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

* Boris Veytsman <borisv@lk.net> [020808 21:04]:
> [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. 

The situation I tried to construct was a litte bit more complex to
disable all ways out on the one side and making a change to be able
to fix it. 

A lunatic author can make it impossible to get a stable system, most
of the time even changes will not help to get a system which is also
feasable to be used with interchanged documents from and to new and
old systems.
With an incompatible change, that is expected to be used otherwise,
you have no chance then to follow it - perhaps a bit later and with
warnings - otherwise you will not be able to interchange new documents.

In an situation, where one package can not be changed but has to be
because of some incompatibility between it and a other one, changing
could help to archive the goal.

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

But what Debian ships should suffice for all its users, escpecially
administraters of large sites and pools with hunderets of different
users. In my example I constructed, one either could use the 
old article and old important ( braking all documents using this
new feature in article coming from others sides, so a No-No) or
making "important" totally useless. ( beeing not the way to go, too).

> 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

I tried to make this impossible in my example, as this might silently
break the given important documents when this is forgotten anywhere.

> 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.

I think any licence with which Debian can ship .cfg-files in the binary 
packages containing LaTeX, should and would be considered free enough.

> 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.

This would be the second best possibility. If only shipping the new
version and not the old, all 100.000 documents and programms generating
such documents could 'easily' (hust) be found and changed, so this would
make it hard to interchange documents with people keeping the old

The reason to consider name-chaning requirements of _programs_ not
harmful (but only as stupid) is that it can be changed in advance.
But this is not true for anything part of an iterchangeable interface.

> Was my life difficult? No doubt. However, I guess it would be as
> difficult as this if listings would be released under GPL. 

That is true. But while the right to not be tortured by police won't
help me against beeing tortued by my neighbor, it is still a worthy
freedom to have.

> 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. 

As said before, if the new license allows things like shipping a .cfg
or some other aquivalent of patching, it is IMHO free enough. 

> 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. 

I think if the license would clearly limit it restrictions to areas with
anything called LaTeX it might remove even more provisos. ( As in my
opinion a licence is thatmuch better, the more usefull things it allows,
that where not thought about by the author)

  Bernhard R. Link

<gEistiO> sagen wir mal...ich hab alle sourcen in /lost+found/waimea
<me> gEistiO: [...] Warum lost+found?
<gEistiO> wo haette ich es denn sonst hingeben solln?

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