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

Robin Fairbairns Robin.Fairbairns at cl.cam.ac.uk
Sun May 28 23:00:09 CEST 2006

> On the other hand, if somebody remove csplain but does not remove
> plain.tex then I'll ask: why? Where is difference between plain.tex
> and csplain license?

the difference is that csplain's licence is written in a deliberately
obfuscating way: it says it's "gpl" (a licence whose specification
says that it may not be used amended) "with annex" (i.e., an amendment
to gpl).

this is such an outrageous thing to do that it's caught out two
experienced texies (thomas esser and me).  both of us erroneously
thought it was saying gpl.

the general advice is, if the licence is unclear or invalid, the
package should be regarded as nonfree.  i have changed the catalogue
entries for csplain, and for cstex (which contains csplain) to say
"licence=other" -- i.e., there's a licence statement, but it's not
classifiable.  under normal rules, such a package should be regarded
as nonfree.

you compare plain.tex's licence with your own.  plain.tex has a
straightforward licence, which says you may not edit it unless you
change its name.

now, csplain's licence says it's one thing and then says it's another.
you want people to obey your licence, but you choose not to obey the
conditions of use of the gpl: imo, that makes your licence unclear,
even if it's not invalid.  hence my remark.

if you think csplain's licence is the same as plain's, why not say
just that?  if you think it's something else, why not take a look at
the other "regular" licences that people know about.  for example,
there's the lppl -- far more complicated than knuth's, but with the
same general intent, except that when the author ceases to work on it,
there is provision for authorising an alternative maintainer.

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