[tex-live] OCR-B fonts

Karl Berry karl at freefriends.org
Sat Dec 18 23:46:56 CET 2010

      2. It is given to free non commercial use, but it may be

No selling => clearly nonfree.  ocrb is not in TL.

    (In Germany there even exists an industrial
     standard - DIN ????? - that describes the typefaces.
     Based on such material the input has been developed.)

In general, when a work is developed independently from public specs
like that, it cannot infringe copyright of another work.  And in this
specific case, when something has a public spec like this, presumably
the intent is to allow for independent implementations, and not grant a
monopoly to Adrian Frutiger for his particular OCR-B.

    1. Is the original license OK so that I can distribute PFB files
    created from them (mftrace runs metafont + potrace + fontforge)

You can surely distribute them under the same terms as the mf fonts,
which is fine for CTAN.

    2. What kind of free license will suit best to these Type1 fonts?

Using anything except the license of the original mf's is dubious.  One
could make an argument for being allowed to change the license, but that
will just induce questions.  I wouldn't go there.

    3. What is the proper place on CTAN where I should put it? The fonts
    directory already contains the ocr-b directory with the MF sources.

Well, Robin could answer more definitively, but I'd suggest

    4. Is someone willing to prepare higher quality OCR-B in Type-1 and
    possibly OpenType (with hinting etc)?

If someone wants to go that far, may I suggest that it would be even
more useful to develop a free ocr-b font from scratch (presumably from
the same specs) in OpenType, which is easy enough to convert to Type1
using fontforge.  Then it could be included in TL.

Another possibility would be to try to contact Norbert Schwarz and see
if he would be willing to use a free license.  


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