[arch-general] Packages with non free licenses

w9ya at qrparci.net w9ya at qrparci.net
Tue Dec 18 14:41:56 EST 2007

O.K.... you asked for people's relevant comments. Here's mine;

Ya know I really am as concerned as the next guy fella or gal about
licenses being adhered to.

Nonetheless, IF there is no clearly defined license especially when no
license document is extent on stuff that is meant to be used freely (as
long as it is not for commercial distribution), then why shouldn't arch
allow for a maintained package of these fonts.

Or put another way, I am hoping that this discussion is simply for the
purpose of finding a suitable way to deal with the license field in some
or a specific PKGBUILD. <- And I hope we are not talking about some purity
clickish deal like Debian and other distros that are against this or that
because it does not fit into some preconceived notion about there being a
NEED for a specific kind of license and/or a NEED for providing a specific
kind of licensing document. Those kinds of things always seem to end up
satisfying no one but a small number of zealots.

Arch has always been about a clean way for a user to get something useful
AND desirable. Let's not go off half-cocked on a wild goose chase and end
up not pleasing people by throwing good packages into the trash heap or
making things complicated, especially if there is NOT a good reason to do

In this case, I would humbly suggest that a special license file named
"not _extent" be made , with some simple text that says that "No license
document can be found, as such, and that this is otherwise approved for
non-commercial use by the original author/distributor." .

If I have offended anyone. O.k. I can live with that.

If I have misunderstood anyone, O.k. I can live with that also and I am

I just hope we can leave packages as they are, with perhaps a simple
solution, without a felt need to move something to some other place
without a DECENT reason to do so.

BTW, I would not have written this little note, but my hair on the back
of my neck tends to stand up when we start with some suggestions about
license this and that, and moving packages and so forth, and more than a
couple of emails start up on this kind of thing. <- In this specific case
NO ONE's license is being violated and NO ONE is being taken advantage of.

Very best regards;

Bob Finch

> 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
> anyway).
> 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
> extra.
> 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
> files.
> 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.
> [1]:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Core_fonts_for_the_Web
> [2]:http://corefonts.sourceforge.net/
> [3]:http://tldp.org/HOWTO/Font-HOWTO/fonts.html
> [4]:http://tldp.org/HOWTO/Font-HOWTO/intro.html
> [5]:http://avi.alkalay.net/software/webcore-fonts/webcore-fonts.spec
> [6]:http://aur.archlinux.org/packages.php?do_Details=1&ID=5418
> [7]:http://aur.archlinux.org/packages.php?do_Details=1&ID=3673
> [8]:http://aur.archlinux.org/packages.php?do_Details=1&ID=1086
> [9]:http://aur.archlinux.org/packages.php?do_Details=1&ID=6608
> [10]:http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2007/11/08/40-excellent-freefonts-for-professional-design/

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