[Pkg-fonts-devel] Bug#851339: Bug#851339: fonts-firacode: package in Debian with non-Debian build dependencies

Fabian Greffrath fabian at debian.org
Tue Jan 17 11:32:21 UTC 2017

Dear Ben,

thank you very much for your bug report. However, I believe you are wrong
with applying RC severity to this issue and I have added FTP-Masters to CC
in the hope for clarification.

Ben Finney wrote:
> I see now that this refers to a proprietary program named Glyphs, as a
> program used in the build procedure.
> So the correct description of this bug is that the package must not be
> in Debian until all its build dependencies are also in Debian. See
> <URL:https://ftp-master.debian.org/REJECT-FAQ.html> “Non-Main”.
> Packages that have a build dependency on a non-Debian package may be
> in the “contrib” archive area.

I don't think that it should make a difference if upstream uses
proprietary software to convert the fonts from some kind of source format
into the OTF format in which they are distributed. There are many fonts in
Debian which are only distributed in OTF format, either because upstream
uses this format to develop the fonts or because upstream simply does not
tell which other format they use. As long as the license allows for binary
distribution (and it does) I do not consider this an issue.

Generally, there is no canonical source format for fonts and any of the
common formats [1] retains the possibility to modify them, e.g. using
fontforge scripting. The OTF format is not restricted to being an "end
product". This makes a huge difference to e.g. PDF or PS documents which
are given as examples in the "Missing Sources" section of the REJECTS FAQs
that you refer to. Once converted into these formats, it is nearly
impossible to modify the documents or convert them back into their
respective source formats.

I hope this all makes sense.

Thank you ,

 - Fabian

[1] Think of e.g. graphics in PNG format of which we have plenty in
Debian. It wouldn't help if they were distributed in some other format
that upstream chose to use for creating them.

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