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Re: Revised LaTeX Project Public License (LPPL)

Henning Makholm <henning@makholm.net> writes:

> Scripsit Brian T. Sniffen
>> Henning Makholm <henning@makholm.net> writes:
>> > Scripsit Walter Landry <wlandry@ucsd.edu>
>> >> That's good, but only if you're able to modify the Base Format.  It is
>> >> easy to imagine scenarios where you are able to modify individual
>> >> files, but not the validation mechanism.
>> > Could you please imagine one?
>> Sure: I take the Base Format and make a functional change to it,
>> removing the option to turn off validation.  Now I distribute this
>> under your draft LPPL.
> But does that possibility make the original software non-free? Your
> argument seems to be that it is possible to make a derived version
> that is not free - but that possiblity exists for, say, the BSD
> license as well.

No, but it makes my software distributed under the LPPL non free.

It is not possible to distribute non-free software under the MIT/X11
license, for example.

>> The freeness of a license should be as divorced as possible from
>> accidents of implementation.
> Remember that our actual business on debian-legal is not to decide
> whether *licenses* are free, but whether actual pieces of *software*
> are free. As I said, I agree that it is possible to apply the LPPL
> draft in such a way that it results in non-freedom. However, I also
> believe that it is possible to apply it in a free way. The situation
> is not basically that much different from that of the GFDL.

It's greatly different: the document content has no effect with the
GFDL, only the license options chosen.

Given that you and Jeff are proposing this license in isolation,
without providing the code implementing the feature which makes this
free, or even a good specification for it, I find it strange that
you're now arguing that it's wrong to insist that a license be clearly
free in isolation.


Brian T. Sniffen                                        bts@alum.mit.edu

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