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Sender: Mailing list for the LaTeX3 project <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Wed, 3 Jul 2002 18:49:13 +0200
Reply-To: Mailing list for the LaTeX3 project <[log in to unmask]>
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From: Frank Mittelbach <[log in to unmask]>
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 > What I'm trying to point out, though, is that there are some
 > people (*not me*) in the Debian Project who believe that there are
 > aspects of the LPPL that conflict with the Debian Free Software
 > Guidelines.

picking up on the discussion started elsewhere: we know that but, until know we
never been explicitly told what these conflicts are and/or whether this is a
majority or minority opinion etc. Neither by the Debian Project nor by the OSI
people. An if you look at the link passed around lately


you see that they never even got very far in discussing the license or
forming an opinion (and the information that was passed back to us was even
less). So yes we care but you need something to discuss beyond "there are some
people with feelings". a) those feelings need to go into a similar direction
or else you will be changing things forever without any change in status and
b) they need to be formulated to be able to act upon or discuss them at least.

 > Assuming that you care about DFSG status (and
 > therefore about LaTeX being distributable by Debian and other
 > projects that use the DFSG as a guide -- the Open Source
 > Initiative's criteria are essentially identical to the DFSG),
 > understanding the conflicts and considering alternatives is
 > important.

yes, which is why this is all so frustating, see how careful you are with the wording:
 > Once again, the main concerns appear to be

"appears to be" or "is"? is this the position of the Debian Project or the
position of individuals etc?

anyway, let's assume for the moment these "are" the concerns ...

 >    1. The restriction on modifying files without changing their
 >       names, even if those files will never be distributed

which restriction are you talking about? I'm not aware of any.
do you mean

    A Recommendation on Modification Without Distribution

that does not contain any restrictions (it is clearly labeled a recommendation)

 >    2. The requirement to distribute modified (and renamed) files
 >       with a complete set of the unmodified versions of those
 >       files

As stated above there exist no such requirement either. The license says on
this point:

  8. You must do either (A) or (B):

       (A) distribute a copy of The Program (that is, a complete,
           unmodified copy of The Program) together with the modified
           file; if your distribution of the modified file is made by
           offering access to copy the modified file from a designated
           place, then offering equivalent access to copy The Program
           from the same place meets this condition, even though third
           parties are not compelled to copy The Program along with the
           modified file;

       (B) provide to those who receive the modified file information
           that is sufficient for them to obtain a copy of The Program;
           for example, you may provide a Uniform Resource Locator (URL)
           for a site that you expect will provide them with a copy of
           The Program free of charge (either the version from which
           your modification is derived, or perhaps a later version).

ie all it "requires" is to point out in your modified source where to get the
original from, e.g. CTAN. Is that too much to require?
I'm happy to discuss the rationale behind it, it is the attempt to help the
user who gets crippled variants of The Program, to have at least a chance to
look at the original. And it dates back from the days where internet access
and search machines where less common, so it may not be necessary nowadays. On
the other hand i would like to see a case made why this is in conflict with
the DFSG.

In fact I have just (tried to) reread the DFSG very carefully and I wasn't
able to find any clause that would be in conflict with the LPPL but I would be
very much interested in being shown any such conflict.

 > There are additional quibbles about some perceived redundancy; the
 > precise wording of various phrases; and the placement of
 > punctuation that can subtly change the meaning of particular
 > clauses, as well, but I'll leave that to the people with those
 > concerns to articulate.

quibbles about placement of punctuation is something that as far as english is
concerned is a matter of debate between any two literate persons. I'm not at
all saying that the document is legally correct in its terms, but there is a
lot of difference between british english and amercian english and it wouldn't
surprise me if there aren't two lawyers that would have an heated argument on
any sentence within that license (or others).

On the other hand, I for my part, and most likely the rest of the LaTeX
Project team as well, would be very willing to get "knowledgeable" advice on
that level, though not necessarily by other layman (as the latter would
probably just mean changing from one version to the next).

in any case, that last set of described "quibbles" is good for nothing unless
it is accompanied by a thorough set of comments and reasonings (like Rod Dixon
in the link above started, though he never got got any far to make his
comments really useful)

 > I'm not the one making these judgements, and I don't necessarily
 > agree with them.  I'm simply passing them along so that you can
 > take them into consideration in order to ensure that they can pass
 > muster with organizations using the DFSG or DFSG-like criteria to
 > judge the ``freedom'' of licenses.

glad to. but my main request then is: please have such judgements made
precise, have Debian Project tell us where LPPL is in conflict with DFSG, or
the OSI people to tell us where LPPL is in conflcit with their guidelines.

When we submitted the license in 2000 they never came up with something
specific either that one could built upon (other than perhaps the problem I
tried to resolve when I started this thread --- though that wasn't explicitly
said either back then)