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

Nicolas Spalinger nicolas_spalinger at sil.org
Wed Jul 30 10:29:18 UTC 2008

Paul Wise wrote:
> On Wed, Jul 30, 2008 at 2:44 PM, Faidon Liambotis <paravoid at debian.org> wrote:
>> 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.
> The OFL is a bit different, as far as I understand it, even format
> shifting (converting from source .sfd to binary .ttf) triggers the
> renaming clause.

Hi Paul,

Well, changing formats is really understood as something different than 
building from source. Sure, you can read something different into it and 
stretch the meaning of the words but the intent of the license is that 
since format conversions are very likely to introduce significant 
changes (changing the types of splines, loosing some elements in the 
conversion process) *it is* actually creating a derivative that should 
be renamed to *prevent collisions* when redistributing it. This is again 
to avoid documents which may render unexpectedly why fonts who advertise 
themselves with the name of upstream although they don't behave like 

To quote the relevant OFL bit:
"Modified Version" refers to any derivative made by adding to, deleting,
or substituting -- in part or in whole -- any of the components of the
Original Version, by changing formats or by porting the Font Software to 
a  new environment.

A lot of research and community review has gone into finding this tricky 
nexus between modifiability and artistic integrity. Seems like it's 
doing what it is intended to seeing the growing numbers of fonts 
designers trusting this license and the growing number of open fonts 
making their way into the distros. I believe we have a much better 
situation now than before. Anybody remember Luxi?


Nicolas Spalinger

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