Comprehensive TeX Archive Network

The Cat­a­logue Li­cense Def­i­ni­tions

Nearly any soft­ware is dis­tributed un­der some kind of li­cense. The CTAN Team tries it's best to list the pack­age un­der the cor­rect li­cense. Nev­er­the­less you should con­sult the pack­age doc­u­men­ta­tion for the pre­cise for­mu­la­tions.


Here we list the li­censes used by -re­lated soft­ware as recorded in The Cat­a­logue (cre­ated by Gra­ham Wil­liams and main­tained by the CTAN team). Gen­eral in­for­ma­tion about cat­e­gories of li­censes is avail­able from the GNU project.

The li­cense con­di­tions are not de­signed to re­strict what may be sub­mit­ted to CTAN. Rather, the li­cense in­for­ma­tion should make life eas­ier for re­dis­trib­u­tors of and re­lated soft­ware: in gen­eral, soft­ware un­der one of the non-free li­cense terms listed be­low should not be in­cluded in a dis­tri­bu­tion. Most ma­te­rial on the archive may be used with­out fur­ther ado; the only ex­cep­tions are no­com­mer­cial soft­ware, (whose use in a com­mer­cial en­vi­ron­ment is for­bid­den), and some (but not all) share­ware.

The CTAN team tries to en­sure that the li­cense in­for­ma­tion in the Cat­a­logue is ac­cu­rate, and main­tains it with in­put from au­thors and oth­ers, but the sheer size of the Cat­a­logue makes it dif­fi­cult to main­tain a watch­ing brief on all li­censes. Thus, while the team be­lieves that the data pre­sented are mostly cor­rect, we ad­vise care­ful check­ing if li­cense in­for­ma­tion is to be used in “legally del­i­cate” sit­u­a­tions.

The Li­censes

Free soft­ware sat­is­fies the cri­te­ria con­tained in the De­bian Free Soft­ware Guide­lines which pro­vides the ba­sis of the Open Source Free Soft­ware Guide­lines. This soft­ware may be freely used, mod­i­fied (hence source must be avail­able), and dis­tributed (e.g. on dis­tri­bu­tions like  Live and MiK). It is gen­er­ally copy­righted to legally pro­tect it. Users are usu­ally given an ex­plicit li­cense to copy, dis­tribute, and/or mod­ify the soft­ware. Authors of free soft­ware may in­vite users to make mon­e­tary do­na­tions if they wish, but can not oblige them to do so, or else the soft­ware be­comes non­free. Free soft­ware may rely on non­free soft­ware for ex­tra func­tion­al­ity, but pro­vides use­ful func­tion­al­ity with­out that non­free soft­ware. Fur­ther in­for­ma­tion on free soft­ware is avail­able from GNU.

While one cat­e­gory would be suf­fi­cient (just “free”) we iden­tify li­censes, im­por­tant for users, that sat­isfy com­mon no­tions of free soft­ware:

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