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

> From: tb@becket.net (Thomas Bushnell, BSG)
> Date: 07 Aug 2002 17:41:44 -0700

> Boris Veytsman <borisv@lk.net> writes:
> > We already discussed this. Because this is the goal of TeX. That is
> > why TeX uses scaled point for calculations. The aim is to have exactly
> > same output on same machines.
                   ^^^^ I meant "all" machines, sorry

> But then the goal of TeX is to be non-free.  However, as already

Thomas, you rightly say that only Debian can interpret DFSG. While I
agree with you in that, it seems that now you want to have the power
to interpret the word "free". This is, in my opinion, a far-fetched
idea. TeX community used the word "free" for decades. The example of
TeX was one of the sources of inspiration for RMS and FSF, which, in
its turn, inspired Debian project. TeX is the grandfather of the free
software community. If it is not enough free for you, this is your
problem. If it is not free enough for being DFSG-free, I would think
it is a problem of Debian, not of a problem of TeX.

I already told that I have a great respect for Debian and I benefit
from the Debian community support. I personally would suffer if LaTeX
would be moved to non-free and the level of support will be
lowered. However, after long reflection I cannot help but agree with
David Carlisle: if TeX is not free enough for you, I'd prefer my works
released under LPPL to be moved to non-free secton rather than to
butcher the license and sacrifice the goal of creating a permanent
document exchange standard.

You see, it is a honor to be called an author of free
software. However, if you do not consider Knuth to be one, I too
respectfully decline this honor from you. You know, I'd rather be in
the same boat with Don. 

> indicated by me, you have misunderstood the TeX license, which does
> not in fact require what you say it does.  So we can move on from
> there.  

I am not a lawyer, so I cannot claim understanding of intricacies of
licenses. However, I think I understand Knuth's lucid writings about
his intentions with respect to TeX. He many times said that he wants
that after his death TeX version number is frozen at pi, and MF number
frozen at e, and absolutely no change is made to them thereafter. It
is evident for me that he does not want TeX to be gradually improved;
rather he visions completely new systems based on TeX ideas and
code. He wants TeX to be his monument -- these are his exact

> > I need
> > a restriction on *you*, or rather, Jack Distributor. Namely, I need
> > the restriction for Jack Distributor to distribute a "slightly
> > incompatible" TeX *and* call it TeX to unsuspecting John. 
> So, trademark the name TeX.  That's what trademark is for, and the TeX
> license is just peachy.

TeX *is* trademarked. Exactly by the reasons I told you.

> But the Latex license is different, and might well make it nonfree.

I think now that you convinced me. LaTeX *should* be trademarked, and
the trademark use license should require "rename if you change" rule
for BOTH kernel and the independent works if they are released under
(revised) LPPL. Hope lawyers can explain whether this is possible. 

Good luck


Do not simplify the design of a program if a way can be found to make
it complex and wonderful.

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