[Pkg-fonts-devel] Bug#595963: RFP: yanone-kaffeesatz -- TTF and OTF font in four weights

Axel Beckert abe at debian.org
Thu Sep 9 01:07:36 UTC 2010


Nicolas Spalinger wrote:
> Well, it you look at upstream descriptions there is an intended
> difference of usage between the OTF and the TTF.


> One being specific to another OS' rendering environment. Do we
> really need both debianized?

Well, as far as I read it one is optimized for DTP usage and the other
one for GUI usage, so I expect both variants to be useful.

> And I agree with Christian that we want to follow a general naming
> convention for the fonts packages we maintain in the archive.
> Although it was decided a while ago that a big renaming/split was not
> essential for now, given our team resources.

Ok, so this has been discussed already.

> We have some ttf-$foundry-$fontfamilyname containing OTF files at
> this stage and it's not the end of the world IMHO. We can deal with
> that someday. (other distros have renamed to
> fonts-$foundry-$fontfamilyname for example).

fonts-$foundry-$fontfamilyname sounds way more sane to me for source
packages, yes.

I'm glad to see that topic on the todo list, I though wonder why newly
packaged stuff should not start using what is planned. Or is just
planned to change it, but not yet decided how to change it?

> > Anyway, back to this RFP: I saw font packages in the archive which had
> > only the TTF files in the source package while I also saw packages
> > like ttf-freefont, which do have SFD files as "source" for the TTF and
> > OTF files.
> > 
> > Then again, there are fonts under CC licenses (which seems fine for
> > TTF files as they are "art" similar to images or texts) as well as
> > GPL'ed fonts (where I'd expect to be able to get the SFD "source").
> > 
> > Does Debian make any difference between those two types of "free"
> > fonts?
> You seem to be missing some facts about fonts and font design in your
> analysis, please allow me to try and explain:

I do. So thanks for your time to explain them. :-)

> - various open fonts we have in the archive are created with a buildpath
> we can't fully reproduce with unrestricted tools at this stage. Or that
> we can't fully rebuild to reach the same quality and feature parity than
> the upstream release. The thing is that if a maintainer recreates a
> different buildpath from the upstream author then they are effectively
> committing to maintain a derivative version. But the final TTF or OTF is
> both object and source as you can open them in fontforge, make
> modifications and create a derivative. So even if the upstream release
> only contains a set of final TTF files, it is already source you can use
> to a certain extent. Yeah, quite unique I know but fonts are a special
> kind of software. You can always export the ttf to text-based source
> formats and work from that too: sfd, ufo, ttx.

Ok, didn't knew that indeed. Good to know and glad to hear..

> We're working to advocate the release of more extended sources
> (smart font code, hinting, glyph and attachment point databases,
> scripts, etc) to designers and working on extending the open font
> design toolkit. It would be a pity (rather silly really) to discard
> all the usable, distributable, modifiable, redistributable fonts you
> have managed to get released under appropriate licenses over the
> past few years because not all designers are using fontforge on
> Debian as their preferred design environment.

Sure. I was just wondering why a TTF without it's source is still free
software. You explained that well.

> - Fonts are software

I wasn't really aware of that. I basically saw them like some vector
or pixel graphic image...

> and CC licenses are for assets (content, documents, music, images)
> and Creative Commons strongly discourages using a CC combination for
> Software

Yep. That's well known for me. I just applied it to fonts the other
way round because I saw fonts more like assets than software.

> Using CC licenses for fonts is a bug and something Debian should
> discourage.

Oh, even that bad?

> Kaffeesatz's relicensing is good news in that regard.

Yeah, I figured that when reading

And just now I noticed that you are one of the authors of that
license. Thanks for that license!

> - many GPL-ed fonts are still very fuzzy about what is the preferred
> form for modification and have been created outside a reproducible
> buildpath. What is their source? How can people properly satisfy the
> source requirements of the GPL in a font context? Can they really make
> use of it?

That's basically the question I wondered about.

> (there is also the issue of how the GPL interacts with font
> embedding).


> - also "free fonts" is a very misleading expression as in the design
> community it is always associated with dubious
> maybe-redistribute-but-don't-modify-fonts, IOW freeware (often ripoffs).
> Check your preferred search engine. We talk about libre/open fonts
> instead to indicate the big difference between these fonts with a bad
> reputation and fonts which their authors want to be usable,
> distributable, modifiable, redistributable i.e. DFSG-compliant. We don't
> want anyone to confuse the two! And well there's always the issue of
> "free" being misunderstood as "this don't cost any money" but "free
> font" as a fixed expression lead to even more misunderstandings and
> should really be avoided.

Short said: the common problem with the multiple meanings of the word

> Hope that helps,

It did indeed, thanks a lot!

> Thank you for your efforts around font packaging. You're always welcome
> to join our team and help out :-)

Not sure if I'll go that far and join the team, but at least I
sponsored already some font packages. :-)

		Regards, Axel
 ,''`.  |  Axel Beckert <abe at debian.org>, http://people.debian.org/~abe/
: :' :  |  Debian Developer, ftp.ch.debian.org Admin
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