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Fonts packages maintenance team (second) proposal

(this mail is BCC'ed to many font packages maintainers, please respect
the Reply-To field)

After the initial proposal which I submitted a few days ago
(http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel/2006/02/msg00694.html), a small
thread occurred on debian-devel which raised a few topics from my
initial mail.

This mail tries to summarize them and then make a new proposal,
rewritten in an attempt to take all advices in consideration.

1) a few font maintainers mentioned that TTF fonts packaging is pretty
   easy and low-resourse demanding activity. So, the need for team
   maintenance is judged pretty low for these packages.
2) not only considering TTF fonts but all other font formats, especially
   Postscript fonts could be good
3) a quite widely shared feeling is that sharing experiences might be
4) involving the TeX Strike Force (at least keeping them posted) is wished

Here is how I think we can take this into consideration:

1) the proposal will make it clear that joining the team is a
   volunteer action. No active or passive enforcement of team
   maintenance but rather common experience sharing. The team would
   have a repository but only for maintainers volunteering to move
   their work there.

2) the team opens itself ot all font packages maintainers. This will
   certainly require more Postscript font specialists to join
   and bring their own knowledge

3) well, that point was already in the initial proposal..:)

4) The TSF will be kept posted

Now for the new proposal:


The maintenance of fonts, True/OpenType, Postscript fonts and the
like, is currently splitted out among many maintainers in the project,
while the problems faced by font package maintainers are nearly always
the same ones.

Recent experience of helping/sponsoring/taking over a few TTF font
packages leads the conclusion that some coordination between volunteer
font packages maintainers could be an interesting improvement for the

So, I hereby propose building a Debian fonts team.

Project goals

 Improve communication
This team will, by the use of a mailing list, allow good communication
among font package maintainers. This can help all of us to benefit
from the experience of font experts, who are not that common.

 Share resources
A common SVN repository, hosted on Alioth, will allow font package
maintainers to host their package development, if they wish to do so.

 Increase Debian font base
The team can become the natural entry point for new proposals of font
packaging, for instance packaging of fonts targeted to new supported
languages (a quite common case now as active lobbying is constantly
done to bring new translators and new languages in).

The team could also seek for more fonts to be included in Debian,
possibly after setting up some prerequisites to avoid too crappy fonts.

 Write a font packaging policy
One of the goals for this team would be setting up a font packaging
policy. Font packages are usually very simple packages, but having a
common packaging style would greatly help incorporating new fonts in

Enforcing this policy to existing font packages is not in the top
priority of the team.

 Bring improved maintenance of font-related tools
The project could also include the maintenance of font-related tools,
such as fontforge or defoma (only with agreement of their respective
maintainers who are highly welcomed in the team).

Project resources

The common resources for the team will be:
- a dedicated project on Alioth, with a common SVN repository, named
- a mailing list hosted on lists.debian.org

Next steps

This mail is CC'ed to all ttf-* font packages maintainers. Getting
their reaction to this proposal is important, especially for those who
didn't see the first initial mail.

So, please follow up in -devel to show interest, criticism, laughs
and the like (if needed, temporarily subscribe to -devel...you'll see
it's not *only* made of trolls and flamewars).

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