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



>>>>> On 25 Jul 2002 12:39:35 -0500, Jeff Licquia <licquia@debian.org> said:

> On Thu, 2002-07-25 at 10:27, Mark Rafn wrote:
>> > On Wed, 2002-07-24 at 18:56, Mark Rafn wrote:
>> > > The difference is that the printf is intended to identify to the human
>> > > running the program what version she has, and the registration is intended
>> > > to prevent compatible derivative works.
>> 
>> On 24 Jul 2002, Jeff Licquia wrote:
>> > I'm confused.  How are they incompatible?
>> 
>> They're incompatible because the intent is to write programs that check
>> this string and behave differently if it does not give the
>> forbidden-in-changed-works answer.

> Maybe I'm just dense, but I still don't see the incompatibility.  Can
> anyone else see it?

Yes.  Look at Microsoft's Trusted Computing plans: programs will
identify themselves as "Good".  It'll be illegal to distribute a
modified program which claims to be "Good."  And while they're doing
this with the best of intentions, it certainly won't produce Free
Software.

In order for me to truly have freedom to modify a program, I must be
able to change functionality and still have the program work.  In this
case, if I change something in article.cls, the license compels me to
change the \NeedsTeXFormat{} argument.  latex.fmt will now no longer load
my altered article.cls file.  I can go and change latex.fmt, but its
license compels me to change the filename.

Now I can either go much with the (GPL'd part of) the tex executable,
or resign myself to calling sniffentex instead of latex every time I
compile a LaTeX file with my altered article.cls.  More than that, in
order for me to usefully distribute my changed article.cls, I need to
distribute my custom format and such with it.  

Given all that, I *do* think that this is a free license, because it
is permissible for the Debian project to create a deblatex.fmt which
provides LaTeX and DebLaTeX, and preemptively switch all the files to
NeedsTeXFormat{DebLaTeX}.  Then modifications may be freely made and
exchanged among users of DebLaTeX, and the LaTeX project has their
goal of interoperability as well.

-Brian

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