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Re: Encoding the name in the file contents

On Wed, 2002-07-24 at 14:56, Walter Landry wrote:
> Jeff Licquia <licquia@debian.org> wrote:
> > On Wed, 2002-07-24 at 10:22, Mark Rafn wrote:
> > > On 24 Jul 2002, Jeff Licquia wrote:
> > > > How is it an API change to register the name of the work you belong to?
> > > 
> > > Perhaps I misunderstood, but it sounded like it would be required for a
> > > modified work to identify itself as modified, so that documents can
> > > determine if they're running on "real" latex.  This disallows preserving
> > > the API exactly while changing the execution.
> > 
> > No, no.  The *kernel* would do the recognition, not the documents.  It
> > would have a list of "acceptable" values for that macro.
> > 
> > Thus, "latex" would refuse to use any modules that didn't identify
> > themselves as Standard LaTeX, while "debtex" would accept modules that
> > identified themselves as "debTeX" or Standard LaTeX.
> > 
> > A particular API may or may not work at any time due to other factors,
> > but there's no reason why debTeX couldn't process any Standard LaTeX
> > document, or why LaTeX couldn't process debTeX documents.
> So let me get this straight.  Pristine LaTeX would have, within it, a
> mechanism for checking whether a particular file is "blessed" by the
> LaTeX project.  Ideally, it could check digital signatures.  md5sums
> might be a simpler way to do it.  Anyone is allowed to remove or alter
> this or any other feature, the only restriction being that you can't
> call the "kernel" LaTeX anymore.

Mostly.  I wouldn't limit this ability to LaTeX only; "fooTeX" could
also check for "standard fooTeX" if it wanted.  Also, the particular
implementation cited was for modules to declare for themselves what
standard they belonged to, instead of relying on a canonical list.  This
might be important; although Debian can assume the presence of md5sum or
gpg, I doubt the LaTeX Project can.

> If this is what the proposal is, then it sounds perfectly DFSG free to
> me.  It sounds like a bit of work for the LaTeX people to get the
> verification stuff working, but nothing insurmountable.  md5sum is in
> the public domain, so there are no licensing problems there.  It
> sounds like a technical solution to a legal problem.

I think we can all agree that Debian and LaTeX have some fundamental
differences of opinion on things.  We're hoping that the most important
of these (namely, license and DFSG coherence) can be resolved; I
wouldn't bet any money on the rest.

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