## LATEX-L@LISTSERV.UNI-HEIDELBERG.DE

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```Greetings:

I apologize for butting in in the ongoing discussion. Moreover, I am
neither a lawyer nor a LaTeX3 team member (a couple of my programs are
in the distribution,  both under GPL and LPPL). Nevertheless I hope
that my thoughts might be of use.

I am a Debian and LaTeX user, so the present misunderstanding between
Debian and LaTeX3 concerns me a lot.

I think Debian team overlooks a couple of points.

1. Debian already uses software other than LaTeX under the "no changes
unless the files are renamed" clause. This is Don Knuth's TeX and
MF suite *and* the relevant fonts. Let me remind you that the
licensing of TeX is rather peculiar:

A. The program itself is in the public domain -- you can do
whatever you want with the code or its parts

B. The *name* TeX is reserved for Knuth's program. If you program
is called TeX, it must satisfy triptest. You can NOT correct bugs
in this program, you cannot do Debian QA for it -- you either take
it as is or rename it.

The same is going for Knuth's Computer Modern fonts. You can do
whatever you want with the lettershapes -- as long as you do not

If Debian wants to declare (and presumably delete from the main
distribution) the software under this license, it would be
hypocrisy to keep TeX and fonts. I wonder whether people realize
that this means a complete disaster for the GNU info system? GNU
info is prepared with a program called texinfo, which is basically
a special TeX format.

2. Debian people seem not to realize that LaTeX (and TeX) is BOTH a
program and a language -- and a language requires
standardization. The nightmare of incompatible HTML dialects proves
this point well. Yes, standards limit freedom in some way. However,
do you really want your grocer to have a freedom to call 800g a
kilogram?

As a LaTeX user I have two requirements:

A. Standardization. I want a LaTeX document to be compiled and
printed exactly in the same way at my desk, at my publisher's desk,
at my student's computers etc UNLESS I or students or publishers
want otherwise.

B. Flexibility. I want a possibility to completely change
appearance of any document I received -- IF I WANT IT.

The present state of LaTeX satisfies these requirements. Due to
LPPL I am assured that my documents will look exactly the same if
their source code is unchanged. Due to the fact that LaTeX is a
macro language, I can redefine ANY command in any document.

Suppose a user is near blind and wants all documents to be printed
in a big fontsize. He can create a program (in latexese called
style) bigsize.sty and add to all his documents a line
\usepackage{bigsize}. By doing this he makes a decision about
document formatting. He is free to do this under LPPL. On the other
hand, the authors of the documents know that the formatting of
their works is exactly same UNLESS a user made an explicit decision
to change.

To summarize: I think LPPL strikes a necessary balance between
standardization and flexibility. This balance was tested by 20+ years