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Frank Mittelbach <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Mailing list for the LaTeX3 project <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 17 Jul 2002 00:00:41 +0200
text/plain (315 lines)
Branden Robinson writes:
 > I am disappointed that you did not reply to one of my points:
 >      The entire raison d'etre of a copyright license is to "enforce
 >      things legally".  Perhaps you should contrain the LPPL's scope
 >      to whatever ends you want to achieve with that means.

you asked that question in relation with a situation that I was going to
address (with respect to the content of LPPL) in a reply to Jeff's point
and still intend to. but i found the question  a bit beside the point as i
doubt that, say, anybody tried to enforce a similar "private"  violation that
could be constructed for any other license that is debian approved.

 > More specifically, a requirement to rename is a restriction on the
 > rights Debian attempts to protect with DFSG 3:
 >      Derived Works
 >      The license must allow modifications and derived works, and must
 >      allow them to be distributed under the same terms as the license
 >      of the original software.
 > Note that there is no qualification on "modifications" or "derived
 > works".  The only exceptions to this rule that Debian recognizes in
 > practice are restrictions against the removal of applicable copyright
 > notices or license texts.  That is because the notion of copyright is
 > the edifice upon which free licensing is built; if there were no such
 > thing as copyright, we might not even need "Free Software Guidelines".

sorry i'm probably dumb, so please give it another try: what has "same terms
and same license" to do with allowing something to pretend to be something else?
i don't see that requiring derived work to identify itself differently is in
violation of this clause

 >      Integrity of The Author's Source Code
 >      The license may restrict source-code from being distributed in
 >      modified form _only_ if the license allows the distribution of
 >      "patch files" with the source code for the purpose of modifying
 >      the program at build time. The license must explicitly permit
 >      distribution of software built from modified source code. The
 >      license may require derived works to carry a different name or
 >      version number from the original software. (This is a
 >      compromise. The Debian group encourages all authors not to
 >      restrict any files, source or binary, from being modified.)
 > There are several salient points here:
 > 1) You are not allowed to impose further restrictions on modification
 >    apart from what this clause permits.

ok, there is some leftover wording in the draft that contains further
restriction in particular

< Additional Conditions on Individual Files of The Program
< --------------------------------------------------------
< An individual file of The Program may bear additional conditions that
< supplement and/or supersede the conditions in this license if, and only
< if, such additional conditions exclusively concern modification of the
< file or distribution of a modified version of the file.  The conditions
< on individual files of The Program therefore may differ only with
< respect to the kind and extent of modification of those files that
< is allowed, and with respect to the distribution of modified versions
< of those files.
<   - You may not modify any file with filename extension `.ins' since
<     these are installation files containing the legal notices that are
<     placed in the files they generate.

 > 2) Note that the permitted restriction is only on redistribution of
 >    modified works, not modification itself.

it is not the intention to disallow modification without redistribution. the
license has a paragraph labeled recommendation that talks about that but that
is already by its title a suggestion only

 > 3) If your license restricts modification, it fails DFSG 3.  DFSG 4 only
 >    addresses the form in which modifications are distributed.

it does not.

 > 4) In practice, Debian recognizes "a different name or version number"
 >    to refer *works*, not filenames.  Permission to mandate or forbid the
 >    renaming of files is not explicitly granted here, and would not make
 >    sense from a technological perspective (what to do about primitive
 >    filesystems with length limitations on filenames, which mandate
 >    version information in the filename itself, are not case-sensitive,
 >    or otherwise restrict us from the liberties we are accustomed to
 >    enjoying on modern Unix filesystems?).

well, for LaTeX file names are part of the language so it is not as simple as
you make it out. in other word the file name is indeed (and if you like
unfortunately, i agree with you so far) the *works* as far as a latex package
is concerned.

 >  Surely you'd agree that a
 >    work retains its identity regardless of its title or what means are
 >    used to identify it.  I can't digitally edit a Disney movie to
 >    replace the title with my own and thus ignore Disney's copyright on
 >    the movie.

