[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: Encoding the name in the file contents (was Re: Towards a new LPPL draft)

> > > On Tue, 2002-07-23 at 21:17, Alexander Cherepanov wrote:
> > > > The question here is how to guarantee that a changed overcite.sty
> > > > (without renaming) will not be used with pristine LaTeX, right?

> Mark Rafn wrote:
> > This is insanity.  If this is the goal, just choose a nice simple license
> > "this can be used and distributed verbatim at no charge, but you may not
> > modify it without permission from the current maintainer".

On Wed, 24 Jul 2002, Boris Veytsman wrote:
> Perhaps because LaTeX people want to give other people (basically
> themselves) a couple of other rights, namely:

> 1. The right to use fragments, ideas or algorithms of their code in
>    any way whatsoever without any limitations

Cool.  This right is incompatible with your interoperability guarantee,
and with some other license terms for at least some uses of some
fragments, but I like the sentiment a lot.

Ideas and algorithms aren't really covered by copyright, so this right is
covered (though stating it in the license is nice).  Code fragments are
not clear unless your license specifies them.  I'd strongly recommend you
declare under what circumstances a code fragment may be distributed under
a more liberal license than other derived works.

> 2. The right to *extend* the API by adding new features, based on the
>    old code.

Which is included in #1.  From what I've understood, there is one very
large limitation, which is "as long as it's done in an approved way" or
perhaps "as long as you don't change the way existing code behaves".

> Again, I think there is a philosophical difference between the
> interpretation of the word "modification" in our communities. For you
> the right to modify means "I can take the published function foo and
> make it do bar if I want". For us it means "I can write a function bar
> OR I can write a function baz such as after it is invoked all
> functions foo in the following code actually do bar".

This sums it up well.  You would like people to be able to create add-on
software but not modify the base.  We would like people to be able to
modify the software itself.

> I am afraid that it would be difficult to achieve consensus until we
> understand the truth behind each others's approach.

[ the following is rambling and probably unhelpful.  I should probably hit 
cancel rather than send, but I'm bad at that kind of judgement.]

I think I see the truth behind your approach.  It is intended to maintain
beneficial control over how the software evolves and is used, motivated at
least in part by some bad experiences with people distributing unlabelled
modifications.  This is a fine and good goal, but it's not free.  There
are lots of other proprietary no-charge software examples with similar

I'd characterize this as a beneficial dictator.  It's nearly ideal as long 
as the dictator is beneficial (in latex, he is) and one doesn't mind that 
a few malcontents aren't allowed to do things they otherwise could.

My approach is to allow users to make any changes they want, and accept
the risk that they'll break things.  I'm happy to encourage them not to,
and to make it as easy as possible for them not to, and for their users to
recover if it happens, but I just don't know enough about them to be
willing to limit their freedom to do stupid things.

I think of this as anarchy-without-force.  Nobody can force anyone to use 
software they don't like, and anyone can offer any software they choose.  

Can a consensus be found between the two?  Probably not on a philosophical
level.  Possibly on a practical one, if the dictator is secure enough to
accept some risk of incompatibility (which I think latex is) and the
anarchists are willing to accept some limits (which I think we are).

Mark Rafn    dagon@dagon.net    <http://www.dagon.net/>  

To UNSUBSCRIBE, email to debian-legal-request@lists.debian.org
with a subject of "unsubscribe". Trouble? Contact listmaster@lists.debian.org

Reply to: