[tex-live] Unclear License of AMSLaTeX

Karl Berry karl at freefriends.org
Fri Apr 28 20:00:39 CEST 2006

    - the current LPPL allows to change the internal identification as an
       alternative to renaming the file, and

Indeed, this is the main difference between the "Knuth" license and the
current LPPL, as I know you know.

    - it does not permit to distribute changed versions, even when renamed,

Well, once you have a changed version, further copying of that unchanged
version could perhaps be construed as permitted under clause (1).

    - this text doesn't even allow to copy amsclass.dtx to amsclass.dtx.bak

Hmm.  Perhaps the name change could be interpreted as part of "if you do
make changes", ie, one possible change is changing the name.  Imagine
cp amsclass.dtx{,.bak}, changing one byte, then reverting the one byte ...

I am straining to find a way to interpret the clauses non-literally
because I agree with you that the wording here is not ideal.  However,
amslatex is not the only issue.  plain.tex and other basic TeX system
files written by DEK (and others) are under a similar license.
Furthermore, tex.web and mf.web are under an even more "restrictive"

I do not believe it is in the overall public interest to ask DEK to
spend one second contemplating these things instead of working on the
Art of Computer Programming.  I am also virtually certain (barbara might
chime in) that it would be a waste of time, as he has made his wishes
clear many, many times and would not be inclined to change anything.
The fact that a literal interpretation of his "license" texts is not
perfectly congruent with his wishes is an unfortunate fact of life.

Needless to say, TeX Live is not ever going to consider TeX as
"nonfree" :).


More information about the tex-live mailing list