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Re: Bug#182402: ttf-freefont is violating the GNU GPL

On Wed, Feb 26, 2003 at 09:10:58AM +1100, Peter Hawkins wrote:
> Hi...
> On Tue, Feb 25, 2003 at 01:17:00AM -0500, Simon Law wrote:
> > Package: ttf-freefont
> > Version: 20021016-2
> > Severity: serious
> > 
> > The package ttf-freefont is licensed under the GNU General Public
> > License, as listed in the appended debian/copyright file.  I can confirm
> > this from http://savannah.nongnu.org/download/freefont/COPYING .
> > 
> > 	Since ttf-freefont _does_ _not_ include the complete
> > corresponding machine-readable source code,
> Yes it does. It includes complete machine readable source code of the
> fonts in a particular format (ie. TTF). Since TTF files are effectively
> like images (albeit in a very specialised format), you can modify and
> improve them with the appropriate tools. True, there are other formats
> you could provide the fonts in, but I would argue that TTF fulfils all
> the requirements of source code based distribution.

Section 3 of the GNU General Public License contains the following text:

  The source code for a work means the preferred form of the work for
  making modifications to it.

If you can legitimately justify that the preferred form for
modifications is the ttf files, then by all means, distribute them as
source. But I would argue that is not the case. The README [0] states:

  The files with .sfd (Spline Font Database) are in PfaEdit's native
  format. Please use these if you plan to modify the font files. PfaEdit
  can export these to mostly any existing font file format.

> In fact, if you pay close attention to the file dates in the upstream
> archive, it appears freefont-ttf-20020306.tar.gz is the newest release
> for the TTF files, and freefont-sfd.tar.gz (dated 2003/02/19) is the
> newest release of the SFD files. Even upstream doesn't seem to release
> SFD files quite as often as TTF files.

Excuse me? 2003 is sooner than 2002.

> > 	I recommend that you immediately upload a package containing the
> > source SFD files to satisfy our licensing obligations.  You should use
> > both http://savannah.nongnu.org/download/freefont/freefont-ttf.tar.gz
> > and http://savannah.nongnu.org/download/freefont/freefont-sfd.tar.gz to
> > construct the package.
> Well, I can do this but I would like an opinion from debian-legal before
> I haemorrhage archive space like this (this would triple the size of the
> source package from 1.2mb to more like 3.9mb). If you really thought
> this was the way to go, I guess I would instead Build-Depend on pfaedit
> and have to automate the generation of the TrueType fonts.

It really doesn't matter to me how you do it. I don't know if pfaedit
can create ttf files from the command line, though.

> > 	As well, the debian/copyright notice does not actually specify
> > the correct copyright statement.  I suggest revising it thus:

This needs to be fixed anyway. The notice of copyright is important.

[0] http://savannah.nongnu.org/download/freefont/README

Brian M. Carlson <sandals@crustytoothpaste.ath.cx> 0x560553e7
"Let us think the unthinkable, let us do the undoable. Let us prepare
 to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it
 after all." --Douglas Adams

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