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Re: [gNewSense-users] unclear licence of AMSLatex (fwd)

From: Karl Goetz
Subject: Re: [gNewSense-users] unclear licence of AMSLatex (fwd)
Date: Fri, 18 Sep 2009 19:18:17 +0930
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On Fri, September 18, 2009 17:29, Benedikt Ahrens wrote:
> Hello,

Hi mate,

> this is an update concerning the amslatex bug [1].
> At the bottom you'll find the email the AMSTech team sent me [2]. It
> contains a proposal for a new license covering (all/most?)(*) of the files
> distributed in the amslatex package.

Thanks for continuing to follow this up for us.

> David from the AMSTech team also asks about the status of files that do
> not contain any license information. Are these covered by the license of
> an "associated" file. I think not (would be unclear to me what an
> "associated file" is), but please correct me if I'm wrong.

For clarity it would be nice if each file could contain a simple (1 or 2
line) header stating the licence, or 'see licence at $PATH/to/LICENCE'.

> He suggests putting a LICENSE file in the root of the package, covering
> recursively all the files in the directory and subdirectories. This should
> be the right way to do it, I suppose.
> I'll collect all the comments and transmit them to David.


> The (*) is there because I believe that the AMS was not able to contact
> all the copyright owners that contributed to amslatex. But I couldn't find
> the statement confirming this right now, so perhaps I just imagine things.
> Greetings
> ben
> [1]

I think its worth a meation of the Debian bug too, incase there is
interesting comments there: Bug 477060

> [2]
> Dear Benedikt,
> Here's a copy of the draft license that I propose to append to the
> current AMS-LaTeX distributions.  Do you have any questions or
> comments before I release it?
>     The AMS is in the process of restating and updating the license on all
>     of its distributed files in order to bring the license into line with
>     current standards of "free" software licenses.  Since it will take
>     some time to update all individual files, we're distributing this file
>     now to clarify the license on currently-distributed files.

Thanks very much, its great that you are willing to take these steps to
help out.

>         Unlimited copying and redistribution of this file are permitted as
>         long as this file is not modified.  Modifications, and
>         distribution of modified versions, are permitted, but only if the
>         resulting file is renamed.

For the moment, I have two questions/comments:
- How does this licence apply to downstreams (eg, the 2nd level of
distribution from AMS). Do they need to create a new file name (thereby
having 3 file names for code thats potentially 95% the same)
- As a result of the file renaming, anything which wants to source the new
version will need to be updated to source the new file name.

>     This includes -- but is not necessarily limited to -- the
>     following files:

(trim file list)

>     Please address any questions to
>         American Mathematical Society

(trim addr)

> Incidentally, a number of the associated files (especially various
> documentation files and release notes) do not have any included
> license statement.  Is that something that we need to address or is it
> understood that they are are covered by the same license in associated
> files?  I suspect that the safest thing for us to do in the future is
> include a 00LICENSE.txt file with wording similar to the above in all
> of our distributions.

As I stated above, a simple licence declaration would be nice to remove
any confusion (Think the simple version of the GPL2 used for file


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