Licence and fonts

Henrik Gedenryd Henrik.Gedenryd at
Thu Mar 23 19:39:05 UTC 2000

Andrew C. Greenberg wrote:

> There is a separate, proprietary license concerning fonts.  Decidedly
> non-open source.  Of course, the fonts could be removed entirely, and
> replaced with non-proprietary fonts, and the resulting product can,
> consistent with the license, drop those provisions.

I've picked up a few interesting tidbits from the freetype list.

First of all, as I've also heard in several other places, bitmap fonts
cannot really be "rights protected" (I'm intentionally avoiding terms like
"copyrighted" since I don't know which term it would be). Effectively, you
can not protect the shapes, but their "incarnations", like a font
description in truetype etc. Why this doesn't apply to a bitmap I don't

Second, as a freetype initiative, a freeware font archive is to be set up
and added to the gnu distributions. RMS is involved in the talks in the list
right now. A modified GPL for fonts is being discussed.

Andrew: It seems quite possible to make a convincing case to the freetype
people running this initiative (not RMS it appears) for removing the
"contamination clause" from the font license, if the problem is stated

Third, every font distributed with Ghostscript is free already. (GPL I would

(Fourth: as I've said before, the final FreeType2 will feature a new
renderer (currently in beta) with no patent issues. Think summer for the
timeframe. The Squeak Mac plugin doesn't use this yet.)

I will continue to monitor these developments.


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