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Re: Knuth statement on renaming cm files and Licence violation.

Russ Allbery <rra@stanford.edu> writes:

> RMS considered TeX part of the GNU System from the writings that I'm
> familiar with since very early on in the development of that system, so
> apparently, at least from that, did not have a problem with the copying
> policy.  I suppose it's possible that he was unaware of it, but that seems
> very much unlike his normal extreme care with such things.

TeX doesn't *have* a renaming requirement, actually.  You can call the
files *anything you want*, but you can't call the system "TeX" unless
you meet certain conditions.  Naming requirements on packages and such
are harmless, naming requirements on *files* are a much different

> What brought me into this argument, though, is basically a question of
> principal, namely that licenses should be evaluated as if they were
> enforcible even if written in a way that may make them legally
> unenforcible for some reason and even if the person doesn't intend to
> enforce them.  And actually, I doubt that people really disagree with me
> on that.

It depends.  If the question is "what will Debian do" then we act
liberally as you suggest we should.

If the question is "what can our users do", we might well decide that
we want to interpret things differently, with the goal of arguing (on
behalf of our users) for the broadest possible freedoms.

> If Knuth's actual position is that the legal license on his fonts is
> public domain and that he has no interest in forcing anyone to use
> different names, only to get upset at them if they do, and if that
> satisfies the legal requirements of Debian wrt the DFSG, then that's all
> fine and good.  But I personally still find it important that it's *not*
> morally okay to modify the CM fonts and redistribute them under the same
> names.

Fine, but nobody in Debian is considering doing that.  

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