[tex-live] movie15 and media9

Karl Berry karl at freefriends.org
Sun Mar 18 23:01:24 CET 2012

Many people are jumping to hasty and erroneous conclusions about my
removal of movie15.  Please stop.  Heiko's latest messages correctly
state the situation, but I will restate for the sake of providing an
"official" response, since I was the one who did it:

TL's policy is and always has been to omit software which can *only*
be used with nonfree software.  For example, metric files for a
proprietary font.  We had that discussion some time ago.

I learned recently that the PDF features used by movie15 (and media9)
are supported *only* by Acrobat, which is nonfree software, and that the
resulting PDFs with these packages were not usable at all with any free
software PDF reader.  (To emphasize: here "free" is about source code
and licensing, not price.  The fact that you can get some versions of
some Adobe software for no money is irrelevant to the questions at hand.
Some people were still conflating these issues.  Please don't.)

Therefore, I recently removed movie15 and declined to include media9.  I
hope everyone can follow that logic, *given that policy*.  (See also my
last paragraph below.)

If some free software reader implements support for animations and
<whatever else>, then we can legitimately include such packages in TL,
and I would welcome being able to do so.

I don't remove packages just because there is *some* functionality which
requires nonfree software.  The standard is whether the package has some
reasonable usefulness on a 100% free software system, not whether every
single feature works.  For example, just because the FAQ contains PDF
popups does not mean, by our policy, that we would have to remove the
FAQ.  (Thanks goodness!)  The vast majority of the FAQ is material which
is accessible to free software readers, therefore it can stay.

The short-term answer, as pointed out by several people (thank you), is
that these packages and any others can be put into tlcontrib.  That's
one of the reasons tlcontrib was created.  (That is, I don't speak for
tlcontrib, but that's my understanding from Taco's article that I
edited. :) (By the way, in the TL'12 release it will be easier to use
multiple repositories.)

The longer-term answer is for free software PDF readers to implement
these features.  I urge capable programmers to get involved with poppler
(or something) to help.

I am well aware that many people strongly disagree with our basic policy
as above.  All I can say is, you are welcome to fork TL, or start your
own TeX distribution, and implement any policy you like.  Or if there is
general support for staging a coup and taking over TL itself with a
different policy, I can go do something else.


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