[nc] ubuntu-font-family-sources uses non-free build chain

Bug #777979 reported by Paul Sladen on 2011-05-05
This bug affects 1 person
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
Ubuntu Font Family

Bug Description

The Ubuntu Font Family is currently (2011-05) primarily developed using FontLab FontStudio (attempts were originally made to find a type-design studio that would be prepared to use FontForge):


For the Ubuntu Font Family, the preferred form of modification during the initial boot-strapping phase are the FontLab FontStudio .'vfb' files. Additionally other proprietary and/or free-as-in-beer applications are used during the build and signing process to generate the final OpenType '.ttf' files. Both source and pre-compiled binaries are distributed via http://font.ubuntu.com/ in order to assist those unable to rebuild the .ttf forms of the fonts in the typeface.

Debian has a policy that free software with a build-dependency on non-free software is not suitable for 'main' and should be placed in 'contrib', to ensure that 'main' has no dependency outside 'main'. This places the Ubuntu Font Family in the same category as some libre Flash/Shockwave software that also comes with full source but requires non-free software to rebuild, and software with documentation only in PDF format (but without LaTeX source).

Paul Sladen (sladen) on 2011-05-05
Changed in ubuntu-font-family:
importance: Undecided → Wishlist
status: New → Triaged
Changed in ubuntu-font-family:
importance: Wishlist → Critical
Nicolas Spalinger (yosch) wrote :

Can I suggest that you seriously look into UFO as a common open format for font sources? See http://unifiedfontobject.org/

Paul Sladen (sladen) wrote :

Nicolas: that would be excellent aspiration. Lets see if we can find a manageable part of the cake to do a test-run on (something that doesn't need manual hints carrying over).

summary: - ubuntu-font-family-sources uses non-free build chain
+ [nc] ubuntu-font-family-sources uses non-free build chain
Adolfo Jayme (fitojb) wrote :

Sources for the font family are nowadays in the UFO format.

Paul Sladen (sladen) wrote :

Thanks for spotting that Adolfo:


This is work that has been done over the summer by the excellent technical staff at Dalton Maag. To even get this far has also required many commits to other upstream font-related tooling.

There is still some tweaking to be done. The idea is to reach feature equivalence with the Ubuntu Font Family 0.831 .ttfs that were built with the previous method. Once this is validated and the diff between the output of the previous and new build systems is very close (ie. we can knowingly point to and document the known differences); this will become the new foundation.

It will then be possible to extract and re-apply (one branch/merge per fix) the bug-fixes that Dalton Maag have already been working on over the last year. This should hopefully also mean that the long-standing Semitic additions (Arabic and Hebrew) can be merged in a reliable fashion.

Nikolaus Waxweiler (madleser) wrote :

What's the state of this? I presume the font will continue to be used in 17.10 and on? Commits to the repository have stalled it seems?

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