Lars (who was speaking as a user using LPPL not as somebody from the latex
borject team) already tried to explain that in his posting: we (ie the
license) are not trying to apply file name restrictions to the means of of
transporting packing ...  a WORK, we limit that explicitly to individual files
within the work because that actually is the WORK and extends/modifies the

 > 5) Exercise of DFSG 4 as a means of getting around DFSG 3's clear and
 >    unambiguous meaning is explicitly identified as a compromise, and
 >    copyright holders are explicitly asked not to use it.  It may be that
 >    clause 4 of the DFSG will be ommitted in a future revision of DFSG 4.

if DFSG would be without 4 i still have problems to see why you think we
violate 3. we offer a simple way to do anything:

 - either in a way that the language automatically understands that it is
   using something different from the default (ie by name change)

 - or by supplying a way that instead of the WORK LaTeX you use the work X
   with a change that takes you about ten minutes to implement --- i'v given
   the citation showing the necessary code in one of my replies to Jeff (you
   lose however the assurance that the system will produce predictable output
   on different implementations and that id why nobody to my knowledge
   actually every done that)

 > > I have tried to do that already in my posts to Jeff, please reread them. in a
 > > nutshell: LaTeX is not just the installation on a local machine it is
 > > the ability to communicate over a network of machines and to get identical
 > > results in different places.  LPPL preserves the right of the user to get
 > > identical output from identical input which is a major feature of TeX.
 > A copyright license is a poor tool to achieve that end, unless you're
 > not interested in circulating among the free software community.
 > Trademarks and certification marks are tools better suited to
 > controlling endorsements of conformance with a standard or set of usage
 > practices.

How do you back up that claim? a) works that are lessin need to be predictibly
identical (both in its standard form as well as in any forks) try to do that
to some extend, eg the Artistic license

 > >  > > It is certainly (a bit) more work to rename a file rather than to
 > >  > > simply change it, but while I concur with you that for stuff which is
 > >  > > essentially local to my environment this is fine (and thus something
 > >  > > like GPL or whatever is appropriate) for the benefit of LaTeX as a
 > >  > > freely extensible and changeable system for exchange of information it
 > >  > > is not.
 > >  >
 > >  > I hope you'll agree with me that this statement is a subjective analysis.
 > >
 > > subjective analysis of what? sure it is subjective (what else should it be, I
 > > am a subject) but so is most of what i've seen so far as arguments or rather
 > > comments with respect to LPPL.
 > That restrictions on the user's freedom which are unacceptable for other
 > free software projects are acceptable for LaTeX (even if LaTeX wants to
 > be recognized as "free software").

well, I try one more time: there is a difference in, say an emacs el file to a
geometry.sty file for LaTex. the first is something which is normally used on
a single machine and it doesn't matter for its functionality at all if you and
I (or I on different machines) have different ones. but for something like
geometry.sty it matters. if on my latop (where i use a different LATeX
distribution to the one on the machine i'm writing from now) the two geometry
files would differ i could kiss formatting my current book goodbye (which is
written half between both systems and one at CERN and one at Oxford)

now you are arguing that it is my responsibilty to ensure that in all such places i
need to ensure that i have the same files (they are part of the language
itself) and each time compare the log files and ...

and i claim you are arguing this way because you are only accustomed to
projects to which only the single machine implementation matters.

and that is in summary why indeed we think that there is someting acceptable
for LaTeX and software that has similar needs that would be unacceptable to
software thatdoes not have this need.

 > >  > Asserting intellectual property right in the output of LaTeX would not
 > >  > be acceptable[1].  Such an assertion would be logically required if you
 > >  > put some indicator of modified-LaTeX status into users' output and
 > >  > forbade them from removing that indicator.
 > >
 > > ehh? who asks for that? are you saying that it is not allowed to require on
 > > the terminal display (when a program starts) to ensure that it identifies
 > > itself properly? There is no requirement whatsoever to identify itself in its
 > > program output, eg on the printed page or something. All the license ask that
 > > if it is not X it should not display claiming to be X.
 > No, I mean that it's not acceptable for the copyright holders of LaTeX
 > to assert intellectual property rights in works created using LaTeX,
 > such as masters' theses, conference proceedings, journal articles, or
 > philosophical screeds.  That's what I mean by the "output" of LaTeX.
 > I'm talking about the product of LaTeX that is (most) valuable to the
 > person using it, which is presumably a transformation of his or her
 > input.

sorry, can somebody help a stupid German here? I don't understand what you are
talking about or in what respect this is to something LPPL does.

