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Re: Revised LaTeX Project Public License (LPPL)

sorry for joining late, but i was away without email access, as a result it is
a bit difficult to join in without possibly overlooking arguments already
presented, sorry if that is going to happen

Mark Rafn writes:

 > On Thu, 3 Apr 2003, Jeff Licquia wrote:
 > > That's basically the idea.  *If* there is a validation mechanism, and
 > > *if* the module uses the validation mechanism to assert it is "Standard
 > > LaTeX", then when you change the file, you must ensure that the module
 > > does not validate as "Standard LaTeX".  This can be done by removing the
 > > validation mechanism from the base or by causing the file in question to
 > > not report itself as standard.
 > It still depends on the platform that runs it to determine whether the
 > modification is allowed.  It may be that this is free when distributed
 > with a base format that does no such validation and non-free otherwise.

it seems to me that there is a fundamental misunderstanding to what 5.a.2
supposed to allow or prevent or how. so probably there is lot wrong with the
wording still and i hope we can sort this out.

it should _not_ be the case that it depends on the platform to determine
whether modifications are allowed or how.

 > By the way, say I do this (I make a modification for use on my  
 > non-validating base format, and I don't change the validation signature 
 > because I don't have to under the last sentence of 5.a.2).  

wrong. the base format that provides or does not provide a validating facility
is given by the license, ie either the original work said something like:

  % For interpretation of the LPPL the Base Format for this work 
  % is the "LaTeX-Format".

see section "How to Use This License" or in absense of it the default from the
definition of `The Base Format' kicks in, which says: 

   If not explicitly specified as part of the license notice, the Base Format
   for The Work under this license is the "LaTeX-Format".

perhaps that wording is not very good since it only intends to define Base
Format for the  application of the license and has no meaning on how you use
the The Work in practice. For example a typical work would have the Base
Format being the LaTeX-format even though the same work is normally used both
with the LaTeX-Format, the eLaTeX-format, the Omega-format just to name a few

I guess the problem starts with the first sentence of 5.a.2 when interpreting

 "If the file is used directly by the Base Format when run..."

my interpretation is that "file" is the original file before modification so
determining whether or not it is used directly or can be used directly by the
Base Format is not something that varies according to the environment.

thus you can't get to the scenario 

 > And then give 
 > the file to my friend, who has a base format which DOES validate.  Nothing 
 > prevents him using or distributing this file (which is just the Work I 
 > gave him, he's not modifying it), right?

because for modifying the file in the first place you are required by 5.a.2 to
change that part that contains the use of the facility of the _Base Format_ as
defined by the original Work so that in case your modification is used with
that Base Format that it _then_ does not represent itself as the unmodified

this is quite independent from you and/or your friend using it with a
different Base-Format that disregards this facility

now having said all this, please let me make a few more observation before you
shout at me.

 - from what i read so far one concern is  the dependency of the work from the
   license of the Base Format --- at first glance this sounds like a very
   valid concern and I would need to think about that further.

   originally the Base Format (as far as validation facilities are concerned)
   did have been fixed and part of the license in which case this problem
   would disappear. the reason for making it a variable was the intention to
   allow this license to work in similar areas, ie the various TeX dialects
   that float around. however if that actually produces bad dependencies that
   one doesn't want that this needs to be re-thought.

 - secondly, Jeff's phrasing of 5.a.2 which I thought was quite nice does in
   fact probably allow for possibilites that have not been intended, what
   about something like this instead:

     2. If the file is used directly by the Base Format when run, and the Base
        Format provides a facility for such files to inform the user that it
        is part of the original parts of The Work, then the file does not
        represent itself to the user as being the unmodified original Work.
        This does not imply that the Base Format must provide such a facility;
        only that, if such a facility is available, it must be used in the
        normal way and it must enable the Base Format to pass this message to

    This is a first shot at it, perhaps somebody has a better idea.


ps I would like to thank Jeff at this point very much to spend all the time
with us to rework the license and I do hope that we come to a form that is
acceptable to all of us --- his effort have at least helped already to make
the license much cleaner in many respects, so a big thank you to him from my

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