[tex-live] Strange license of ukhyphen

Norbert Preining preining at logic.at
Fri May 26 00:41:09 CEST 2006

Hi Jonathan!

On Don, 25 Mai 2006, Jonathan Kew wrote:
> > But the list of similar file names looks a bit silly for me.
> Yes, I'd agree with this statement.
> On the other hand, it also looks a bit silly (to me) when  
> distributions refuse to include the file because of this list, even  
> though the peculiar license doesn't really interfere with using it in  
> any reasonable way. I don't see that this benefits anyone.

The freedoms as defined by FSF are not only the freedom of usage, but
also the freedom of modification and redistribution.

I agree that we are here in a very very very gray (or grey, what the
hack) borderline area. The renaming clause is generally accepted, but
the renaming clause with list of additional names I haven't seen to be
discussed before.

> When "free software guidelines" get in the way of sharing useful  
> software, I wonder if "freedom" is being defined and interpreted too  
> legalistically for our own good.

Easy to say for one single file, but if you want to manage and big
distribution, let it be TeX live or Debian or whatever, than it comes to
a bit more difficult situation. One would like to have the possibility
to say "take this distribution and do whatever you want, everything
therein is free, not only for your consumption, but also for your

I don't know how we will continue. TeX live will for sure keep it, and
this is ok with me. But I have to oblige to the Debian rules if I want
to put packages into Debian. And then it depends on ftp-masters whether
packages pass.

But generally in the TeX world we have a bit of a problem, and we just
opened this "Pandora's box" as the pressure from the Debian side was
increasing on the teTeX maintainers. TeX (as a whole) is full of files
which are 10 years old, from a time when nobody cared for license
statements, full with PD licenses which isn't necessarily legally valid,
full of exotic instances (ukhyphen not being the only instance), ...

I hope that this box will not kill the efforts we are doing for Debian!

Best wishes


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