants to make LATeX plus he can already and it is simple and
 > >    can reuse all things untouched with the above method (and in fact is
 > >    already done, eg by Lambda
 > > 
 > >  - if we get hit by a bus (which we hopefully are not) then the maintainers
 > >    clause would allow to have people take over without the need to start a new
 > >    fork
 > >  - if nobody wouldwant to takeover you could become maintainer (and support it
 > >    as a legacy package) again without the need to make a fork
 > > 
 > > so there is no problem with the rights needed by Debian for a) its users nor
 > > for b) itself
 > As long as the rights in the DFSG are granted, then yes, you are
 > correct.

which comes back to where we are at your "Concluding debate" mail

 > >  > OK.  Now I'd like to hear the Debian side.  Here are the conditions for
 > >  > modification that are being proposed as I understand them:
 > >  > 
 > >  >  - you must rename all modified files, or
 > >  > 
 > >  >  - you must rename the whole of LaTeX in your modified copy AND
 > >  > distribute a pristine copy of LaTeX as well.
 > >  > 
 > >  > Comments?  Branden, Walter, Mark, and Jeremy, I'm especially interested
 > >  > in your opinions, since you three are the current objectors.
 > > 
 > > before anybody comments, please keep in mind that this has to work for
 > > the whole of LaTeX, eg something roughly of the size of tetex at least.
 > > The fork of course can be as small as it wish (even if it becomes useless this
 > > way).
 > It sounds like we would need to define the scope of LaTeX in this case.

I takethe above back. I would like to see at least the "required part of ULL"
and i'm prepared to defined more precisely what this consists of (but not

 > > i think you missed something. With my suggestion the only thing one would need
 > > to do if one would want to modify (and distribute) any file under LPPL that
 > > falls under the filename rename requirenment is to copy it to its "shadow
 > > file" which could then be modified freely (without further restriction).
 > > And dueto the fact that we already provide the two formats nothing else would
 > > need  to be done.
 > This might be useful, but I'm not sure it satisfies the objections I've
 > seen.

neither am I (but give me credit :-) I still try hard to satisfy (without
sacrifying my own believes)

 > >  > As I mentioned before, the fonts are in a limbo state while we figure
 > >  > out if we think data files should be required to meet the DFSG.  As for
 > >  > the rest of TeX, I suspect that this will be a future topic of
 > >  > discussion here.
 > > 
 > > well, do you say that plain.tex is a data file? if that's the case how
 > > different is this from latex.ltx (which contains most of thecode in
 > > plain.tex)?
 > > 
 > > because if thats the case then the whole of what is currently distributed
 > > under LPPL wouldn't make any problem any more as they would all be data
 > > files. :-) 
 > In one sense.  I don't think anyone disagrees that they contain active
 > content, though.

as i don't know exactly the diea behind data files and such I wouldn't know,
but i wasn't really seriously suggesting that as a way out.

 > >  > But whatever the outcome for TeX, if LaTeX is deemed DFSG-free in the
 > >  > final analysis, you won't have that taken away from you if TeX is moved
 > >  > to non-free.
 > > 
 > > no. whatever the outcome is for TeX, LaTeX will go with it at least if it is
 > > declared unfree because with TeX  not in the free tree of Debian, LaTeX there
 > > would be useless.
 > Not so.  "main" and "contrib" contain all DFSG-free software.  If TeX
 > moves to "non-free", then LaTeX would move to "contrib".

but that still would make it largely useless.

really good night (i doubt i'm still coherent (if ever))


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