[Fontconfig] [OT] Using MS licenses

Juliusz Chroboczek jch at pps.jussieu.fr
Wed Jan 12 01:11:26 EST 2005

> However, if Debian automatically installs these from the web, then
> it is effectively including them in the distribution. That seems
> strange to me.

The Debian msttcorefonts package is not installed by default.  In
order to get the MS core fonts, the user must:

 - make a conscious decision to install this optional package;
 - say ``yes'' to a question asked by the installer;
 - after the download, agree to the Microsoft licence.

> Presumably, the each distribution should be clean, in the sense that
> it should only include material that falls under the license used by
> that distribution.

Debian is split into three parts:

 - main, which is entirely DFSG-free;
 - non-free, which contains things that are freely redistribuable but
   not DFSG-free;
 - contrib, which is itself DFSG-free but might depend on non-free

The msttcorefonts package is in contrib.  It would not be suitable for
inclusion into main.

> Why shouldn' t Debian just include the fonts in the distribution?

In the Debian community, using the Debian infrastructure (ftp mirrors,
Debian CDs, etc.) is frowned upon.  Making a net-based installer for
these fonts allows easy access to them without however using the
Debian infrastructure for distributing non-free software.

I believe that from a legal point of view, it should be okay to
distribute these fonts (in the form of Microsoft cabinet files) as
part of your distribution.  I suggest that you check with a lawyer,


P.S. Keith, this is off-topic for this list.  Please complain if you
     want us to take this discussion off list.

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