Re: BDF Considered Harmful?
On Wed, Mar 11, 2009 at 01:07:56AM -0700, Paul Hardy wrote:
> BDF font files have not been allowed in Debian packages for a while,
> as per Debian policy. I emailed Russ Allbery last year about the
> possibility of allowing BDF fonts back into Debian for reasons that
> follow. He was willing to entertain the idea. I waited for the lenny
> release before bringing up this possible change in policy.
I would like to clarify that BDF are not allowed in *binary* package, but are
allowed in *source* package.
> Currently BDF fonts are supposed to be converted to PCF. BDF is a
> plain ASCII format, and PCF is binary. Thus a PCF font file will be
> more compact than its BDF source.
> However, the original BDF version can contain ASCII comments that are
> not preserved in the PCF version. These comments often contain
> information such as author, copyright, and licensing information.
> With the BDF versions discarded, that information is lost -- there is
> no round-trip conversion from BDF to PCF to BDF. Thus a blind
> BDF-to-PCF conversion can discard valuable information the author
> intended to remain with the font. This can be significant given the
> abundance of BDF fonts in the early history of X11.
I fail to see the difference between a BDF-to-PCF converter and a C compiler
that will discard comments from the C source files. Yet we do not generally
ship C source code in binary packages.
Users that need the BDF files can get it from the source package, so
its is not lost to the user.
Furthermore a cursory use of zless on some pcf.gz in debian seems to
show that copyright information *are* preserved.
Imagine a large red swirl here.