I just want to thank Dominik Wujastyk and Graham Toal for giving us
the permission to use the MIT licence for the British patterns.
We will take care of the required modifications, release a new version
of hyph-utf8 and also ask for update in ConTeXt which triggered the
initial bug report.
To try to answer the concerns regarding the stability of old documents
... I believe that what we need in TeX distributions is something
different from "please rename the file if you make any changes". (I
don't know what this could or should be, but I'm open to suggestions.)
While the "TeX licence" made a lot of sense at the time when it was
written by D.E. Knuth, the "please rename" clause on its own provides
absolutely no guarantee that hyphenation of the English documents
won't ever change. Yes, the "TeX licence" is still sending a very
strong message to developers that Knuth wants others to rename their
new engines based on TeX to avoid confusion, but it doesn't legally
prevent anyone from using the same name for completely unrelated
software, or perhaps from creating a symlink like tex -> luatex in
some distribution. What keeps people back from doing that is more of a
"social contract" than the actual licence itself.
As a case in point: anyone could have easily REMOVED the British
patterns from the distribution without violating the existing licence
in any way, yet the documents would change – despite the licence's
best efforts to prevent such changes. Or somebody could create some
nonsense patterns under any given filename, and only modify the
language.dat to load those nonsense patterns *instead of* the existing
British English ones, and again we would get rubbish output without
violating the old licence in any way.
So: thanks again for the permission. And if needed, let's come up with
a better idea about how to keep stability and quality of old documents
within the TeX community.
Thank you very much to everyone involved,