Andrew C. Greenberg werdna at
Sat Oct 30 12:25:05 UTC 1999

>I did some more research on the URW-Fonts:
>They are GPLed. No Aladdin license. After some searching on the
>net I found the latest "original" Aladdin distribution of these
>fonts. All data-files in this distribution contain the following:
> Comment Copyright URW Software, Copyright 1996 by URW
> Comment Creation Date: 2/16/1996
> Comment See the file COPYING (GNU General Public License) for licen 
>se conditions.
> Copyright 1997 URW Software. See file COPYING for license
> % Copyright URW Software, Copyright 1994 by URW
> % URW Software, Copyright 1994 by URW
> % See the file COPYING (GNU General Public License) for license conditions.

The fact that they are licensed to some for use with GPL does not 
mean that the fonts themselves are always subject to GPL.  I believe 
that the set of fonts that came with my Apple are not GPL'd, but 
licensed to me subject to the Apple license.  A copyright owner may 
do this -- license to person "A" under one license agreement and to 
person "B" under another license agreement.

Of course, once the original owner incorporates revisions that are 
GPL'd, the owner is no longer free to do so.  This wouldn't have 
happened with URW, which has no source and is probably did not 
incorporate changes (or we wouldn't care whether we got an earlier 
version if it did).

Should we decide we need them, URW might be talked into simply 
letting us have the fonts solely for use with Squeak and Modified 
Works under the Squeak license, particularly if asked by one of our 
luminaries.  This would be the clearest, best way, to use these fonts 
if available -- no strings for distributions of Squeak -- no strings 
for subsequent distributions by Squeak users.

> >From the GPL:
> In addition, mere aggregation of another work not based on the Program
> with the Program (or with a work based on the Program) on a volume of
> a storage or distribution medium does not bring the other work under
> the scope of this License.
>Is the Squeak-Image a "distribution-Medium"? We should add a method like
>"Utilities writeFontsToDisk" -- than the image+vm is nothing more than a
>"zip" or "tar" with a graphical frontend.
>Of course Squeak can not only write the fonts to the disk, but even use
>them, but the use ("running the programm") is not restricted by the GPL

The problem, of course, is that you really don't know for sure until 
a judge or jury tells you so.  Representing you, I believe I'd have a 
fair chance making that argument to a court, given the totality of 
the circumstances, but I couldn't guarantee success.  Ultimately, the 
objects created (which are stored in the image) will be impacted by 
the work, and I am not sure the extent, if at all, those other 
objects would be themselves subject to the GPL.  Even if we won, in 
particular, the GPL, like a virus, might be deemed to extend to other 
portions of the image as those other portions begin to incorporate 
stored derivatives of the fonts in bitmaps and otherwise.

Bad Karma.  GPL and other licenses really don't mix unless the two 
products are truly and forever separable.  (Indeed, GPL makes no 
sense at all for fonts).  This was, in fact, the intent of the 
author, RMS, who wanted to arrange that everything would ultimately 
be GPL'd.

I believe RMS considers this language to mean separate files on a 
disk; and does consider two files "merged" by a linker to be a 
derivative work (which is why he wrote LGPL).  But his view is no 
more or less authoritative at the end of the day as to its legal 
meaning than yours or mine.

I have written opinions for clients suggesting that they distribute 
GPL'd stuff as independent files on a disk, rather than merging via 
linker or other fashion -- although those clients principal concern 
was an obligation to disclose the separate stuff.

Indeed, if subject available to us only under GPL, the single best 
bet may be to distribute the fonts as a simple file or files and make 
loading and extracting as painless and easy as possible.

So here is my question -- and why GPL'ing a font is not something I 
expect URW to take as a religious point.  if we take only subject to 
GPL, how exactly do we comply with the obligation to make available 
or simultaneously distribute the "source code" for the fonts?

More information about the Squeak-dev mailing list