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TeX Licenses & teTeX (Was: Re: forwarded message from Jeff Licquia)

"RB" == Richard Braakman <dark@xs4all.nl>

    RB> On Wed, Jul 17, 2002 at 10:54:54AM -0500, Jeff Licquia
    RB> wrote:
    >> That would be a problem, in my opinion.  Unfortunately, I'm
    >> having trouble verifying the TeX licensing situation, so I
    >> can't comment on the status of TeX in Debian.  I'll check
    >> that file out if I can find it.

    RB> It's in the source of tetex-bin (texk/web2c/tex.web).
    RB> I've already filed bug#153257 to ask about it.

So far as I know, Thomas Esser, teTeX's upstream, does not have
special privileges for redistributing Knuth's .web files, nor does
Olaf Weber, the current maintainer of the Web2C distribution of
TeX, which Thomas Esser's teTeX uses as its core.

Web2C is distributed under the GPL, but the introduction to the
Web2C manual (available in /usr/share/info/web2c.info-1.gz or
/usr/share/doc/texmf/programs/web2c.pdf.gz) says the

   Availability: All of Web2c is freely available---"free" both in
   the sense of no cost (free ice cream) and of having the source
   code to modify and/or redistribute (free speech). (See section
   `unixtex.ftp' in Kpathsea, for the practical details of how to
   obtain Web2c.) Different parts of the Web2c distribution have
   different licensing terms, however, reflecting the different
   circumstances of their creation; consult each source file for
   exact details. The main practical implication for
   redistributors of Web2c is that the executables are covered by
   the GNU Public License, and therefore anyone who gets a binary
   distribution must also get the sources, as explained by the
   terms of the GPL (see section `Copying' in Kpathsea). The GPL
   covers the Web2c executables, including tex, because the Free
   Software Foundation sponsored the initial development of the
   Kpathsea library that Web2c uses. The basic source files from
   Stanford, however, have their own copyright terms or are in the
   public domain, and are not covered by the GPL.

I don't think that that explanation really clears anything up with
regard to redistributing or modifying TeX itself.

    RB> In addition, the copyright file has this statement:
    RB>   The individual parts of this distribution often have
    RB>   their own copyright. Please look into the respective
    RB>   files for their copyright.
    RB> This is not enough; the full license terms must be in the
    RB> copyright file.  (See Debian Policy section 13.6).
    RB> Certainly it's a lot of work to find all the licenses, but
    RB>   a) the package maintainer has to do this anyway, to make
    RB>      sure that the licenses meet the DFSG, and

We've been relying on Thomas Esser to ensure that the files he's
distributing are DFSG-free, with help from us.  Thomas has
repeatedly stated his commitment to getting teTeX into a
completely DFSG-free state and maintaining it as DFSG-free, and
he's doing a pretty good job.

    RB>   b) it's better if one person does this work once, than
    RB>      that everyone who wants to know the license terms has
    RB>      to do it.

I've actually done much of the required work as part of the
(documentation) license review I conducted a few months back.
There actually turned out to be relatively few different licenses,
and if we need to list them all in the copyright files for the
packages, we can do that.  (I had actually done just that for
tetex-base, tetex-extra, and tetex-doc at one point, but pulled
the changes before checking them in.  I can't recall why now, but
I suspect it had something to do with our dropping many of the
files with nonstandard licenses.)

Policy is unclear on whether merely listing the licenses is
sufficient, or whether we have to include both the licenses and a
list of every file that falls under those licenses.  (My reading
is that Policy assumes that there will only be one copyright
statement/license for a package.)


 Man cannot be civilised, or be kept civilised by what he does in his
	    spare time; only by what he does as his work.
			     W.R. Lethaby
  C.M. Connelly               c@eskimo.com                   SHC, DS

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