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

> From: tb@becket.net (Thomas Bushnell, BSG)
> Date: 08 Aug 2002 12:52:47 -0700

> No.  I want to say:
> Knuth wanted to make TeX free, and he did.  And the LaTeX people want
> a *different* license from the TeX license--indeed, they want one that
> is quite possibly non-free.
> Because the LaTeX people have seriously misunderstood the TeX license
> in several areas, they incorrectly think their license is basically
> the same as the TeX license.

Thomas, the wishes of Knuth need not to be divined. He expressed them
quite clearly. Why do not you read some FAQ, say,

We discussed this issue SEVERAL times. I am completely exhausted
repeating the same simple truths.

I afraid you are in state of denial. You have certain ideas about
programmer's freedom. You value these ideas too much, you just cannot
accept the fact that Knuth does not share them. Since this cannot be
done rationally (how can one reconcile the idea that TeX can be
modified gradually with the well expressed wish of Knuth for TeX to be
frozen after his death?), you do it irrationally. In one paragraph you
scold Knuth for not being clear enough in his writings, in the next
one you say that he is clear and unambigous. This is not
self-consistent, but rationalizations need not be
self-consistent. Then you accuse the LaTeX community in
misunderstanding Knuth. Again, it is not consistent with the idea that
TeX license is clear and free (and with the simple fact that TeX
community keeps contacts with DEK), but this is normal for the state
of denial to overlook glaring logical gaps.

It is all very interesting, but I am afraid it is outside of my
scope. If you want to keep the notion that TeX is wonderfully free and
the TeX community is misguided, while you are the fountian of
knowledge, it is fine with me. If you wish, I agree that you used
LaTeX before Lamport, or that you are Napoleon and King of Persia
simultaneously. Surely, why not?

> > Therefore your drop-in replacement without changing the name
> > of TeX is violation of license, and no amount of word juggling will
> > ever change this.
> Which license?  Exactly!  Can you quote it?  

The trademark of the American Mathematical Society.

Thomas, there was a clear experiment showing that you are not
right. In 1996 Slackware packaged NTeX with changed cmr* files. Note
that NTeX people *did* publicise the fact that their fonts are not
Knuthian; they used this as an argument for their distro ("New and
improved fonts based on the Professor Knuth set" was their
line). Knuth publicly accused them that they violated his rights (I do
not remember whether he mentioned copyright, trademark or both, and
this page is no longer avialable on the Web). There was no court
case; rather Slackware chose to switch to teTeX. I never had heard of
NTeX thereafter. 

I do remember the pesky taks of upgrading all my Slackware boxes. I
definitely do not want to repeat this on my Debian boxes if Debian
comunity decides that it has the right to make such drop-in

Good luck


Memory should be the starting point of the present.

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