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

C.M. Connelly writes:
 > I read this statement as saying that anyone can do anything they
 > want with the code in the .web files, so long as they don't call
 > the resulting systems/fonts TeX, METAFONT, or Computer Modern.

Knuth is unfortunately (or fortunately if you go by the legal content only?)
somewhat inprecise by using words like "public domain" together with
"copyrighted" etc.

what seems to me important, however, is that he explicitly refers to the
copyright pages of the Computers and Typesetting series B, D, and E and those
pages do not only require:

 > Unless, of course, the pseudo-TeX or pseudo-METAFONT systems pass
 > the trip and trap tests, in which case they *can* be called TeX or
 > METAFONT, respectively.

but explicitly state, for example: "However, use of the name `METAFONT' is
restricted to software systems that agree exactly with the program presented

In other words, the trip and trap tests are necessary but not sufficent
conditions to allow a program to call itself TeX or METAFONT. It is supposed
to be 100% the original program, eg additional features render it invalid and
this is something Knuth has stated over and over again.

The copyright page for volume E (fonts) is even stronger  in requesting that
any fonts cmr10, cmbx10, ... are supposed to be fully compatible in metrics
and encoding to be allowed to use these names.

 > In other words, despite what it says in the individual files, I
 > think that we don't have any problems distributing TeX.

I also think that you should have no problems distributing TeX etc, as I think
they are free under DSFG (you can freely change the stuff, reuse parts of it,
etc as long as you rename the resulting files). However I think it would be a
poor solution to argue legally that you are able to ignore Don's explicit
wishes simply because he is a Computer Scientist rather than a lawyer and was
unable to write it up in legal lingua without potential loopholes


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