For Approval: IPA Font License v1.0

Matthew Flaschen matthew.flaschen at
Wed Feb 25 12:43:15 UTC 2009

yuko.noguchi at wrote:
> According to IPA, it is true that some of the GPL font licenses attach
> native files.

I didn't say anything about the GPL.

> Most of these native files are created by a Microsoft's font developing
> tool called "VOLT."

Nor is any of this specific to 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
> tools.

Again, how is this relevant?  It would be great if native files were
inter-operable, but that's a separate issue from their being part of the

> 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.

Then in those cases native files are not part of the source.  But in
other cases they are.

> 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.

How so?  I think the diff-related requirements are far more difficult.

> 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.

That's not true.  If I get a copy of the complete C source code of the
Linux kernel, I'm still free to compile it then edit it in a hex editor.
 I don't have to use all the parts of the source.  Similarly, even
though I received native files, I don't have to use them.

> 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.

This can be solved by requiring full source be distributed in response
to a written request.

Matt Flaschen

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