[tex-live] acrotex files

Manuel Pégourié-Gonnard mpg at elzevir.fr
Sat Oct 3 23:42:50 CEST 2009

Hi Philip,

Philip TAYLOR a écrit :
> Karl Berry wrote:
>> The philosophical reason is that (as I understand it) they are only
>> useful with Acrobat, which is nonfree.
> In the words of Mr McEnroe, "you cannot be serious".
I think Karl was serious, and as a matter of fact, I seriously agree with him.

As a general rule, everything in Tl only depend on things that are also included
in TL, so that they are immediately usable without adding anything external. In
certain cases, it would not be reasonnable to insist on everything being
self-contained: for example, on every platform but windows, we rely on Perl, GS,
etc, without including them, but we can see it as an exception to the
self-contained principle, motivated by pragmatic reasons.

Now, you may ask why we don't make an exception for acrotex. Well, if we made
exceptions all the time, the general rule wouldn't be a rule, would it? Here,
there is no strong pragmatic reason to break the rule as there is for GS or Perl.

Moreover, I think that, as free software developers, it is perfectly legitimate
for us to choose to give the priority to free software and things relying only
on free software (and the opposite choice may be legitimate too, depending on
the circumstances).

So, I can understand you may disagree with our policy, but I hope I convinced
you that we are actually serious about it. By the way, we apply it consistently,
also excluding support files for non-free fonts, etc.

> The Windows binaries of TeX Live are useful only
> with Windows, which is also non-free : are you
> planning to expunge them from TeX Live as well ?
Other binaries also depend on an external (I mean, not included in TL) operating
system. So they also break the "no external dependencies" rule, but I take it
you'll agree that we must distribute them.

Anyway, the debate about free software on non-free platforms is not new, and is
completely different from the original question.


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