[tex-live] Re: ConTeXt documentation in "commercial" products

Frank Küster frank at kuesterei.ch
Tue Jan 24 17:31:11 CET 2006

Hans Hagen <pragma at wxs.nl> wrote:

> we'll see what happens in te long run, for the moment i like the  cc
> licence  because i can understand it; 

You are aware that the Creative Commons Deed is just a wrapper around
the "real" GPL?  You didn't include it in mreadme.pdf, but on the
website (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/GPL/2.0/) it says:

| This is a human-readable summary of the Legal Code (the full <a
| href="http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/gpl.html">GNU Gener al Public
| License). 

If you click on "Disclaimer", you get 

| The Commons Deed is not a license. It is simply a handy reference for
| understanding the Legal Code (the full license) — it is a
| human-readable expression of some of its key terms. Think of it as the
| user-friendly interface to the Legal Code beneath. This Deed itself
| has no legal value, and its contents do not appear in the actual
| license.

"This Deed itself has no legal value".  So it seems in your
(understandable) desire to make things understandable for mere mortals,
you went one step too far.

> actually, when someone told me
> that the gpl licence gets renewed and that one should really have a
> close look, i already got the uncomfortable feeling that i'd to look
> into the matter again since the context source code comes with a
> cc-wrapped gpl licence

If you look at the GPL text, it instructs you how to indicate that a
work is licensed under it, and this includes saying either "GPL, version
2.0" or "GPL, version 2.0 or later".  You have the choice (and of course
as the copyright holder, you can always change the version number or add
the "or later" if you later want to).

> [actually, for emotional reasons i'd rather not that users use the
> same covers since i consider them part of the context look and feel;
> for the same reasons i stimulate users to make their own styles just
> in order not to get this 'documents that scream tex/context'; too many
> coding samples make users lazy; also, to bring manual source code in
> such a state that users can learn something from it (which is my
> objective), take quite some effort and 'clean source code' is one of
> my conditions for making them available]

That's perfectly acceptable, it's just not how I (and Debian, and
texlive) define Free Documentation for Free Software.  But you are not
in bad company, RMS himself thinks that Documentation does not need the
same freedoms as software.

> i dunno; it's not a very strict restriction (i could havetaken a more
> strict one)
> anyhow, the restrictions in the licence only concerns making money out
> of printed manuals (if someone delivers a copy for printing cost
> that's ok); if someone wants to write books using examples in the
> source code of the manuals, fine; fyi: i have no plans to make any
> money from the manuals or documentation myself either: (1) i'm no
> brilliant writer, (2) it does not pay off, (3) i prefer putting stuff
> on the web for free, (4)  lack of time anyway, (5) that way i can make
> them the way i want]

I understand; but the text of the license, even if it's not your
intention, forbids inclusion of the manuals, original or modified, on a
CD that is sold in a shop, which is commercial even if that particular
CD might cost only the production price.

Regards, Frank
Frank Küster
Single Molecule Spectroscopy, Protein Folding @ Inst. f. Biochemie, Univ. Zürich
Debian Developer (teTeX)

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