FDL requirements for original author

David Picón Álvarez eleuteri at myrealbox.com
Thu Feb 7 11:36:05 UTC 2008

> Foremost freedom 0, freedom 1, freedom 2, and freedom 3. Then the
> copyleft.  And the clear delineation of modifications.  So I don't
> think it's fully fair to say he "does not want his work to be free."

Well, those freedoms require source. Sure, it's possible to edit PDFs, but I
think you'd agree that not at the same semantic level at which it is
possible to edit .tex source, same thing with source and binaries for
software, in principle (and in practice) binary patches are possible.

> Please keep in mind this is about text.  Contrary to a program, no
> information is "hidden" in the source.  Anyone who knows LaTeX can
> easily tell the few \section, \emph or \footnote tags -- the only
> opaque words.

Well, given that LaTeX can do a lot more than sectioning and footnotes, it's
not as clear as that, as I see it.

> Even without the mentioned tools to edit pdfs, most of the text can
> simply be copied and pasted; only with formulae problems are likely.

Problems are likely is an understatement here. Unless PDF tools have gotten
a lot more adept at capturing semantic mathematical relations than I
remember them being.

> Thus it's not so much a matter of freedom, but of convenience.

In principle, yes. In practice, freedom is about convenience, too, otherwise
no licence would require source-showing, or even go to the extent of
forbidding obfuscation (gpl3).

> It's not, also freedom 3 should be included.  I fully agree the .tex
> /should/ be published, to not complicate derivatives.  (Frankly, I'm
> not sure why showing the .tex is an issue.  I guess it's just not
> written as nicely as everything else he shows.)

Right. So we mostly agree. Personally I'd say that, unless this is very high
profile, it's not that likely that people will be fiddling around with the
sources, and if they do, they'll probably know that sources aren't
necessarily things of perfection ;-)

> The problem is that the license choice will likely apply to all works
> (other than papers to publish), potentially for several professors,
> and mostly the source /would/ be available.  That's why I hesitate to
>    Any recommendations under this circumstances?

>    Finally, when GNU PDF [1] is done, will pdf qualify as transparent?

I'm not convinced of that. LaTeX compilation loses a very significant amount
of semantic information. Even if PDF can be parsed and well understood in
its own terms, editting characters on a canvas is very different from, say,
changing \parskip

HTH,
--David.