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Re: truetype font licensing

On Thu, Aug 15, 2002 at 11:53:06PM -0700, Michael Cardenas wrote:
> Hello everyone. Please cc me on any replies as I am not subscribed. 

	Done.  You should set your Mail-Followup-To: header to say that,
then any intelligent mail reader will CC you.

> Unfortunately, I only know of two ttf fonts that are explicitly
> licensed under the gpl: dustismo, from cheapskate fonts, and metatype,
> from metatype.sourceforge.net. 

	I have investigated this for a while, and have also noticed the
lack of Free TTFs.

> I will be making a package shortly for dustismo, and am talking with
> the author about the possibility of more gpl'ed fonts. I have also
> emailed the maintainer of metatype, as his font needs some more work
> and I'm willing to work on it, but I haven't received a response yet. 

	Thank you for your time and effort.  It is nice to see
Lindows.com contributing directly to the Debian project.

> What a long winded prelude! I want to ask you about how, or if, I
> should approach some other font authors to see if they are interested
> in releasing their fonts under the gpl. 

	I believe you should.  However, there are legal implications to
using the GPL which are subtle.  You may want to consider asking them to
dual license, or to consider the LGPL.

> Searching for free fonts, I came across this list from a prof at
> mcgill university:
> http://cgm.cs.mcgill.ca/~luc/freefonts.html
> and emailed him to see if he knows of any which are gpl'ed or under
> similar free licenses. he pointed me to this list, of original font
> authors, not just collections:
> http://jeff.cs.mcgill.ca/~luc/originalfonts.html
> and said I should talk to those authors, and that he doesn't know of
> any under free licenses. 
> So, should I contact these font authors to ask them about licensing?
> How should I approach them? Is there someone else more appropriate and
> interested who is a dd and has a d.o email address? (i'm still in the
> nm process)

	I think that since you have done a lot of research, you ought to
approach them.  You should approach them in a friendly way, introduce
yourself as a Debian volunteer, and explain our predicament.  Then ask
them if they would like to help.  You can then explain the legal issues
surrounding their current licensing, and how alternative licenses could
help.  Since most fontographers are not lawyers, it may be that they
have just picked the wrong license for their intent.

	I've been dealing with the Nessus people on a similar licensing
problem; and I'm also in the NM queue.  As long as you're friendly, kind
and understanding; most upstreams I've talked to are pretty
accomodating.  If they say "no", then don't push the issue.  Licensing
is a pretty "hot" topic for some people.

> There is also the issue of the Bigelow and Holmes fonts in xfree86,
> which are licensed under a non free license which restricts
> modification. Branden Robinson and Juliusz Chroboczek already
> contacted them to discuss licensing, and received no response. I think
> we should try again. 

	Most definitely!  I would encourage you to do so.

> I'm very interested in providing high quality type to the free
> software community, and I want to do whatever I can to make that
> happen. If that means finding gpl or dfsg compliant fonts, then so be
> it. If I can't find any and have to make my own, I plan to do so. 

	Actually, we probably should make our own.  The dirth of Free
tools for making TrueType is a major roadblock, and should be something
to be worked upon.

	The reason why we should make our own is so that documents
coming from the non-free world can carry reasonably well.  We need a
Times clone and a Helvetica clone, with the same dimensions and kerning.
A Zapf Dingbats clone would also be beneficial.  They don't have to look
the same, but they ought to have the same characters, in the same place,
with the same _behaviour_ so that documents can be shared without gross
formatting changes.

> thank you for your time

	No, thank you Michael.


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