For Approval: IPA Font License v1.0

yuko.noguchi at yuko.noguchi at
Tue Feb 24 07:28:14 UTC 2009

Dear Matt,

Regarding the issue of whether "native files" should be regarded as the
source code
for font programs, I have discussed with IPA, and it seems that IPA has
different technological understanding from your view.

> > IPA informs me that there is another type of files called "native
> > created by font developing tools, which are sometimes attached to
> > programs.  These native files, however, is not required in order for
> > recipient of font programs to modify the font programs.
> In my opinion, this /is/ the source code.  Source code is (per OSD),
> "the preferred form in which a programmer would modify the program."
> Someone would /prefer/ to have access to the native files.

According to IPA, it is true that some of the GPL font licenses attach
native files.
Most of these native files are created by a Microsoft's font developing
tool called "VOLT."
Native files created by VOLT can only be used when you want to modify
the font program
using VOLT, and do not have any interoperability with other developing

Moreover, some of the developing tools for font programs, such as OSS
developing tool 
"fontforge" or developing tools provided by IPA, do not need any native
files to open 
and modify the font programs, and also do not create any native files
for others to reference.

If we ask that all the recipients should always provide native files
along with the font program,
we believe there would be recipients who would have difficulties
complying the license.
Or, to put it differently, IPA is reluctant to mandate the distribution
of native files because 
it may create some effects to limit the available developing tools the
recipient can use, which 
IPA believes is contradictory to openness.

Therefore, IPA understands that the role of native file is largely
different from the source code
in the context of usual software program.  Of course, the IPA license
does not in any way
prohibit the attachment of the native files.  If there is one, it is of
course desirable to share it:
however, mandating to do so is not suitable for font files.

Kind regards,

Yuko Noguchi

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