Re: TeX Licenses & teTeX (Was: Re: forwarded message from Jeff Licquia)
On Sat, Aug 10, 2002 at 06:36:56PM -0400, Boris Veytsman wrote:
> Let me ask you this question. Suppose the libfoo-dev.deb package has
> only include files (no compiled libs and objects). The author of the
> package requires that absolutely no changes are done to the
> includes. However, you have the right to distribute patches to any
> foo*.h to be loaded at compile time. Moreover, you are allowed to
> distribute /usr/include/fixedfoo along with /usr/include/foo, and
> there is no restriction of putting into Makefiles
> CFLAGS += -I /usr/include/fixedfoo
> Would you consider libfoo-dev.deb to be free?
Is this not what proprietary library vendors sell? They sell
shrink-wrapped libraries, with copyrighted headers that you may use but
must not modify. This makes sense for them, since you must expose the
source of the header files in order to compile.
Of course, you are allowed make your own source code redefine
these includes, which is equivalent to the system LaTeX provides.
However, the FSF has advised authors not to do this with proprietary
libraries, because it could be interpreted that you are making a derived
work by editing the header files, and that you are in a legally shaky
I would consider this situation to be an edge case, and a very
precarious cliff to be teetering above. Under some interpretations, it
may be free; but under trial conditions, a judge may very well rule
against those interpretations. THIS IS NOT A GOOD THING!