[tex-live] license violation in tetex-texmf-3.0 fixed

gnwiii at gmail.com gnwiii at gmail.com
Sat May 27 13:52:45 CEST 2006

On 5/27/06, Ralf Stubner <ralf.stubner at web.de> wrote:
> Frank Küster <frank at kuesterei.ch> writes:
> > It also has more disadvantages.  Thinking it over, I can't figure out
> > under which license I may and/or must distribute a derivative work which
> > I created and renamed.  If csplain were under GPL, it's clear:  It must
> > be GPL.  But it isn't under the GPL, and the license it is under doesn't
> > state clearly which license derivatives are supposed to use.

An author can put any nonsense they want into a license -- it is up to
the "users" to decide whether they can live with the license.  In
practice, most will rely on compilations (teTeX, TeX Live, linux
distros) to make such decisions.  At the risk of repeating myself,
there is a duty on the part of packagers and testers to check for
license problems before making a "release".  It is unfortunate that
license issues take time away from more productive pursuits.

> > I obviously can't use the same license text (because "same name
> > 'csplain'" would be self-contradictory).  Am I obligded to replace
> > 'csplain" by my new name?  Or am I allowed to drop it?
> As David pointed out, you are not allowed by GPL to add any further
> restrictions. It is definitly unclear what license one has (and is
> allowed to) use for a derived work. I think this problem is also at the
> heart of RMS's comment on debian-legal where Thomas asked about this
> license. It is ok for a free software license to carry a renaming
> clause. But you cannot do this by adding restrictions on top of GPL. IMO
> this makes csplain etc non-free.

More like "non-sense", and in fact more in the category of inviting
misinterpretation by
referring to GPL which, as you note, forbids additional restrictions.

I assume the intent of restricting the use of certain names is
intended to reduce "forking", which does make life harder for package
maintainers who get bug reports against 3rd party "enhancements".  A
rule that said "no program of macro  can be invoked under the name
'epsf' or 'ps2pdf'." so we would have 'dvips-epsf.tex' and
'dvipsone-epsf.tex', 'gs-ps2pdf'[.bat], 'WinEDT-ps2pdf'[.bat] etc.
would significantly reduce the traffic in c.t.tex and c.t.pdf.  In
practice, licenses are very blunt tools and just as likely to injure
the tool's user as to perform the task at hand.

George N. White III <aa056 at chebucto.ns.ca>
Head of St. Margarets Bay, Nova Scotia

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