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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 09:28:05 +0200
text/plain (66 lines)
Simon Law writes:
 >      TeX is not being distributed by Debian.  teTeX, a distribution

please, who is throwing red herrings here?

from your web pages:

 Basic teTeX library files

 teTeX (version 1.0) is a TeX distribution for UNIX compatible systems.

 Together with tetex-bin you have a minimal installation With tetex-extra and
 tetex-nonfree you have a complete installation

i haven't checked the file list as it contained 80 pages nor have i downloaed
the package but I bet you anything that this distribution contains

 - a TeX binary
 - a plain.tex file
 - the Computer Modern fonts (ftm's and all)

all of them are under the license of Don Knuth and you are not allowed to
change any file of them without renaming it. For the TeX binary this license
refers to the identifaction the program gives at start which is probably
something like

  This is TeX, Version 3.14159 (Web2C

in your tetex version (try it)

but as for the other component mentioned above it refers to the file names.

In other words the tetex distribution as produced by Thomas Esser is a set of
work by him (and others) distributed under GPL (i think) plus a set of other
software it relies on (and distributed as part of the tetex tar ball) which is
distributed under different licenses.

it is however not the case that tetex is the debian variant of TeX which is a
free implementation in contrast to the official TeX

 > that includes a TeX-like component is.  Thankfully, the TeX license is
 > simple, and easily understood, unlike the LPPL-1.3 draft.  I would
 > recommend reading it yourself, Branden, just so that you don't get
 > thrown red herrings.

so in other words, if you don't want such things within the debian "free" tree
then you either have to take the above part out of tetex --- reducing it to a
bunch of shell scripts that call on a program that no longer is distributed.

following from that, texinfo etc become mere shells as well as they again rely
on the above set of files no longer distributed. for that reason it doesn't
mattter that the additional layer of software provided by texinfo is GPL or

by the same token it doesn't matter at all what license is used for LaTeX
(kernel or auxiliaries) the moment you cripple tetex as indicated as there
would be nothing left to use LaTeX with

so in summary, although we started out on a discussion of LPPL (which i would
like to continue at some point with Jeff and Branden) i think the *spokesmen*
of debian should please present us with their verdict on what they want to do
with the basis of all this.