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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.

Hello Paul,

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.

Bill. <ballombe@debian.org>

Imagine a large red swirl here. 

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