 > > if there is something in LPPL (not in any statements made in this list) from
 > > which you wrongly got this impression, please point it out, since this is
 > > clearly neither wanted nor needed.
 > No, I'm just trying to make sure that I'm not misleading about what
 > sorts of things do and don't violate the DFSG.  I wouldn't want to play
 > some bait-and-switch game leading you to believe that if you were just
 > able to place an idelible stamp in, say, a .dvi file that says "THIS
 > be able to drop the filename-renaming restriction and everyone would be
 > happy.

okay, sigh, stupid German got the point (he hopes)

 > > sorry, but you missed the point about what LaTeX is: it is not just a core
 > > distribution of the 20odd files (for those one could implement any scheme to
 > > keep it sane, it is a few hundred different files written by many different
 > > people and thereis no way to automatically detect a "standard" state for that
 > > environment by software means easily.
 > From a software licensing perspective, LaTeX is a copyrighted work[1]; no
 > more, and no less.  The terms under which this copyrighted work is
 > licensed must satisfy the Debian Free Software Guidelines to be
 > part of the Debian distribution.  All other considerations are
 > peripheral in this context.

the intention is to find out if that is thecase, yes, or if not why not and
whtehr this can be mended with satifaction of all sides. but that doesn't mean
that it is peripheral.

what i trying to make you understand is that there is beside an individual
work under LPPL (of which many indiviuals exist) there is LaTeX as a language
which defines itself as the union of such works and (as i said earlier) due
to the unfortunate situation that TeX and LATeX already are nearly 20 years
old are bound to filenames

 > >  > I'm not a very sophisticated TeX user, but I'm in the habit of
 > >  > reading the warnings it gives me.  I've learned to ignore overfull
 > >  > and underfull hboxes, but maybe real TeXperts have such
 > >  > self-confidence that they ignore everything.  :)  In any event,
 > >  > it's the user's responsibility to read the output the program gives
 > >  > him.
 > >
 > > beside being nearly impossible to implement (if at all) that would be
 > > impractical
 > Why would it be impossible to implement?  I can do it in the shell:
 >      #!/bin/sh
 >      if [ -e /usr/share/tex/MODIFIED ]; then
 >      fi
 >      exec latex "$@"

sorry you can't because there is a constantly changing number of files that
form the LaTeX language. the point is that for a document you can have two

 - the subset of the latex language used by the document is being found in the
   current installation (ie all files are found)

 - some subset is not available
   in that case the receiving user may have to install more components

but there is no way to put that shell wrapper decide whether or not it is a
conformant latex. distributions add or leave out subsets of the language or
add forked version etc and all of that is fine as long as they are under a
license like LPPL because then the use still has only the above two states.

beside why make 99% conformant subsets claim they are probably not just because
there has been some change/fix/improvement.

(however, if people desire to replace the 2 level model with  one
in which the first is replaced by

 - the subset is fund, but at each side you carefully have to check that the
   results you get from the run are the same you got elsewhere

then we offer a way to do that.

so yes i think you should seriously consider reasoning that let us
believe that our software written for emacs is distributed under a license
close to your acustomed way of thinking about free software but latex is
better distributed in a way that is perhaps new to your thinking --- but that
doesn't necessarily make it unfree or not complient with somehting like DSFG

 > > And to be honnest what "seems to grate on me more than anything else" (to use
 > > Jeff's words) are statements like your last sentence, ie the progammers view
 > > of the type
 > >
 > >   free software is to serve my private whims -- f*** the others
 > This sounds more like an inflammatory straw man than an argument.

sorry, probably yes --- my excuse is that sometimes email is not a good medium
for such discussions.

i will stop here (it is again after midnight which means my working day now
had 17 hours)

good night