[tex-live] Re: License of fonts included in X.org sources

George White aa056 at chebucto.ns.ca
Sat Oct 22 14:01:53 CEST 2005

Quoting Reinhard Kotucha <reinhard.kotucha at web.de>:
> When Sebastian presented pdftex at Adobe, they had been amazed that
> pdftex can do things they cannot do with their own tools (I suppose
> that Hans Hagen provided some files).  This was years ago, but
> meanwhile Thanh provided many microtypographical extensions.
> If things evolve in the future as they did in the past, I suppose that
> pdftex is not good PR for Adobe, it's more likely that they regard
> pdftex as a competitor.

In the past, Adobe has fixed Reader bugs that were triggered by files 
created with TeX (encodings using ASCII NUL, although TeX responded to the bugs
with new encodings).  Enlightened software vendors understand very well that the
user community's investment in workflows forms the basis for long-term success. 
I suspect Adobe is happy to have the TeX community providing the tools to deal
with mathematical typesetting, as the commercial market is probably too small
in relation to the cost of developing/maintaining the tools.  

In my view, current intellectual property law misses the importance of the 
user community.  This creates a danger that users can loose their investment
in workflows through the demise of a vendor or outrageous price increases. 
While I don't think Adobe has immediate plans to cash out on PDF, history shows
that successful companies can fail (e.g., by ill-advised moves into areas where
they have no competence), leaving intellectual property in limbo, or be taken
over by groups who will grab the cash and run.

While there is currently little danger of Adobe doing anything to hurt pdftex
(and if pdftex was harmed as an unanticipated consequence of some other 
action, Adobe would probably work to resolve the problem), there is no
protection for pdftex from some unrelated business catastrophe.  In such an
event, pdftex users would be better off than users who rely entirely
on Adobe tools.  

George N. White III
Head of St. Margarets Bay, Nova Scotia

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