[tex-live] Strange license of ukhyphen

Norbert Preining preining at logic.at
Thu May 25 23:57:08 CEST 2006

Hi Karl! Hi all!

On Don, 25 Mai 2006, Karl Berry wrote:
> I spent a long time writing Phil Taylor, Dominik W., and Graham Toal
> about this, and the current license is the result.  The previous license
> forbade modifications at all, as I recall.  Phil will definitely not
> accept any proposal to use a standard license, so writing him about that
> would be a waste of time.


>     This is definitely not DFSG free, and also not FSF free, so normally I
>     would expect that we cannot include it in TeX live.
> I'm not sure why you conclude it is not FSF free.  I think it is FSF
> free (rms reluctantly accepted original latex with the "must rename"

I am not FSF, but I guess that the restrictions on renaming together
with an arbitrary list will not be considered free (see below).

> clause).  I don't plan to remove it from TL.


> I fail to see any significant difference between saying "you can't
> redistribute a modified version under the name hyphen.tex", and "you
> can't redistribute a modified version under the names hyphen.tex,
> hyphenfoo.tex, and hyphenbar.tex".  Which would be analogous to what's

This is a good question. Frank, did you bring this to debian-legal when
you removed ukhyphen from tetex? 

But Karl to be honest, this is the only file I have seen that has this
special renaming clause, ie specifying that renaming it differently is
not enough, several names are forbidden, too.

Let's put it to extremes: What if an author creates a file and lists in
the beginning all combinations of [a-z,0-9,....] (ok, they are a lot).
So this would effectively forbid the redistribution (let's say on msdos
systems with 8.3 filenames). 

To continue the above: How would the FSF describe what is considered
free in this case: 
"renaming is necessary" 			ok
"renaming plus a list of 10 other names"	maybe ok
"renaming plus a list of very similar names"	what is "very similar"
"renaming plus an arbitrary list of names"	hmm, I believe no

I agree that the obligation to rename is ok, but IMHO the additional
clause is strange.

> If Phil was trying to lay claim to generic filenames, I would see that
> as a serious problem, but he's not.

True, but the FSF and Debian have a similar problem: They have to define
what is "free" for them (although they do not agree completely). I am
not debian-legal, and I don't know what would be the answer, but as a
list of similar names cannot be defined, I assume *any* list of
additional names would be rejected, not only by debian-legal, but also
by the FSF.

For TeX live this is different. It could say we choose DFSG-free, or
FSF-free, or we create our TeX live-free. Everything is ok, but then the
LICENSE.TL text should be changed, where it states that TeX live
contains stuff that is DFSG and FSF free (plus the addition for FDL, but
lets forget this for now).

Best wishes


Dr. Norbert Preining <preining AT logic DOT at>             Università di Siena
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