[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

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

Boris Veytsman <borisv@lk.net> writes:

> Now it seems that Thomas does not agree with this understanding and
> says that I do not interpret DFSG correctly. It may be so. I am a
> Debian *user*, not a Debian developer. However, you seem to
> accept the second way to be valid. 

The problem is that *filenames* are not the *names of works* as
Branden indicates quite ably.  A filename is also a functional
element, and in that lies all the difference.

> Do we both agree that TeX and friends do not allow the first way of
> modification, but allow the second one? Does it makes them free or
> non-free? 

No, because you've muddled the distinctions.  Either maliciously,
cluelessly, casually, or just plain ineptly.  But muddle them you

And, what also matters is what mechanism is used to effect the
restriction.  We already know that trademark restrictions are
innocuous, because the trademark law itself restricts its own
application to non-functional elements.  

The problem here is that you speak of "TeX and friends" as if there
were unity!  TeX and METAFONT have one license.  Computer Modern has
another.  (And you are simply not competent to address any of those.)
And the LaTeX public license is a third.  They are *not* the same!

> Now let us look at the Computer Modern fonts. You cannot modify them
> in the first way, but you definitely can in the second way. There are
> derivatives of CM released under other names, which are accepted by
> the community. Do you consider CM to be non-free then? Why?

It is irrelevant what is "accepted by the community".  As far as I can
tell, the CM license prohibits modification, period.  Where do you
find this "under other names" clause?  And is that under other names
(innocuous) or does it require actually different filenames?

> Well. you can say, I can accept the requirement of change the name
> Computer Modern to some other name, but I cannot accept the
> requirement of change the *filename* cmr10.tfm to some other
> filename. 

You betcha!  Exactly the key issue.  (Though the need to change
filenames is *NOT* part of the TeX, METAFONT, or CM licenses afaict.)

> If you consider cmr10.tfm to be a separate work, you might
> be right. The trick is, it is not exactly a separate work. Rather, it
> is a distinguishable part of larger entity called "The TeX". 

No, the CM fonts are not, in fact, part of TeX at all.  You might
commonly group them, but they have a different license entirely.

> If you
> make a drop-in replacement of the file cmr10.tfm, you might argue that
> you did not modify Computer Modern fonts (especially if you take care
> to change the banners). However, you definitely changed the larger
> work, TeX. 

There is nowhere a license for "the larger work, TeX".  Rather, there
is a license on the tex.web source (which merely requires that changes
be in patches), and a license on the TeX name (which is a trademark
license, and thus no problem, and which says nothing about filenames.) 

> Therefore a change in cmr10.tfm inside TeX search tree
> *requires* you to change the name of TeX in your distribution. That is
> why you cannot distribute a replacement of cmr10.tfm AND call the
> system TeX.

So, once again, your conclusion is wrong, and I plea, once again:

The freeness of TeX and METAFONT is clear, but there is a
persistent--one might say addictive--blindness to the tremendous
differences between TeX licensing and the LaTeX license under question

Reply to: