[tex-live] verbatimcopy package missing

George N. White III gnwiii at gmail.com
Fri Sep 19 13:35:10 CEST 2008

On Thu, Sep 18, 2008 at 3:44 AM, Rolf Niepraschk <Rolf.Niepraschk at ptb.de> wrote:
> Norbert Preining schrieb:
> ...
>> Still, there is CTAN, people can get whatever they miss from there.
> Will be exist non-free TeXLive packages for download from CTAN in the
> future (similar to "getnonfreefonts")?

Now that there is a package manager, it becomes possible to consider
adding support for multiple repositories, so you could have test packages,
nonfree packages, or even local (site-specific, for things like a thesis format
and letterhead).

The question of what is "free" gets complicated.  The variety of
restrictions is
unbounded, and it takes a lot of work to ensure that stuff is a) properly
classified, and b) that users understand what they can and can't do.

Organizations that rely on TeX often have macros that aren't appropriate for
CTAN, e.g., LaTeX classes specific to a report series that contain logos, fonts,
and design elements ("look and feel") that should not used externally -- I could
give you the macros, but then I'd have to kill you -- to guard against someone
creating bogus "official looking" government reports giving the inventory of
nuclear weapons in Switzerland and Belize.   Having such material in a local
site package repository has advantages 1) it is easier to manage installations,
and 2) potentially making it easier for users to tell what is free and
what is not.

While it seems simple to just set a policy for what should be in TeX
Live, no one
policy will make more than a few people completely happy.  It helps a
lot to have
a limited set of licenses (GPL, LPPL, etc), but authors need to
realize 1) even if they
aren't completely happy with a particular license, it is a kindness to packagers
and users if they adopt a standard license despite those reservations, and 2)
the world is stuck with the choices they make long after they are gone.

Item 1) above can be restated: If you don't make things easy for people
organizing distributions, your package risks languishing near the bottom of
the pile of things to do sometime in the future.   Adding support for
more license
categories just means that more things get packaged so end up on users' lists
of things to do later.

George N. White III <aa056 at chebucto.ns.ca>
Head of St. Margarets Bay, Nova Scotia

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