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

At 27 Jul 2002 09:50:54 -0700, tb@becket.net (Thomas Bushnell, BSG) wrote:
>Frank Mittelbach <frank.mittelbach@latex-project.org> writes:
>> well, "all" user expect that for LPPL licensed files at the moment
>> because that is what the license ensures. But Henning is of course,
>> right that I can't predict whether or not they actually believe,
>> that people following the license so, "well, many do expect that, if
>> not all" is the more appropriate saying.
>If a site wants a variant of latex, and all the users at that site
>know about it, and want it, and want it to be called latex, then why,
>exactly, do you want to prohibit them this freedom?  (Or want to
>prohibit them the freedom from sharing their products with others?)
>That's the central question here, and you keep dodging it by making
>quite wild claims about what everyone expects from Latex.

And at 27 Jul 2002 10:00:12 -0700, he continued:
>Boris Veytsman <borisv@lk.net> writes:
>> "If a vendor wants to distribute a derivateve of a GPL program without
>> sources, and all customers know about it, and want it, and want it
>> this way, then why, exactly, do you want to prtohibit them from this
>> freedom?"
>Um, they *do* have this freedom, actually; they can just distribute
>under the second option (offer to provide source later), which results
>in exactly the desired result if the facts are as hypothesized.
>However, more to the point, free software is about particular
>freedoms.  In the instant case, the freedom I'm asking about is a
>freedom to modify and distribute the program, something that both the
>DFSG and the GPL highlight as a crucial freedom.
>You might think we shouldn't care about this freedom, but we do, and
>if we don't have it, then it can't be part of Debian.

The relevant question is however whether the restrictions imposed by the
LPPL are severe enough to make it DFSG-unfree (while keeping in mind that
the (current) GPL is by definition DFSG-free). It occurs to me that a
better way of demonstrating that a certain amount of restrictions are
allowed might be to look at condition 2c in the GPL:

    c) If the modified program normally reads commands interactively
    when run, you must cause it, when started running for such
    interactive use in the most ordinary way, to print or display an
    announcement including an appropriate copyright notice and a
    notice that there is no warranty (or else, saying that you provide
    a warranty) and that users may redistribute the program under
    these conditions, and telling the user how to view a copy of this
    License.  (Exception: if the Program itself is interactive but
    does not normally print such an announcement, your work based on
    the Program is not required to print an announcement.)

Suppose I had written a shell-like program for, say, trading with stocks or
something like that and that I've put it under the GPL, and that it "reads
commands interactively when run" as described above. Following the
instructions in the GPL on "How to Apply These Terms to Your New Programs"
I make it print a bunch of information such as described above when
started, so that the exception will not apply. Suppose then that Thomas
would like to modify my program so that he and his friends can use it as a
login shell on some server and that they normally communicate with this
server by SMS sent from or to their mobile phones. Suppose further that he
would like to remove from the announcement some of the above information
since all of it cannot be fitted into a single SMS (or perhaps he feels
that such a large SMS would be too expensive). Since he claims "a freedom
to modify _and_ distribute the program", he also gives a copy of the
modified version to a friend.

There is however a catch: the GPL won't let him. This functional change is
expressively forbidden by the above clause in the license. I'm not sure
whether he is forbidden to make the modification in the first case or just
forbidden to distribute this modification, but he wouldn't be meeting
condition 2c. It makes absolutely no difference that he and his friend both
want it this way---unless I approve of it separately, they're violating the
license and consequently lose their right even to use the program.

So how is that a significantly smaller restriction than that of not being
able to distribute Non-LaTeX claiming to be LaTeX?

Lars Hellström

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