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Re: Revised LaTeX Project Public License (LPPL)

On Sat, 2003-04-05 at 00:44, Walter Landry wrote:
> Jeff Licquia <licquia@debian.org> wrote:
> > So you do not acknowledge that a particular license might contain
> > elements that are specific to the problem domain?
> Of course I don't acknowledge that.  One of the wonderful things about
> free software is that you can apply it to other problem domains.  To
> limit the problem domain is to restrict modifications.

"elements specific to the problem domain" != "limit the problem domain"

For example:

"If the modified program normally reads commands interactively when run,
you must..."

(GPL, 2c.)

Is this a restriction that GPLed code must read commands interactively
when run?  No, of course not.

> > Remember, also, that code taken out of LaTeX can be relicensed to fit
> > your needs, as long as 5a is respected.  Taking a piece of code,
> > relicensing it under the GPL, and making it a part of GNOME (which
> > doesn't have a validator as described in the license) would be a good
> > example.  You couldn't reintegrate that code into LaTeX anyway without
> > changing LaTeX (unless you were reintegrating it to make it exactly like
> > a released version of LaTeX, which is explicitly allowed), which would
> > require that you mark it as non-standard, change the file name, etc.
> Actually, you can't take LPPL'd code and mix it with GPL code.  It
> still carries along the restriction on the name etc. when used with
> the original validating framework, which is a restriction beyond what
> the GPL requires.

Except that you can't make GPL code validate with the LPPL validator,
since the GPL and LPPL are not compatible.  So, since there's no danger
that the code will be run through the validator and identify itself as
"standard", the GPL satisfies 7a.  So the GPL is a valid license to
relicense LPPL code under.

(At least, that's my understanding.)

> > This example seems to indicate that your main problem with the
> > validator is that it seems like a programmatic restriction.  If it
> > were made more clear that this is not the case, would this satisfy
> > you?  How would you change it?
> It would satisfy me, but I can't think of a wording that will likely
> satisfy the LaTeX people.  The only place where you can really say
> that something is only for people, and not for machines, is in
> something that machines don't read (e.g. comments).  Beyond that, you
> get into things that aren't really part of the program (e.g. don't
> call the "thing" LaTeX).

This is not true in at least one case: copyright notices.  We already
allow the GPL to require the printing of copyright notices when run
under certain circumstances.  If the mechanism I mention is a mechanism
for the printing of copyright notices on the code, then this restriction
is no more onerous than the restriction in the GPL, as I see it.

And, having worked with the LaTeX people for a while now, I think it's
fairly likely that they'll accept wording to that effect.
Jeff Licquia <licquia@debian.org>

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