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Re: [Pkg-fonts-devel] Bug#492623: ttf-liberation: Trademark prevents modifications

Faidon Liambotis wrote:
Ian Jackson wrote:
Quoting the license:
If you modify the files, you must
 - Rename the fonts to remove any reference to Liberation
 - Not install the fonts as liberation
 - Rename the binary package and the source package
 - Change the description to remove all references to Liberation and
   Red Hat.
And much more importantly, a similar clause (albeit only for the "reserved font name") is present in the Open Font License, under which most of the free fonts are and which is accepted in Debian main.


Let me point out that this clause in the Liberation-specific agreement is really different from the Reserved Font Name clause in the OFL (in both spirit and letter).

The reserved font name mechanism in the OFL only applies to the primary font name as seen by the user whereas the Liberation agreement requires removing any reference and renaming packages.

Trademarks can exists alongside the licensed font. The OFL doesn't cover trademarks.

The OFL has been refined and validated through a long community review and is organisation and project-neutral unlike the Liberation agreement. The OFL is approved by the FSF and Debian and Fedora have had various OFL-ed font families in main for a while.

Also other recognized free software license also have some kind "please distinguish your derivative from upstream" clause:

Knuth indicated back in the days when creating Computer Modern that font derivative renaming is a must to avoid chaos. If we think about this issue in terms of DVCS and branches it's a reasonable expectation for a branch to advertise itself as such and not be mistaken for the trunk or another branch. That's not to say that no patches can flow between all of them rather the opposite. But releasing something different under the same name is a bad idea is lots of ways.

A light renaming clause and some name protection mechanisms constitute the necessary nexus to make designers comfortable with allowing unlimited modifications of their creations and creating a collaborative open font community which can improve fonts while not messing up user documents.

BTW through the weekly font review we're working on tackling the non-free fonts bugs in Debian:


Nicolas Spalinger

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