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

gnwiii at gmail.com gnwiii at gmail.com
Sun May 28 20:42:30 CEST 2006

On 5/27/06, Karl Berry <karl at freefriends.org> wrote:
>     perhaps csplain should just be dropped from texlive ...
> At present, I see no overriding reason why cstex can't be included in
> tl.  Fundamentally, I don't think Petr's name restriction makes cstex
> nonfree any more than Knuth's name restriction makes hyphen.tex nonfree.

The current license is inconsistent, so "nonfree" in the sense that it
is not unambiguously free.

> Petr, I do think it would be good for you to clarify the intended
> status/license of derived versions, since of course that is a
> fundamental point of free software.

It may be better to use an existing license with a track record while
also clearly stating an intention to actively maintain cstex and
asking as a matter of courtesy, rather than a license condition, that
significant changes to your files not be widely distributed without
consultation The problem with such a clause is that people will differ
of what constitutes a significant change.  Changes to storage forms
(line terminators or other text format) by some installer may not be
considered a change at all by a packager.   Actively maintaining a
package means monitoring the distribution chain to ensure that the
package works as intended for end users and is correctly described and
categorized in the distribution system.

> (I wish neither name restriction existed; I don't think they fulfill the
> intended purpose.  But that's just me.)

We can't be sure of the intended purpose until the author tells us.

> I will try to work with Petr and crew to make sure that TL includes a
> cstex that is (a) compliant and (b) usable.  I feel sure that (a) and
> (b) can be satisfied simultaneously, if we remain of stout heart and
> good cheer :).

A little good will on both sides should accomplish not only (a) and
(b), but (c)larity in the license, and (d)iminished chances for
problems with other packages where authors may be considering ad-hoc

TeTeX has (probably too) many opportunities to give users different
runtime versions of files from a "reference" archive (load
configuration files or patches at runtime, patch at install time, put
the updated version in a directory that occurs earlier in the search
path, aliases arranged so "new-file.tex" is used when the user
requests "file.tex").   This gives an intermediate ground between the
desire of authors that all users of <package> get the same files and
the desire of packagers to for flexibility while making it easier for
all concerned to see exactly which changes have been make by the

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

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