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

Branden Robinson writes:
 > On Mon, Aug 05, 2002 at 06:59:56PM +0200, Frank Mittelbach wrote:
 > > but Don hasn't put his work out as a whole with a license
 > Then to what, exactly, do his statements in comp.text.tex on Wed, 23 Feb
 > 1994 03:34:01 GMT apply?
 > To nothing at all?  Was he just talking to hear himself talk, or was he
 > talking about TeX, METAFONT, and the Computer Modern Fonts?

no he was talking about these three, but that is the article published in
tugboat and i don't see that it states at any point that it supersedes
anything put on individual files by him. It wasn't written as a license
statement it was written as a statement that he doesn't want to change those
source files any further.

 > Is a copyright holder allowed to re-license his work or clarify his
 > licensing statements?  Is Knuth not allowed to come back to tex.web
 > after 12 years and clarify his intent as he did in comp.text.tex?

i don't know. I think he should be allowed so you last post seem to indicate
that you think otherwise. anyway, that statement wasn't made as an answer to
"dear Prof Knuth, you licensing statements on files X YZ are strange could you
please clarify them" it was made because people wanted him to extend TeX.

 > > or from plain.tex (no copyright notice there and a somewhat contradictory
 > > statement if looked at it in isolation)
 > > 
 > > % This is the plain TeX format that's described in The TeXbook.
 > > % N.B.: A version number is defined at the very end of this file;
 > > %       please change that number whenever the file is modified!
 > > % And don't modify the file under any circumstances.
 > Indeed, a somewhat contradictory pair of statements.  If your contention
 > is that Debian must ignore Knuth's statements to the public in
 > comp.text.tex, then prudence would dictate that Debian regard a
 > self-contradictory license as null; therefore, the license on the work
 > reverts to its default status under copyright law, which is "all rights
 > reserved".  The work would thus be non-DFSG-free, and not free software
 > under the TeX community's definition, either.

no my contention isn't that. my contention is that you have to take that
article plus those copyright statements and try to interpret them as he (Don)
intended them to be interpreted. As for plain.tex that might in fact mean that
one has to ask him to change it to something else.

 > > etc. in addition he has explained his understanding of what he gave to
 > > the world and how he gave it, many times and that does not only
 > > involves the names "TeX" or "METAFONT" or "COMPUTER MODERN" but also
 > > that, if you run TeX on a simple document containing
 > > 
 > >  \font\foo=cmr10
 > > 
 > > then what is loaded is cmr10.tfm and precisely "THE cmr10 from
 > > Computer Modern" and not some modified copy. There had in fact be a
 > > huge uproar (by Don) once when somebody changed the CM fonts and
 > > distributed them under the original font names.
 > If that person had distributed the modified cmr10.tfm file on a floppy
 > disk in conjunction with a file that said "THIS IS NOT DON KNUTH'S
 > COMPUTER MODERN FONT", or in retail packaging that said "Waylon
 > Arbogast's Nifty Fonts (based on Computer Modern by Don Knuth)", do you
 > think Professor Knuth would have objected as strongly?

I have no idea to what he would object in that case. He objected strongly if
a tex program was distributed with some linux distribution that contained a
readme saying that the computer modern fonts have been improved and that
shipped these improved computer modern fonts with their original file names.
Unfortunately that is no longer on his homepage, perhaps Boris or others have
a pointer.

 > Is Professor Knuth claiming a poor man's trademark on the strings "cmr10"
 > or "cmr10.tfm"?
 > In other words, will Professor Knuth regard it as infrigment of his
 > copyright of someone uses the filenames "cmr10" or "crm10.tfm" for
 > something even if they aren't actually derived from his Computer Modern
 > fonts, but rather original works?

i doubt it, as long as a TeX program that would say


wouldn't pick up such fonts (or nofonts). but to be sure you would have to ask

 > Will Professor Knuth regard it as infrigment of his copyright of someone
 > uses the filenames "cmr10" or "crm10.tfm" for something that isn't a
 > font at all?

same answer.

 > >  > Such at-will revocation of a license would violate DFSG 1, 2, 3, 7, and
 > >  > arguably 5.
 > > 
 > > at-will revocation of a license might violate anything, point is that in the
 > > past there hasn't been a real license  --- and what i was trying to
 > > communicate are the intentions behind it.
 > No, you're saying the actual licenses are right there in the files in
 > black and white, and that Debian cannot rely on Knuth's statements in
 > comp.text.tex to interpret them.

no i'm saying that my understanding of his intentions is that he wants to
ensure that within a TeX system (ie program plus surroundings)  


refers to his CMR10 and 

 \input plain

to his plain.tex

 > > I can't assert anything and I will not, i can only interpret how I interpret
 > > what Don said to me and to others in private and in public. To my best believe
 > > Don's intentions are file name based or more exactly interface based, eg on a
 > > system that runs TeX \input{plain} is loading a file plain.tex which is his
 > > plain.tex and not somebody elses, and the above paragraphs (to me) also says
 > > this with respect to fonts, ie
 > > 
 > >   "And nobody is allowed to use the
 > >    names of the Computer Modern fonts 
 > > 
 > > [note the plural, he means cmr10 cmr11 ...]
 > > 
 > >   in Volume~E for any fonts that do not
 > >   produce identical {\tt.tfm} files.
 > > 
 > > what he wants to prevent is that TeX picks up some cmr10.tfm if it isn't the
 > > original one, again the point isn't really the file name it is the work "The
 > > font CMR10" (which ends up being a file name restriction on most OS's)
 > Not a legal restriction, at least not one with any precedent of which I
 > am aware.

