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Re: Licensing clarification on GnuMICR font (GPL)

On Sun, Mar 02, 2003 at 11:13:41PM -0600, sandeen@sandeen.net wrote:
> Hi all - stumbled across a discussion of the licensing of my "GnuMICR" font on
> this list, last September.  (btw... when discussing licensing inconsistencies
> in someone's software, cc'ing them would be helpful!)

Well, I think a couple of reasons we don't generally do this are:

1) some people really hate unsolicited mail; and
2) debian-legal needs to reach a consensus on an issue before mailing
   someone to ask them to change or clarify their license -- it would be
   pretty aggravating to have 6 different people asking you to do 6
   different things, with each claiming to be "all you need to do to
   make the license DFSG-free"

> In any case, I believe that I have clarified in the docs that my intent
> is to release the font under the Gnu General Public License.

Very nice.  Thank you!

> Additional verbage that I added related to trying to sort out how GPL might
> apply to a font - i.e. what constitutes "linking" and "source code" etc.

In my opinion, there is a little bit of vagueness in the following:

   This font may only be distributed with the license and the source code 
   to the font intact.  It's not exactly clear to me how the GNU GPL applies to 
   fonts, but in my eyes, the font file "GnuMICR.raw" is the "source code" to
   this font, and the files "GnuMICR.pfa" and "GnuMICR.pfb" are the compiled
   versions.  if you redistribute the "compiled" version, you must also
   distribute the "source" version.

I think some people *might* interpret this to mean that you are
requiring the source code to the font to be distributed even under
circumstances where the GNU GPL would not require it.  For instance, the
GNU GPL has all that business about a written offer, good for three
years, to give any third party, blah blah blah.

Given that Debian separates "source packages" from "binary packages",
this could actually be an issue from us, depending on how *you*
interpret "distributed with".  (We don't compel users to download the
source packages that correspond to the pre-compiled binary packages they
select for installation.)

I think if you simply identified the "GnuMICR.raw" file as the "source
code" in your interpretation, and the files "GnuMICR.pfa" and
"GnuMICR.pfb" as the "object code or executable form", that would be
adequate.  This uses the same terms as the GNU GPL itself, and should
suffice to make your meaning clear -- at least if *I'm* understanding
you correctly.  :)

> Anyway, if anyone was wanting to use this font, but felt that the license
> violated DFSG, hopefully that's cleared up now.  If not, please let me know.

Thanks a lot for your efforts, and for being one of the brave few who's
willing to work on Free fonts.  (Some people think it's "crazy" or "too
hard" to produce fonts that are as free as the software we use.)  It's
certainly a skill I don't possess.

G. Branden Robinson                |       The key to being a Southern
Debian GNU/Linux                   |       Baptist: It ain't a sin if you
branden@debian.org                 |       don't get caught.
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |       -- Anthony Davidson

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