Re: TeX Licenses & teTeX (Was: Re: forwarded message from Jeff Licquia)
Branden Robinson writes:
> On Mon, Aug 05, 2002 at 11:04:56AM -0400, Boris Veytsman wrote:
> > I cannot claim to understand *all* intricacies of Don's great brain,
> > but I always understood his intentions with respect to TeX and friends
> > in the following way:
> > 1. As a true CS professor, Knuth distinguishes between the program
> > (i.e. the code of the program) and the name of the program (file
> > name of the code for systems with file naming conventions).
> You have an unhealthy obsession with filenames. A filename is no more
> representative of the name of a work than the page number of a book is
> representative of the book's title.
Unhealthy? well, seems similar to yours concerning "work" which has to be big
to be nearly a non-entity and only acceptable if it can't be checked by a
computer as being the original.
really, what is behind all this aren't file names but works (plural), and each
of such works is supposed not to claim itself as the original (to other
related works) after it was modified, eg a font is a work and plain.tex is a
work as well as tex.web.
on top of there there is indeed also the collection of such works that have
been given names, such as "TeX" system.
so it isn't the filename really, it is the identifaction to related software
or if you like to the master piece in the middle (and the filename restriction
is a simple way to implement that)
> If your assertion that the "name" means "file name of the code for
> systems with file naming conventions", then Knuth would have no problem
> with people selling a derivative of TeX that failed his conformance
> tests, referring to this derivative as "TeX" in its documentation and on
> the external labelling of the product, but called the executable
> something else, like "/usr/bin/bandersnatch".
Don would because it is both that bothers him and both what he wants people
not to do.
> The name of a copyrighted work is the name of a copyrighted work. This
> is a legal construct with legal meaning, and is interpreted by humans
> for human purposes.
fine with the first sentence :-) and with the first half of the second. but
who says that a name of a work is only for humans?
> However, you cannot count on the Debian Project to employ this legal
> theory as a means of regarding TeX, METAFONT, and Computer Modern as
> DFSG-free. Firstly, I don't think of us have anything but respect for
> Professor Knuth's incredible contributions to computer science; we
> therefore would not be likely to seek to personally offend him, and we
> will respect any reasonable requests of his as a matter of courtesy.
> If a copyright holder makes it clear to Debian that we will be taken to
> court if we exercise the freedoms enumerated in the Debian Free Software
> Guidelines, then the work is not DFSG-free in practice regardless of
> what the license says.
don't think that this is the topic here, but i agree with you that this
position would make something DFSG-nonfree
> File renaming requirements are not DFSG-free. Neither DFSG 3 nor DFSG 4
> permit them. Only a requirement to rename the *work* is permitted.
...with work not being defined, the word "file" being used etc etc. ...
But more to the point right now the works by Don have file renaming
In practice I think what is really intended is requiring to have the work
identify itself with a different name through the interfaces it is interacting
with related software.
However Don has written it up as file renaming requirements since that is what
you think of first in that context.
Thus, you either have
- try and have him change that
- arrange yourself with it / or not
> Does anyone know if Prof. Knuth has appointed an attorney-in-fact to
> handle any legal issues with TeX, METAFONT, and Computer Modern that
> might crop up?
not that i know of