[tex-live] InstallJammer

Damon Courtney damon at installjammer.com
Fri Apr 28 16:13:50 CEST 2006

> I'm not Reinhard, but personally, I do install binary package, but only
> when I trust the origin.

    I think this should be true of all software.  There's nothing that 
says an RPM or a .tar.gz is more inherently more safe than a binary 

> I agree that for many users it is important to have an installer with a
> nice user interface.  I don't agree that this is a reason to stay away
> from Linux - distributions with internal consitency checking and a
> canonical download URL (like Linux distros, or cygwin, fink, etc.) are
> half of the answer for the installation problems people have.  A decent
> user interface, graphically or menu-driven, is the second.
> For a TeX distribution like TeXlive, all the "are all required libraries
> installed" stuff isn't needed, so here the main point is indeed the user
> interface.  Personally, I prefer a non-graphical interface, but I guess
> we should try to offer both.  And on Windows and MacOS, one probably can
> live with only a graphical one.

    The 1.0 release has been a long time coming (more than 5 years in 
development), so I'm really focused on getting it out the door right 
now, but one of the features I plan to add in the next release is a 
console-driven installer.  In the builder, you could easily build a 
console-only installer, or you could build a regular, graphical 
installer with the user having the option to use it in console mode (or 
it automatically detecting on DISPLAY and going console).  You are 
correct that almost no one would do this on Windows and very rarely on 
OS X.  For the record, InstallJammer currently does support a silent 
install mode from the command-line.

> The concept for sure sounds nice.  But why did you choose the MPL as a
> license?  All the patent clauses in there are extremely worrisome.
> Furthermore, I don't think the TeXlive team would want to take the
> responsibility imposed by clause 3.2:

    To be quite honest, I only chose it because after doing some 
reading, I learned that it was probably the best license for a possible 
open source / commercial hybrid.  I wasn't really sure where I wanted to 
go with InstallJammer in the future, and I wanted to keep my options open.

> ,---- 3.2. Availability of Source Code.
> |      Any Modification [...] must be made available in Source Code form
> |      under the terms of this License either on the same media as an
> |      Executable version or via an accepted Electronic Distribution
> |      Mechanism [...], if made available via Electronic Distribution
> |      Mechanism, must remain available for at least twelve (12) months
> |      after the date it initially became available, or at least six (6)
> |      months after a subsequent version of that particular Modification
> |      has been made available to such recipients. You are responsible
> |      for ensuring that the Source Code version remains available even
> |      if the Electronic Distribution Mechanism is maintained by a third
> |      party.
> `----
> This seems to imply that, if we make changes to the source and use the
> result as an installer for TeXlive, we must restrict TeXlive's
> distribution: We couldn't allow others to offer disk images on their
> servers unless they guarantee us that they will keep those images for at
> least 12 months.  This sounds inacceptable to me.
> Frankly, I don't see why one would want to use this license unless 
> - software patents are in fact involved, and
> - the original author holds such patents and wants to make money with
>   them, or at least keep that possibility.
> Unless this isn't true for you, I'd recommend to use an accepted
> license, if you want copyleft, the GPL (either "version 2", or "version
> 2 or later").

    I don't know that I would ever go GPL.  I, personally, don't agree 
with a lot of the GPL.  My license of choice has always been BSD because 
I truly believe in being able to do anything you want with the 
software.  I've written a lot of open source code, and I've released a 
lot of software, but InstallJammer was the first thing I ever spent 
years on and really poured my heart into.  I didn't want to see it 
stolen out from under me, but I also really don't care for the GPL.  It 
leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

    Obviously the BSD License would provide no restrictions whatsoever, 
so how do you guys feel about it?  I've never really had a licensing 
discussion with anyone, so I'm very open to hearing opinions on the 
matter. :)

Thanks for the reply,


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