[tex-live] Contact to Donald Arseneau

Frank Küster frank at kuesterei.ch
Thu Sep 7 09:22:44 CEST 2006

karl at freefriends.org (Karl Berry) wrote:

> Hi Robin,
>     shall i try asking?  
> That would be great.
>     if so, what exactly should i say?  
> I think you should request that he use Frank's sentence 
>   You may use, modify and/or distribute this file without restriction.
> in preference to his various other versions at saying the same thing,
> including the "public domain" statements, and inserting it into the
> files where there is no statement.  Frank's original msg has the
> specific file lists:
> http://tug.org/pipermail/tex-live/attachments/20060904/208886ad/attachment.mht
> Also, it would be very desirable to fix the license on shapepar.sty and
> varwidth.sty (assuming he wishes to do so).
> However, it would probably be good to wait to ask him anything until
> Frank confirms the above.

There's one mistake in the mail in that attachment:  shapepar.sty does
*not* have a non-commercial license.  Instead, it has a "public domain
but identify changes":

% Copyright (c) 1993,2002    Donald Arseneau
% These definitions may be freely transmitted, reproduced, or modified
% provided that any modifications are clearly identified and this notice
% is left intact.

I think this is okay.

>     there has been at least one attempt to explain the issue to knuth.  
> Interesting.  But there are more important (IMHO) legal issues to ask
> Knuth, like the strange license statement in tex.web vs. his statements
> about TeX's legal status, etc.  Barbara has said that she has put this
> on the list of things to bring up to him the next time he reviews TeX
> "bugs".

To me it seems not so problematic: According to
http://www.tug.org/TUGboat/Articles/tb11-4/tb30knut.pdf and the
Copyright notices of Volume B of C&T, tex.web is in the public domain,
but the name (of the file and of TeX) has a trademark-like protection.
The only problem is that newer versions of tex.web still have the
restrictive clause that we all know they have; but I would regard the
written text to be more important - after all the differences are only
patches which often are not only copyright by DEK.

Of course it would be desirable to replace the README by a reference to
C&T or the TUGboat article.

Regards, Frank
Frank Küster
Single Molecule Spectroscopy, Protein Folding @ Inst. f. Biochemie, Univ. Zürich
Debian Developer (teTeX/TeXLive)

More information about the tex-live mailing list