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Re: Encoding the name in the file contents

Jeff Licquia <licquia@debian.org> wrote:
> 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.

fooTeX could have it's own standard list of files and md5sums, which
may differ in large or small ways from the LaTeX list.

> 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.

Well, the reason I mentioned md5sum in particular is because the
implementation is in the public domain.  It could be included in the
LaTeX installation.  It is also not that big.  It might complicate
installation, but I can't imagine it would be that big of a deal.

> > 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.

The nice thing about this proposal is that the restrictions that the
LaTeX people want are enforced by physics and math, and not so much by
laws.  That would allow them to be more permissive on the legal front.

Walter Landry

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