[tex-live] Political showstopper

Karl Berry karl at freefriends.org
Sat Sep 13 13:53:00 CEST 2003

    So what? Lots of software available for free have a different license
    scheme (Aladdin, Apache, whatever). I don't think it penalizes anybody.

Sure, of course there are many free software licenses, most of which are
represented on TL :).  However, the implications for each license have
to be taken individually.

The kind of license you proposed, not allowing certain entities (such as
for-profit companies) to redistribute, is not compatible with the GPL or
the LPPL (or any other Debian-compatible license).  So I don't see how
we could possibly use it.

The "Aladdin Free Public License" is not a free software license,
because it prohibits charging for distribution, among other issues.
So I hope we are using GNU Ghostscript (last release 7.07), not Aladdin
Ghostscript (8.11) on TL!

Apache is a free software license but incompatible with the GPL.  So I
hope that, for example, none of the Web2c binaries are linked with any
Apache-covered code, because that would not be legal.  (As far as I
know, there is no Apache-covered code in TeX Live.)

One good source for license compatibility information is

    I'm not the one who suggested stopping working on TeXLive.

I'm glad to hear that!

    at least without a decent acknowledgement of what is involved, and
    an advertisement that this is a _free_ product.

According to the general principles of the free software licenses, no
one may put their own proprietary copyright on the whole of TL.  That is
illegal.  So any publisher who has done that needs to be contacted and
some sort of settlement worked out.

However, the other things you've mentioned, such as donating to the user
groups, or even simply acknowledging the user groups, are not legal
requirements.  They would certainly be desirable and courteous actions,
but they cannot be made requirements of free software.

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