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Banner mistake for The Open Source Way website

One of the goals of writing a community how-to book was to write it by a community using the methods described in the book. This includes using 100% free and open source software to create and maintain the book, do the work of the community, and run the web presences. Of course, the source for the book itself needs to be 100% free and open, including the graphics such as the website banner. And I thought it was, but I made a mistake.

If you’ve redistributed that website banner in any way, you must read on.

When we got the final banner for the website from the creative team at Red Hat, I wrote back asking for assurance that the components of the banner were freely reusable and redistributable so we could put the work under the CC BY SA 3.0 Unported license with the rest of the content. This idea naturally covers the fonts used – they must be free fonts or the whole image is not redistributable and remixable.

Today I was clearing out some old email and discovered a reply from the creative team to my request from March of 2010, with a new banner SVG file attached. The original banner, which was in use until just a short bit ago on, was using the non-free Interstate font. This new banner, now in use, uses the free and open Liberation font.

So I’ve updated the source files in the project’s git repository and I’ve updated the website itself.

Now the only concern is if anyone else has actually redistributed this banner under the expectation that it was OK to do so.

I made an honest mistake in that I am not very good at distinguishing between fonts, so I didn’t recognize that this was a non-free font. I also made the sloppy mistake of not seeing the follow-up from the designers, who did the right thing by all of us. While I’m sure I had the rights to use Interstate under Red Hat’s license, I probably didn’t have the rights to redistribute the image for remixing and further redistribution. It’s not that the file contains the actual font itself, just sixteen English letters of it in a scalable-vector graphic (SVG) file. I’m sorry and hope it causes no further troubles.

If you think you might have redistributed that banner or remixed then redistributed any images based on that banner, please contact me (directly via email or in the comments below.) I want to make sure you get the updated source files and that we follow-up with anyone else who might have the incorrect images in use.