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Re: Bug#91856: Hello

On Sun, Apr 01, 2001 at 04:57:21PM +0200, Juliusz Chroboczek wrote:
> Hi Dirk, hello to all,
> DE>  This package is missing three fonts from the XFree86 source archives
> DE>  because the license terms on the fonts do not meet the Debian Free
> DE>  Software Guidelines; they are the Type1 fonts Adobe Utopia, IBM Courier,
> DE>  and Bigelow & Holmes (B&H) Lucidux.
> For your information, the licence of these fonts is fairly liberal,
> putting no restriction whatsoever on use and distribution.  On the
> other hand, the copyright holders of these fonts do put certain limits
> on your rights to redistribute modified versions.

Yes; the same is true of many things that don't meet the DFSG.

> We are looking forward to including more fonts under similar licenses
> in future versions of XFree86.

I'd look forward even more to fonts that are freely licensed.  :(

> Dirk, any chance you could push for a change in policy?  I think we
> need the DFSG to explicitly provide an exception for fonts and artwork.

I disagree.  To do so would introduce far too much gray area, in my
opinion, and get Debian involved in even more licensing flamewars than we
currently have.  The current metric is simple:

* If Debian packages it, it's software.

(I acknowledge that there may already exist things that aren't software in
the conventional sense whose licenses conflict with the DFSG, and yet exist
in our main section at present.  If there are, that's a bug and one we
should fix.)

> While waiting for that, Branden, is there a chance you could at least
> put these fonts in non-free?

Because of Debian policy, a source package that produces both free and
non-free components must go into the non-free section.  Hence why I removed
the fonts in question even from the upstream source tarball that we ship.

To package these fonts separately would not be terribly difficult, but I
must admit that I am not strongly motivated to do so, simply because
they're not DFSG-free.  Is there someone who would like to ITP these fonts?
I'm happy to help with the packaging issues; I just don't want to maintain
them myself.

Without getting too much into whys and wherefores, I'll note that many of
the arguments people use for a more lax interpretation of "freeness" on
things like fonts, music, and artwork are the same ones that Daniel J.
Bernstein uses to justify the non-free license on most (all?) of the
software he writes.  Few people dispute the high quality of djb's work, and
some may find his code beautiful and elegant from an esthetic standpoint,
but these issues are orthogonal to the licensing.

Juliusz, I hope we can agree to disagree on this issue.  (And thanks for
your help addressing the technical issue at hand in this bug report.)

G. Branden Robinson             |    The first thing the communists do when
Debian GNU/Linux                |    they take over a country is to outlaw
branden@debian.org              |    cockfighting.
http://www.debian.org/~branden/ |    -- Oklahoma State Senator John Monks

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