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

Boris Veytsman <borisv@lk.net> writes:

> Now there are people who do not like DFSG-4. Frank was told when he
> submitted the first draft of LPPL "Act as if there is no DFSG-4,
> because we do not like it anyway". They want to interpret DFSG-4 in
> such a way that it does not cover anything. Then they need to paint
> the people who use this clause as misguided, confused or
> malicious. While they can do this with LaTeX crowd, it would be
> diffcult to show DEK in this light. So they try to prove that TeX "is
> different", and there is a good Knuth and Big Bad LaTeX wolf. I think
> this is not intellectually honest. 

So now you've come to attacking me in the third person.  I'll try

I like the DFSG-4 fine.  Indeed, it covers TeX, and crucially so,
because tex.web permits modification only in the form of patches.
Similarly, cmr10.mf permits modification only if you change its
filename.  Both of these are relatively harmless, in large part
because they don't affect what we name commands or filenames in the
installed system.  Accordingly, DFSG-4 is a great thing!  It correctly
labels TeX (and, I see now, CM fonts) as free.

But if we cannot install what we want on the system, when it comes to
the functional elements of the programs (not what is displayed in
banner messages, for example) then the software simply is not free.
TeX actually *does* allow us to do this.

And the LAPL just doesn't.  The LAPL is, in fact, *different*.  Not by
some mysterious thing, but it's manifestly different.  We can quote
the terms!

You have insisted that it's the same, by pretending that there are
lots of extra conditions attached to the distribution of TeX.  While
many of those are things that any sane person would do, they are not,
in themselves, licensing conditions on TeX.

I'm quite sure that Knuth is very confused about the way licensing
works.  He has himself, in the same utterance, said that he wants
something to be public domain, and that he wants its distribution or
use restricted in some particular way.  That is a manifest indication
that he just doesn't understand free software licensing very well.
Heck, many people don't.

But the actual conditions that he has attached to his works, in the
actual licenses, are not offensive to the DFSG.  And the LAPL--which
is *different* in its text, *different* in its requirements--does seem


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