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Re: Towards a new LPPL draft


> I've seen that some people include the "LPPL 1.2 or any later version"
> language into their license notice.  Those people would be fine
> (although I would recommend that notice be given of this particular
> license change as a gesture of goodwill to the community).

No. I don't think the situation here is "fine".

The situation you describe is probably the most common and most
important case. The sample boilerplate we offer for people to use is of
that form.

Despite all the legal mumbo jumbo in the licence, the _intent_ of LPPL
1.2 (and 1.0 and 1.1) is I think clear to everyone.

  If you make any changes, change the name. If you change the name, make
  whatever changes you like.

Now people who put a reference to LPPL in the form you quote are
basically saying that they trust us not to abuse our power to make
arbitrary changes to the licence that would allow their software to be

We have to be careful not to abuse that trust.

And tracking down the authors of an unknown number of pieces of software
distributed from an unknown number of sites (ctan isn't the only sourc)
is not really an option.

I think it is clear that (unless we give up on Debian altogether, which
I'd rather not do) LPPL 1.3 is going to have to relax the "rename rule"
It is in fact much easier to think of ways of doing that for the core
latex, as you can talk about command names (suitably defined) default
tex input paths etc, as a way of keeping a modified and unmodified
versions distinct, without requiring rules at the level of filenames.

But in all the posts I haven't really seen yet a good plan for what to
do about the main case: third party files distributed under LPPL.
Take geometry.sty for example

That is written by  Hideo Umeki (who I don't know) and has a notice of
the form you quote. It is distributed separately by him, with no
connection to the latex3 project. (It's also quite good, but that's not
the point here:-)

The intention of LPPL 1.2 is that users of latex who go
have some assurance that Hideo's code is going to get loaded.

whether or not LPPL succeeds in giving this assurance, or remains free
in doing so isn't the point here. The point I want to make is that
we have to be very careful while redrafting LPPL to maintain
some semblance of the "main idea". As we owe it to the 100's of people
who have chosen to use LPPL (no pressure is applied to third party
authors to use LPPL they could use GPL or public domain or any otehr
licence) An alternative would be to freeze
LPPL at 1.2 and have LPPLNEW 1.0 which was used for latex and any
authors who could be contacted and agreed to change. I'd really like to
avoid this if possible though.

Speaking personally I could live with a solution that changed

  If you make any changes, change the name. If you change the name, make
  whatever changes you like.


  If you make any changes, change the name, or make sure this file will
  not be loaded by a standard version of <whatever you normally use to
  run the unmodified version>. If you do either of those things 
  whatever changes you like.

so in the geometry case the meaning would be
if the file is used with latex, change the name if you make changes.
If the file is used with non-latex make arbitrary changes.

The problem is I see no way to word such a restriction given that
geometry isn't distributed with latex, it's just a file stuck on an
archive.  Also I'd want the restriction to apply to say pdflatex or
elatex, which are formats made with unmodified latex code using non-texs
(pdftex and etex respectively) so it isn't really the "user command"
that is relevant.

By the time someone like Debian is making a "ready-to-run" distribution
you can make sense of keeping modified files distincteven if they have
the same filename by setting TEXINPUTS appropriately, but I don't see
what licence text on the geometry distribution could realistically
enforce that.

Sorry this message is rather negative,
despite possible appearance to the contrary, it is trying to be


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