I have absolutely no idea ... so I went to Google to see what I could learn about the Fonts in Debian. There is a lot there to digest, but I found this Regarding the Bitstream Vera fonts to be interesting:
- I don't understand the resale restriction... What gives?
Bitstream is giving away these fonts, but wishes to ensure its competitors can't just drop the fonts as is into a font sale system and sell them as is. It seems fair that if Bitstream can't make money from the Bitstream Vera fonts, their competitors should not be able to do so either. You can sell the fonts as part of any software package, however.
- I want to package these fonts separately for distribution and sale as part of a larger software package or system. Can I do so?
Yes. A RPM or Debian package is a "larger software package" to begin with, and you aren't selling them independently by themselves. See 1. above.
Are derivative works allowed?
Can I change or add to the font(s)?
Yes, but you must change the name(s) of the font(s).
Under what terms are derivative works allowed?
You must change the name(s) of the fonts. This is to ensure the quality of the fonts, both to protect Bitstream and Gnome. We want to ensure that if an application has opened a font specifically of these names, it gets what it expects (though of course, using fontconfig, substitutions could still could have occurred during font opening). You must include the Bitstream copyright. Additional copyrights can be added, as per copyright law. Happy Font Hacking!
- If I have improvements for Bitstream Vera, is it possible they might get adopted in future versions?
Yes. The contract between the Gnome Foundation and Bitstream has provisions for working with Bitstream to ensure quality additions to the Bitstream Vera font family. Please contact us if you have such additions. Note, that in general, we will want such additions for the entire family, not just a single font, and that you'll have to keep both Gnome and Jim Lyles, Vera's designer, happy! To make sense to add glyphs to the font, they must be stylistically in keeping with Vera's design. Vera cannot become a "ransom note" font. Jim Lyles will be providing a document describing the design elements used in Vera, as a guide and aid for people interested in contributing to Vera, when he gets back from a well-deserved vacation.
- I want to sell a software package that uses these fonts: Can I do so?
Sure. Bundle the fonts with your software and sell your software with the fonts. That is the intent of the copyright.
- If applications have built the names "Bitstream Vera" into them, can I override this somehow to use fonts of my choosing?
This depends on exact details of the software. Most open source systems and software (e.g., Gnome, KDE, etc.) are now converting to use fontconfig (see www.fontconfig.org) to handle font configuration, selection and substitution; it has provisions for overriding font names and subsituting alternatives. An example is provided by the supplied local.conf file, which chooses the family Bitstream Vera for "sans", "serif" and "monospace". Other software (e.g., the XFree86 core server) has other mechanisms for font substitution.
from http://www.gnome.org/fonts/, which contains much useful information about these fonts that might be of interest.