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Mailing list for the LaTeX3 project <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 11 Jul 2002 19:36:32 +0200
Mailing list for the LaTeX3 project <[log in to unmask]>
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Frank Mittelbach <[log in to unmask]>
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Marcel Oliver writes:
 > I really did not intend to get into this discussion, as I am
 > definitely not interested in legal details.  However, I keep getting

i don't want to get into this discussion either :-)

in fact i think it is arguing on the wrong level. in my opinion two or three
things should be done

 a) have the Debian people actually tell us where in their opinion the license
is in conflict with the debian rules for free software (if in any)

 b) if necessary (and possible) to adapt LPPL to to fit the debian rules to
 gat this issue out of the rumours

 c) resubmit the license to OSI

a) is hopefully under way with Claire's help and i'm happy enough to defend
the license (as well as thinking about any given arguments) and potentially do

c) could come thereafter.

I don't have any intention to fight on other fronts like savannah myself this
could come after the above if at all.

havying said all that ...

 > So let's analyze the situation:  First, how did the LaTeX 2.09 mess
 > arise in the first place?

okay let's analyze ...

 > 1. LaTeX was essentially abandoned by its original author.

incorrect assumption (and mathematically from FALSE follows ANYTHING :-).
i can say this with some authority as I'm involved in LaTeX maintainence since
1990 and have taken over LaTeX from Leslie.

 > 2. The LaTeX core did have a number of obvious and highly visible
 >    deficiencies that were crying out for improvement.

TRUE, but that wasn't the problem, the problem was the way such improvemnt
where built and integrated (not to speak of the many non-improvements)

 > 3. LaTeX was typically installed on Unix in an academic environment by
 >    system administrators who knew too much for their own good.  No
 >    comprehensive TeX/LaTeX distributions existed and many packages had
 >    to be downloaded and installed individually.

TRUE here the situation has changed (most people don't know anything for their
own good, sadly enough)

 > Has this situation changed?
 > 1. There is a core LaTeX team slowly working towards a new release.
 >    There is a semi-active mailing list and project members do respond
 >    to email.

and slowly getting into a similar state as Leslie in the early 90th (see the
delay in this years distribution)

 > 2. The most glaring deficiencies were fixed with LaTeX2e, and a number
 >    of important packages where added to the core.  (IMHO there is
 >    still a strong need to extend the core to promote further
 >    standardization of important tools.)


 > 3. Any LaTeX installation I have seen in the last five or six years
 >    is based on teTeX (with one or two exceptions where the
 >    installation was old and so broken that the only way to fix it was
 >    a rm -rf * plus a fresh teTeX reinstall).  Most of the time, people
 >    don't even compile teTeX any more, but get the binaries from
 >    distributors like SuSe and Redhat, who have a conservative approach
 >    to patches because they know too well how easily they can end up in
 >    a maintenance nightmare.

and without LPPL you would find that publishers again promote variants of
article.cls to fit their journal house style...

 > Will a license restriction on modification without renaming make any
 > difference?
 > - As far as modifications on my private installation goes, no way.  I
 >   have done things on my computer that are deemed illegal by
 >   organizations having much deeper pockets than the LaTeX team.  In
 >   other words, I would not hesitate a second before modifying a file
 >   if I WANTED to do it.  Any such prohibition is akin to outlawing
 >   various sexual practices...

getting into deep water here...

with this confession please do never send in a bug report or ask for sexual
advice (popular see todays bug report :-)

 > - A serious fork of LaTeX is unlikely to happen as long as the package
 >   is actively and competently maintained.  In fact, one could argue
 >   that the prospect of forking will keep the LaTeX team on its toes...

it is not the fork that I'm afraid of

 > Conclusion: We are talking about a non-issue here.

perhaps, but i don't think so.

 > Suggestion (don't flame me for this, I really don't care that much):
 > Choose a license that people will recognize (such as the GPL) where it

what about this one:

% This program is copyright (C) 1982 by D. E. Knuth; all rights are reserved.
% Copying of this file is authorized only if (1) you are D. E. Knuth, or if
% (2) you make absolutely no changes to your copy. (The WEB system provides
% for alterations via an auxiliary file; the master file should stay intact.)
% See Appendix H of the WEB manual for hints on how to install this program.
% And see Appendix A of the TRIP manual for details about how to validate it.

what i want to say is, i would welcome a smaller and leaner LPPL without
changing its core goals.

anyway, can you honnestly saying you know what the perl license says (as an
example)? have you read it? does it follows from your answer (which i assume
is: sorry, thast particular one i don't know exactly) that it should be
removed and replaced by GPL?