Subject: Re: ms-ttf: get rid of license and upload restrictions and move font files
To: Thomas Klausner <>
From: Greg Troxel <>
List: tech-pkg
Date: 12/21/2004 07:30:05
  IANAL, but this seems ok to me.

I went to doc/pkgsrc.txt (1.10) to read the documented criteria for
deciding that a license is acceptable.  It was vague at best, or
perhaps I didn't find the right section.

There are two issues, which are related.
One is

  Some licenses restrict how software may be re-distributed. In order
  to satisfy these restrictions, the package system defines five make
  variables that can be set to note these restrictions:

and the other is

   A package may underly a license which the user has or has not
   agreed to accept.  Usually, packages that underly well-known Open
   Source licenses (e.g. the GNU Public License, GPL) won't have any
   special license tags added in pkgsrc which require special action
   by the user of such packages, but there are quite a number of other
   licenses out there that pkgsrc users may not be able to follow, for
   whatever reasons. For these cases, pkgsrc contains a mechanism to
   note that a package underlies a certain license, and the user has
   to accept the license before the package can be installed.

These are really both licensing issues, but perhaps different aspects.

In my view, the ms-ttf license is non-free becaues it prohibits
including it on a cd-rom that someone is selling, and it would also
prohibit a company that develops a NetBSD-based system from installing
it on systems they ship.

Thus, I would like warning before even building this package.

Perhaps RESTRICTED= is supposed to be useful for this, but it fails to
cover the range of semantics.  The ms-ttf bits, either 'source'
tarball or 'binary' package, are apparently not restricted from FTP or
CDROM in general, but may not be redistributed "for profit".  Thus,
until RESTRICTED can express this, I think this package needs all four
restrictions, unless there is a notion that FTP means only anonymous

pkgsrc docs don't explain (that I found) how one expresses which
restrictions are unacceptable, and how to override them on a
per-package basis.   This seems to be what licenses are for.

A larger issue is what licenses should be acceptable by default, so
that people making packages and those using pkgsrc have a common
understanding.  This could either be an explicit list, or simply
saying that all licenses approved either by FSF or OSI are acceptable.
The ms-ttf license does not permit distributing derivative works, and
thus may or may not permit distributing a binary pkg even if it really
just has the same files.

Perhaps packages like ms-ttf could be set up to install without
requiring an ACCEPTABLE_LICENSES=+ line, but not be packaged, since it
seems installation/use is without restriction.
(Does pkg_tarup check license restrictions?  It seems they are only
checked by the normal path.)

I realize this is all a pain, but I consider it a major feature that
pkgsrc won't build/install non-free software for me without obtaining

So, I am not in favor to Jeremy's patch.

        Greg Troxel <>