[Pkg-fonts-devel] Bug#665334: non-DFSG postscript embedded in fontforge

Daniel Kahn Gillmor dkg at fifthhorseman.net
Sat Jul 14 15:52:20 UTC 2012

On 07/13/2012 11:34 AM, Hideki Yamane wrote:
>> We could probably make a new dfsg-free "clean" upstream tarball that is 
>> still capable of building fontforge binaries by ripping out big chunks 
>> of this file (i haven't tried it yet), but i don't know what that would 
>> do to fontforge's ability to do Type1 font generation.
>> Another approach would be to move fontforge from the main archive to the 
>> non-free archive; but it seems like that would relegate many of our font 
>> packages to contrib, due to build-dependencies. :(
>> I'm open to other suggestions; i would be overjoyed, in fact, to hear 
>> other suggestions.  Does anyone have any proposals?
>  Have you asked to upstream to change its license to DFSG-free one?
>  Nowadays Adobe seems to be a little bit friendly to opensource. 
>  It's best choice if we can have it.

john knightley <john.knightley at gmail.com> (cc'ed here) had offered to
try to contact folks at adobe back in March, but i don't know if he did
that (or if he received the support he wanted from the group for doing

john, did you speak with anyone?  Do you need anything else from us to
move this forward?

IIRC, the issue is:

 0) Adobe offered postscript code (the "makeblendedfont" function from
Adobe's Technical Specification #5015)  under a license that does not
allow modification, or reuse outside of a very specific purpose.
Additionally, the "OtherSubrs" function from Example 1 in Adobe's
Technical Specification #5014, doesn't appear to have any specific
license granted for reuse.

 1) fontforge embeds these two pieces of postscript in its source, and
replicates them into its output when it creates certain kinds of font files.

This situation does not satisfy the debian free software guidelines
because of the restrictions on modification and constraint on field of

If Adobe was willing to release these two functions under a more liberal
license (e.g. the BSD or MIT license) that would be a wonderful
contribution to the community.



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