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Re: Revised LaTeX Project Public License (LPPL)

Henning Makholm <henning@makholm.net> wrote:
> 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.

The difference is that you be putting your modifications under a
different license.  Here, you're not changing the license, you're just
modifying the code.

> > 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.

No.  It is possible for people to interpret licenses to make them
non-free.  In that case, the software is really distributed under a
different license.  They can also avail themselves of parts of a
license which make it non-free.  But that is the same as having two
different versions of a license: free and non-free.  Some people
choose the free version, and others choose a non-free one.  A free
license is a free license.

> 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.
> You and I can easily agree that it would be better, all other things
> being equal, to have licenses that could only be applied in ways that
> make the software they apply to free. However, it seems to be
> prohibitively complicated to word such a license such that it stays
> within the intersection of "what the LaTeX people can live with" and
> "what is DFSG-free (at least according to my and Jeff's gut
> feelings)".

I don't think that it is prohibitively complicated.  I think it is
impossible.  The LaTeX people can't live with a free license.  There
is too little control.

Walter Landry

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