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

David Starner <starner@okstate.edu> writes:

> "Knuth wants TeX to be frozen at version pi when he dies;
> thereafter, no further changes may be made to Knuth's source."
> This doesn't make clear what TeX covers, nor what can be done
> with it. Depending on how you read "Knuth's source", it could
> be a very lax license ("Do whatever you want with this code,
> just add a note saying you modified the code if you did so."),
> or something prohibiting the distribution of anything but
> the original web in any form, including binary.

Fortunately, the versions approaching pi are associated with one
specific file: tex.web.  And since what Knuth has said in the file
matches the quote above, this disambiguates quite well.

Knuth doesn't want tex.web changed after he dies, and, he wants the
name TeX (as protected by trademark) to be associated only with
systems that 1) the maker/patcher/installer of is happy to consider a
real TeX, and 2) pass the trip test.  

Nothing in that says anything about cmfonts.  Indeed, IIRC, the trip
test does *not* use the cmfonts, but uses special tfm files specially
constructed for the test.

While "plain TeX" does refer to the normal filenames of the cmfonts,
it contains no indication that it can only be used with them, and it
should also be noted that "plain.tex" and "tex.web" are different
files with different copying conditions.

Once again:

1) TeX and associated things from Knuth (with the possible exception of
the cmfonts) are free.

2) The LaTeX people posting here have misunderstood the actual
   conditions that Knuth and AMS have placed on the relevant works of

3) The LaTeX people believe that their license is similar to the Knuth
   licenses, when in fact, it is very different--but it is similar to
   their misunderstanding of the Knuth licenses.

4) If their understanding of the Knuth licenses were correct--which it
   is not--then the Knuth code would all be nonfree.  Fortunately,
   their understanding is not correct.

5) The LaTeX people have no standing or other claim to help us decide
   what the TeX-related licenses mean; they are very clear, and pass
   teh DFSG (again, possibly with the exception of the CM fonts).
   Because of (2), their contributions here are destructive.

6) A new LaTeX license is supposedly in the works.  So let's wait and
   see what it says.


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