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Re: Suggestion for dual-licensed LaTeX (was Re: Encoding the name in the file contents (was Re: Towards a new LPPL draft))

> From: Brian Sniffen <bts@alum.mit.edu>
> Date: Thu, 25 Jul 2002 13:39:49 -0400

> > 1. Your proposition should include not only LaTeX but also TeX since
> >    its licensing terms are essentially the same.
> The terms of the copy of TeX on my computer appear to be rather
> different: it's public domain with a trademarked name, with some GPL'd
> extensions.  So I can, for example, embed TeX in another program and
> distribute it under the GPL.  I certainly could not do so with LaTeX.
> All that's moot, as Knuth seems rather unlikely to change his license,
> and it's DFSG-free and compatible with the OpenTeX and FreeTeX ideas I
> proposed anyway.

Brian, this is a myth. It was debunked several times here. If you
wish, I can repeat.

1. You cannot change a bit in several TeX source files without
   renaming them or the engine (TeX).

2. You can do whatever you want with TeX code as long as it is not
   called TeX.

3. You can do whatever you want with LaTeX code as long it is not
   called LaTeX.

It follows from (3) and (2) that LaTeX is at least as free as TeX. If
we would insist on (1) in the Knuth's sense, LaTeX would be as free as
TeX. Since LaTeX3 team wants to make a weaker request than (1), LaTeX
is more free than TeX. 

I have heard here several times a statement that "TeX is free, but
LaTeX is not". Whatever you think of freedom, this statement is
wrong. LaTeX is either as free as TeX or more free than TeX. If the
strange notion that TeX is freer than LaTeX persists, I suggest that
instead of LPPL we just add to LaTeX files the same notice, that can
be found at the beginning of plain.tex:

% And don't modify the file under any circumstances.

and then our system will be exactly as free as TeX.

The only way to make LaTeX completely free for "subtly incompatible
changes" is to rename LaTeX, TeX, standard fonts and many other
things. Since I am from the former Soviet Union, I have seen some
grandiose monuments to a rampant ideology. This one would not be the

Good luck


Committees have become so important nowadays that subcommittees have to
be appointed to do the work.

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