Re: Bug#491354: Handling of RC licensing bugs in TeXLive
Frank Küster <email@example.com> wrote:
> Dear release team,
> I kindly request your advice on handling three RC bugs in TeXLive
will someone among you find time to handle this issue? You are probably
aware that the texlive cannot simply be removed if their RC bug seems to
block the release, because this would cause tons of FTBFS RC bugs.
So this has to be acted on. For one of the three bugs, we ask for a
lenny-ignore tag. For one more, we ask you to consider this, although we
are unsure whether this is acceptable for the release team.
> Although all bug
> numbers look quite recent, the first two are actually very old. But
> these issues were originally reported against existing bugs in teTeX
> which collected all license issues known at this time, and have now been
> #477060, amslatex license; Source Package: texlive-base
> Details of problems: The license of the AMSLaTeX package (Copyright by
> the American Mathematical Society, AMS) is phrased badly and is
> literally non-free. Plus, individual files have a different
> license header in the file.
> What's happened so far:
> - Barbara Beeton at AMS has been contacted in April 2006 and
> answered promptly. A discussion about License details followed,
> only the parts relevant for AMSLaTeX are in the bug report. She
> said they'd sort this out and use a DFSG-free license, but that
> this might take long, because the people doing the work aren't
> the ones to decide (and I guess the AMS management needed to
> ask a lawyer, too).
> - Following this answer, the bug report which originally
> contained this conversation, #356853, got an etch-ignore tag.
> - Nothing happened (no upload of AMSLaTeX to CTAN, in particular)
> - In 2007, Barbara Beeton said they were working on it, and how
> they planned to change things (but referring only to a part of
> the problem)
> - In particular, she said that the license of the
> individual files, as well as some related package, amsrefs, to
> the LPPL. This is planned for the 2008 update of AMS macros
> - In April this year, the discussion came up again on the
> Upstream (TeXLive) list, and Barbara Beeton answered again (see
> now saying that the license of AMSLaTeX itself is going to be
> sorted out in a subsequent step. The timeline is
> | our hope is that, barring disasters, the update
> | of ams-latex -- all of it -- will be ready by
> | the end of the calendar year. (but unfortunately,
> | we must allow for disasters; this past year has [...]
> I am aware that foo-ignore tags are usually granted for licensing issues
> when it upstream has assured to be willing to clarify the situation in a
> DFSG-free manner, *and* it can be expected that this is going to happen
> in a timely manner. And that "timely manner" usually does not mean
> longer than a Debian stable lifetime. While the first is completely true
> here, the update has already taken very long, and there is now no chance
> to get the planned update into lenny. I can personally understand well
> why Upstream (AMS) has not been able to make an upload - their business
> is not software development, but support for american mathematicians,
> and I am sure that they *will* eventualy do it. But I would also accept
> if the release team no longer feels confident that anything is going to
> Anyway, I kindly request considering a lenny-ignore tag for this bug.
> #483217, files by Donald Arseneau; Source Package: texlive-base
> This has also first been reported in #356853.
> Details of the problem: Donald Arseneau is a long-time contributor to
> the TeX community. In the old days he used no license at all, or very
> different license texts, many of which are legally unclear ("This is
> free, unencumbered, unsupported software."), for his works. But the
> general believe in the community is that he intends his stuff to be free
> software. Just he doesn't care for legalese, and isn't easy to convince
> to make any change.
> Lately, I asked about this on the Upstream (TeXLive) mailing list, and
> got an answer in
> http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=356853#260 with contact
> data and a discouraging comment about getting an answer from him about
> licensing stuff. Still, I would prefer to give it a try and convice him
> before simply removing the files.
> However, it is clear that no one among the Debian TeX Team will have
> time to do this in the next couple of weeks, in other words in a
> timeframe usefull for the lenny release.
> The reasons: Many contributors to the team usually just leave licensing
> questions to Norbert and me. Norbert is on VAC for I think 5 more weeks,
> and I have just become father of a sweet son and am going to start my
> paid work again tomorrow. I am sure this will leave me no time to
> concentrate on a conversation with someone who's a bit "problematic", in
> particular not to follow up on answers soon. And IMO not allowing things
> to be forgotten is very important when discussing licensing things with
> reluctant upstreams.
> Thus, our personal timeline would be "contact him in autumn, give the
> attempt two or three weeks, and remove if nothing can be gained". Again,
> this doesn't fit the lenny release timeline. Furthermore, one open
> question is whether files with unclear phrasing of their license should
> be removed "to be sure" or can be kept if we believe it is safe.
> I'd be glad if you'd grant this bug a lenny-ignore tag, too, although I
> admit that the reasoning is weak.
> #491354, Source Package: texlive-extra
> This has been found out only recently by Karl Berry on the TeXLive
> list. In a mail about a functional patch to one of the files he wrote in
> parentheses "I wonder if these wsuipa fonts are truly free, BTW. I see
> no notices anywhere."
> Upstream is just about to release TeXLive 2008. This means that Karl in
> particular will be completely taken up by this for the next 2 to 4
> weeks. From what I know from him, he will probably follow up on that
> issue himself, more so when we remind him. But he won't do it in the
> next month.
> In the case of this bug, I suggest to leave it just as it is for a
> while: No ignore tags, since it wouldn't be warranted, but also no
> removal from the package (or of the package). If Karl is still unable to
> help us in late August, we should try to find time to make the contact
> ourselves, and if that doesn't happen or is unsuccessful the fonts
> should be removed shortly before the release.
> Some remarks on the impact of removal:
> We must admit that we do not know whether any of these files is used for
> building Debian packages. My guess is that AMSLaTeX might be used by
> some mathematics packages. This could be checked by looking at packages
> with debtag field:mathematics which contain documentation, and verifying
> whether any of them has hand-written LaTeX documentation (as opposed to
> generated code). The files by Donald Arseneau might also be used by
> packages' documentation, but I don't think this is very likely. The
> wsuipa phonetic fonts are outdated (superseded by tipa), and my guess is
> that any actively developped package related to phonetics has switched
> to tipa.
> I'd appreciate your comments,
> Frank Küster
> Debian Developer (teTeX/TeXLive)
Debian Developer (TeXLive)
B90/Grüne KV Miltenberg