it might well be that there is no legal precedent it might even be that it is
not possible to ensure that legally (though I think it is). but be it as it
may, I'm communicating (for the last time) what I understand his intentions
have been (including that I don't think they got changed by that article you
cited) and that precisely these intentions are what we try to capture with
LPPL (except that we work hard on finding a way around that file renaming
restriction if there is one). I also would guess (but that is my private
assumption) that Don could be persuade to change from a hard file rename
requirenment to some LPPL type licensing assuming there is an acceptable
compromise found.

 > Note that there is a copyrighted work out there called "Microsoft Word".
 > At least the last time I used it, which was many years ago, the "file
 > name" that corresponded to this work was "MSWORD.EXE".  Microsoft has
 > legal remedies available to them if someone packages a work of their own
 > as "Microsoft Word", but to the best of my knowledge they can't attack
 > someone just for calling a file "MSWORD.EXE".

and there is no need for them, is there? forget the filerenaming requirement
and stick with requiring that a work identifies itself to related works under
a different name.

 > > I'm however not going to proxy for Don even though I too wouldn't wish to see
 > > him interrupted in his other work.  But I don't think that anybody but him can
 > > in fact clarify this finally and it seems that such clarification is necessary.
 > That may be true.  If you insist that Knuth does not mean what I think
 > he said in
 > <http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=3c2q2h%24oj1%40sifon.cc.mcgill.ca>,
 > then I'll take your word for it, and TeX, METAFONT, and the Computer
 > Modern fonts will probably have to be regarded as DFSG-nonfree until we
 > can get a clarification from Professor Knuth.

I don't insist anything, I only give you my understanding of what he means
there and that it wasn't written to answer the question whether or not certain
smaller works are allowed to identify themselves to the TeX system under their
original name when in fact they are modified. Beside that I would like to see
your comments on my interpretation of your point 3.

 > > As far as I can see, the interpreation that I gave (as well as Boris and
 > > others) is broader than the interpretation that only the words TeX, METAFONT
 > > and Computer Modern are at Don's heart. So if Debian are accepting this
 > > broader interpretation (which in fact is the interface/filename restriction)
 > > Debian use that as a starting point to come to a conclusion what that means
 > > concerning DSFG.
 > There is not just what at "Don's heart".  There *are* practical
 > limitations on what one can accomplish with a copyright license.

there sure are, but are you now arguing that assuming, say, 

 - the copyright notice on cmr10.mf is as Don wants it to be
 - that it wouldn't serve the purpose of disallowing you to call a derived
   file again cmr10.mf?

it may or may not be DSFG-free, but that is not what i'm  asking here?

 > Professor Knuth appears to be far more interested in issues that are
 > handled by trademark law than copyright law, however as far as I know he
 > has not filed for trademark protection in the terms TeX, METAFONT or
 > Computer Modern.  And even trademark law does not give the holder
 > completely unfettered power to remove words from unauthorized human
 > discourse.

i htink he is/was interested in both and that is whay trademarks have been
picked up for the "collective works"

 > At any rate, I *suspect* that Professor Knuth is a reasonable man, and
 > does not intend absurd consequences.  I *suspect* that Professor Knuth
 > is interested in preserving the integrity of the identity of the works
 > into which he invested so much labor, and also in preserving freedom --
 > academic and otherwise -- among computer users and professionals.  I
 > *suspect* that Professor Knuth is willing to tolerate reasonable uses of
 > the terms "TeX", "METAFONT", and "Computer Modern", given that he has
 > stated specific and reasonable terms for their use.  I *suspect* that
 > Professor Knuth is not going to attempt to retract the copyright license
 > (ambiguously stated as it is, with a very confusing reference to the
 > "public domain") from someone who happened to use the string "cmr10" in
 > a filename.  (Let's say Carnegie Mellon University developed a regular
 > expression engine, and it saw 10 revisions -- should Knuth raise hell if
 > they called it "CMR10" for "Carnegie Mellon Regex version 10"?)

no, and i think you know it. nobody is after the CMR10 as a trademark as such
but as an identification within a TeX system-

 > I *hope*, though I am not sure, that Professor Knuth would not mind if
 > someone modified the Computer Modern fonts and left the filenames the
 > same but provided conspicuous notices that "THIS IS NOT DON KNUTH'S
 > SAME" and distributed the fonts not as "Computer Modern", but as "Waylon
 > Arbogast's Nifty Fonts".

he would mind a lot (at least he did in the notso recent past) he would mind a
lot the moment such fonts are set up to be inserted into a TeX system (or
likely to be picked up by one). Unfort

 > > If  Debian concludes that it means that all of Don's work is not DSFG-free then
 > > perhaps you better talk to him directly, assuming that that outcome is not in
 > > Debian's interest (after all that would then be only because people like me
 > > say that we interpret him in this way).
 > I suppose that if the TeX community shares your opinion, that will be
 > necessary.

I have no idea how to find out, you might ask at ctt, but if my opinion is a
problem for you then eventually you have to ask Don himself, I guess.


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