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

> Date: Thu, 8 Aug 2002 20:26:26 +0200
> From: "Bernhard R. Link" <blink@informatik.uni-freiburg.de>

> I will try to describe some worst-case scenario, to describe, what
> it is 

[the scenario is omitted].

You would be surprised, but this scenario is *not* imaginary. Actually
this is what really happened to me. I think this story might be
instructive in this discussion, so please bear with me. 

This story is very unusual in LaTeX word, where stability is prized,
but it did happen.

Carl Heinz, the author of listings package, changed the API several
times. He was nice enough to number the versions by 0.xx, so I SHOULD
know better than to use alpha code on production machines, but I badly
needed this package for my own system of automatic code generation
(what I call semi-literate programming; at some point I am going to
write a paper about it for TUG). Actually some changes were made at my
own request, so I should not complain.

To make a long story short, each of his incompatible upgrades broke my
old documents! So what did I do? Several things -- there are several
of them because I have been living with Carl's changes for four years

1. In some cases I chose not to upgrade the package -- there is
   absolutely no way LPPL requires me to upgrade the software.

2. When I chose to upgrade listings because of nice features of the
   new release, I've put the old versions in the directories where my
   old documents resided. LaTeX in this situation picks the local copy
   instead of the system-wide location. In this way I had the old
   version for my old documents and the new version for my new ones

3. In some cases I changed the file listings.cfg. This is a patch file
   used by listings; there I defined some commands from the old
   release which I used in my system, but Carl chose to delete.

4. At some point I even considered the idea of creating my own
   mylistings.sty, which would check, what kind of listings package is
   installed and patch it accordingly -- something like
   automake. Fortunately, at this point Carl relased the long-awaited
   1.0 version, and the code is promised to be stable.

Was my life difficult? No doubt. However, I guess it would be as
difficult as this if listings would be released under GPL. My
diffculties were becaused by the fact that the task of supporting
software in changing world IS difficult, I did not distribute my
system, but if I did, I do not see how LPPL would make my task any
more difficult, -- or how my life would be easier if listings were
distributed under GPL. 

LPPL was crafted for LaTeX. It is free when used for what it is
created -- at least that is how I understand RMS's remark about LPPL. 

Good luck


Try to get all of your posthumous medals in advance.

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