Document formats (was: To the keepers of the holy grail of Open Source)

Rick Moen rick at
Tue Jan 23 19:41:59 UTC 2001

begin Ben Tilly quotation:


> OK, so it is not open source.  And before anyone points me at standard
> GPLed packages for TeX, allow me to point out that Knuth's software is
> under a license that does not permit modifications.  IANAL, but AFAICS
> if you incorporate work which you are not allowed to modify into GPLed
> software, then you have no right to permit modifications as required
> by section 2 of the GPL, and under section 7 you are then not allowed
> to distribute the GPLed work as a whole.

LaTex is "based on" Knuth's work in the sense that it implements the TeX
design, but my understanding is that it is not a derivative work in a
copyright sense, but rather was written separately by Leslie Lamport,
and is now maintained by the LaTeX3 Project

I could be mistaken, but am basing my comments on a quick search
of the online FAQs and other documentation.  (I haven't examined the 
copyright notices on LaTeX's source packages.)

Cheers,                                      "Reality is not optional."
Rick Moen                                             -- Thomas Sowell
rick at

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