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Re: Open Font License 1.1review2 - comments?

Andrew Donnellan wrote:
>> Which means you can't combine an OFL font with a GPL font to make a new
>> font (and not much else beyond that).
> True.

>> The copyleft on the font doesn't bind the program for any use I can
>> imagine. Not because of the document exemption, but because of this:
>> "can be bundled, embedded, redistributed and/or sold with any software
>> provided that the font names of derivative works are changed."
> Sorry, I'll change the example - a GPL font.

Can't combine them. All copyleft licenses have this incompatibility
problem, unless they provide some explicit conversion clause.

Debian has never had a requirement that licenses be "GPL compatible", AFAIK.

>> > I then proceed to copy it into OOo Writer.
>> How, exactly? How do you copy a program into OOo Writer?
> You copy it by selecting the source code in your text editor,
> selecting the Copy option and switching to OOo and pressing pasting.

Okay, so it's the source code of a GPL font?

Doesn't matter. The point is that it's a text document, now represented
with a particular font, because of the use of a word processor.

The content of the document is irrelevant. No document's content is
bound simply because the font is embedded in it. That's what the
document exemption is all about.

> Does this now give me an exemption? Does that exemption last after I
> take the source and compile it with FontForge or similar?

Of course. The resulting font is a derivative of your GPL font. After
compilation, it contains none of the OFL font, so it's pretty easy to
see that it isn't in any way a 'derivative' of the OFL font.

In fact, of course, there's probably no legal way that it could be made
binding in that circumstance. So the document exemption may not even be
relevant. But even if it were possible, the exemption makes it clear
that no binding to the OFL license occurs.

More importantly, the OFL license makes it clear that your ODF document
containing the source code isn't bound by the OFL either (even though it
'embeds' an OFL-licensed font). Of course, the OFL font *within* the ODF
document *is* still under the OFL license.

So far, this seems clearcut to me.

Just because it's fun to argue, though, I'll throw a wild one at you:

What if the programming language for the program actually uses ODF as
source code (instead of plain text), and the choice of font is
significant (e.g. variable names in Helvetica have integer type, while
names in Times Roman have floating point type, and StayPuft variables
are strings?)

Forcing a name-change on the font could break the build. However, unless
the language uses the "primary font name as presented to the users" to
distinguish fonts (a very unwise design decision), the problem can be

Then, of course, the "document" *is* the "source code", not merely a
combination of the source code with formatting.

Even in this case, though, the font expressly says it can't affect the
license of the program (because it's the "document").


Terry Hancock (hancock@AnansiSpaceworks.com)
Anansi Spaceworks http://www.AnansiSpaceworks.com

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