Bonum Certa Men Certa

Contrasting Novell and Red Hat's Approaches Further

Recently, during his appearance at the CITI forum shortly after the Microvell agreement was announced, Novell's Stafford Masie went to great lengths to enumerate the different features in Novell's edition OpenOffice.org, including the addition of licensed AGFA fonts designed to match commonly used Microsoft fonts.
Enhanced Fonts: For the Novell Edition of OpenOffice.org, Novell licensed fonts from AGFA that use the same or similar names as the fonts available in Microsoft Office. The fonts also look similar to those used by Microsoft and have identical metrics. This allows OpenOffice.org to match fonts when opening documents originally composed in Microsoft Office, and very closely match pagination and page formatting.


Well, Red Hat has also seen the proprietary Microsoft fonts as an impediment to true interoperability, and has addressed the issue in true open-source fashion:
To address this issue and to take a key step toward liberating desktops, Red Hat contracted with Ascender Corp., one of the leading commercial developers of fonts, to develop a set of fonts that are metrically equivalent to the key Microsoft fonts. Under the terms of that development agreement, Ascender retains rights in the fonts and can provide them under a traditional proprietary license to those who require such a license, e.g. printers that have fonts embedded in their firmware, but Red Hat receives a license that permits us to sublicense the fonts at no cost under the GPL+font exception. ... You are free to use these fonts on any system you would like. You are free to redistribute them under the GPL+exception license found in the download. Using these fonts does not subject your documents to the GPL, it liberates them from any proprietary claim. Once you have installed these fonts, I encourage you to make them your default in Thunderbird, FireFox, and Open Office. Heck, for that matter make them your default in Microsoft Office, in Microsoft Windows, in Apple OSX, in anything your would like. In many applications you can set Times New Roman, Arial and Courier New to convert to these fonts.


So, how do you want your interoperability - free and unencumbered, or the Microvell way?

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