[arch-general] Packages with non free licenses

Grigorios Bouzakis grbzks at gmail.com
Tue Dec 18 13:59:17 EST 2007

On Tue, Dec 18, 2007 at 10:37:13AM -0600, Aaron Griffin wrote:
> On Dec 18, 2007 2:33 AM, Grigorios Bouzakis <grbzks at gmail.com> wrote: 
> > I have been meaning to ask, AFAIK besides the codecs package the same
> > license have ttf-ms-fonts. Is there any change to see them in
> > unsupported too?
> > IMO the fonts are a more complex issue than the codecs one, since most
> > users have them installed. Theres already an AUR entry for them in
> > unsupported
> If you can do some testing here to see WHAT these fonts should be
> replaced with, and what looks good, that'd be appreciated. I'd, again,
> be personally fine with the switch, but as you said the fonts are a
> far more complex issue.

Well, to be honest i am not very familiar with font issues, mainly because
i rarely have to deal with fonts outside of the terminal. Almost
exclusively when it comes to w3 browsing with firefox.
A default Archlinux installation with the ttf-ms-fonts installed results 
to a very good configuration in my opinion and i never bothered dealing
with the issue.
I only got more interested in this some days ago when i found an old
todo list.

These fonts as most of you probably already know was a project started
by Microsoft in 1996 to make a standard pack of fonts for the Internet.
The project was terminated in August 2002, allegedly due to frequent
EULA violations. However, that same EULA allows redistribution as long
as the packages are kept in their original format and with their
original filename, and they are not used to add value to commercial
products. As a result, they are still available for download on
third-party websites.
The license allows the fonts to be used on operating systems such as Linux, 
as long as they are distributed in original form. [1]

Archlinux's package comes from sourceforge [2]. This site claims that
Uses tahoma from word 97 viewer instead of the ie6 update so no windows
license is needed. (Tahoma isnt part of the ttf-ms-fonts package
But also, Does not distribute Microsoft's fonts in a prohibited way (to
the best the distributers knowledge).

The TLDP in its Font Packages section [3] of its Optimal Use of Fonts on
Linux article [4] mentions: Some people say these fonts are free only
for persons who have a Microsoft Windows license.
Also the editor of the TLDP article in his own homepage has the fonts
licensed under a Microsoft License [5].

Last i checked the package in the Archlinux extra repository didnt even
provide a license. If it remains there what will the license field be?
Microsoft? Or a plain undefined custom one that is nowhere to be found?
I might be missing something here but i dont remember any discussion
taking place that could have moticated sergej unto putting  the 
ttf-ms-fonts-lic into unsupported claiming license issues [6].
Note: ttf-ms-fonts-lic doesnt have a license as well of course.
Either way, in my opinion a decision should be made regarding this.
Is there a point keeping both packages?

Chapter 2 :P

Now regarding a possible replacement of the ttf-ms-fonts package from
As i have said before i am no expert on the topic.
I have seen people on the web claiming that there is no real substitute
for this package. I have also read that webpage font rendering is better
and faster with the use of those fonts cause most pages are created
using some of these fonts.
My experiments during the last days rather prove the above points, even
though i didnt get into the core of this messing with font configuration

There are many popular font packages in AUR, some even in Community [7-9]
as well as many others too available across the web.eg. [10]
Maybe a combination of some of those packages will suffice for the
replacement? Is an effort to achieve this worth it?

I would love hearing what others more relevant with this users have to
say about this.


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