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Re: Encoding the name in the file contents

> Date: Wed, 24 Jul 2002 12:56:19 -0700 (PDT)
> From: Walter Landry <wlandry@ucsd.edu>

> 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.
> 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 hate to disappoint you, but this is much more work than you think. 

LaTeX is not a Linux project. It is not even a Unix or Posix
project. It is a thing which works on virtually all platforms
including Unices, Windows, Mac, OS/2, VM/CVS, VMS, DOS and even Palm
Pilots. md5sum software is too system-dependent to be included in
LaTeX. We cannot presume that a platform LaTeX runs has md5sum
software or even C available. The only way to use this scheme for
LaTeX is to rewrite md5sum software or any similar software in
TeX. This is (a) prohibitively difficult and (b) will slow down things
on certain platforms up to the point of unusability. Remember, Debian
does not work on 286 Intels while LaTeX does.

Good luck


Basically, I want people to know that when they use binary-only modules,
it's THEIR problem.  I want people to know that in their bones, and I
want it shouted out from the rooftops.  I want people to wake up in a
cold sweat every once in a while if they use binary-only modules.
        -- Linus Torvalds

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