[Pkg-fonts-devel] Bug#819723: ITP: fonts-ocr-b -- OCR-B font

Lachlan Gunn lachlan at twopif.net
Fri Apr 1 12:55:02 UTC 2016

Package: wnpp
Version: N/A; reported 2016-04-01
Severity: wishlist
X-Debbugs-CC: pkg-fonts-devel at lists.alioth.debian.org


I would like to package the OCR-B font available here:


It contains OpenType versions of the standard OCR-A and OCR-B fonts,
however as there is a pre-existing OCR-A package I would propose
packaging just the OCR-B component unless there is a desire for a
combined package to supersede the current one (see bug #818884).

OCR-B is the font used in passport machine-readable zones, as well as
with certain barcodes.

Regarding licensing:

The package is a conversion of a previous METAFONT font that appears to
already be distributed with Debian; all of the changes to this have been
dedicated to the public domain (see the link above).

The original METAFONT sources were from a digitisation by Norman
Schwarz.  These are older than the current CTAN sources, which state
that lift all previous restrictions on modification and distribution are


  2. To my knowledge, the original typeface for OCR-B was developed by
     Adrian Frutiger.  In Germany there even exists an industrial
     standard - DIN ????? - that describes the typefaces.  Based on such
     material the input has been developed.  I cannot speak to the legal
     consequences of these.

     As far as the digitization in METAFONT input which I have
     developed, you may freely use, modify, and/or distribute any of
     these files or the resulting fonts, without limitation.  A previous
     release of ocr-b only granted rights for non-commercial use; that
     restriction is now lifted.

This was confirmed by an email from upstream, which I have been given
permission to reproduce here:

  [From: mskala at ansuz.sooke.bc.ca]

  > Is your OCR-B font completely based upon the "ocr-b" package on CTAN?

  I don't know what you mean by "completely based upon."  It is a
  combination of code from an earlier version of Norbert Schwarz's ocr-b
  package (prior to the current one on CTAN) and some original code from me.

  > at least a Debian package) for it, since it seems not to be available
  > for either Debian or RedHat, and want to be 100% sure of the licensing
  > situation.

  As always, I'm not a lawyer and authoritative legal advice can only
  come from one.

Does this seem okay for me to go ahead and package?


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