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Robin Fairbairns <[log in to unmask]>
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Mailing list for the LaTeX3 project <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 11 Jul 2002 11:55:23 +0100
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timothy murphy wrote:

> On Wed, Jul 10, 2002 at 10:14:30PM +0200, Frank Mittelbach wrote:
> > approach as an option (i.e. to put LaTeX under GPL) that we came to the
> > conclusion that it is not the right approach for software of a type like
> > LaTeX.
> The GPL/LaTeX issue was evidently settled long ago,
> and I wouldn't like to re-open an old hornet's nest,
> but I've seen you refer several times to the difference in kind or type
> between LaTeX and GPL-ed programs.
> I don't really see this difference.
> If someone put out a new version of stdio.h ,
> it seems to me it would cause exactly the same kind of chaos
> as if they put out a new version of article.cls .

except that people typically don't, much.  i've certainly observed the
effects of a broken stdio.h, but it didn't last long.

> I've never come across rival versions of, say, Linux kernel files --
> except in different versions of the kernel.
> Does this danger actually arise in practice?

not now.  the purpose of latex2e was to wrap up the multiple
incompatible versions of latex that existed by 1994, and to make a
maintainable whole.

it really was the case, back then, that a document for "my" latex
might very well not work with "your" latex, and the problem could not
be solved by mere addition of .sty files.

the licence expresses the project's intention that latex should not
slip into such a messy state again.

as i've said before, if latex can't be used between collaborating
people (notably between author an publisher), it's nothing.  there are
plenty of competing formats for such interchange.