[Openfontlibrary] Public Domain?
dave at lab6.com
Tue Nov 14 18:23:38 PST 2006
On 15/11/06, Jon Phillips <jon at rejon.org> wrote:
> Ok, final call. So it sounds like we are moving forward on using only
> the Open Font License and not using public domain, as it is too
> problematic internationally. Is this correct?
> Final thoughts
A quick report of my 8 reasons for a pure OFL OFLB:
0. A single licensing option implies clarity of vision for the
1. While this discussion has been going on, Ed Trager has released his
'Go for OFL!' campaign - http://www.unifont.org/go_for_ofl/ - which we
would do well to support, especially because of...
2. ...the coincidental namespace - Open Font Li* - is a bonus - people
will remember one from the other, if their link is emphasised (a good
memetic trait, worth exploiting)
3. OFL is designed to be attractive for designers and free software
advocates; PD and even GPL are notoriously unattractive for designers.
4. Since currently the only OFL fonts are high quality, requiring OFL
will set a bar of typographic quality (* this idea of 'quality' is a
good example of how fonts are different to clip art, and how the
typophile culture is worlds apart from the free software culture)
5. Other websites already list Free Fonts under a variety of licenses
6. The Free Font Movement lacks a center for a development community.
The OFLB can become that center! But it needs...
7. ...License Solidarity. License proliferation retards development,
and the wider Free Software movement is heading for more license
solidariry with GPLv3 and Sun's recent *substantial* GPLv2
8. There are few substantial fonts released in the Public Domain
already, and PD status means its easy to relicense them as OFL to fall
I've popped this into the wiki at
and notied Raph's small essay on "Common sense vs Legalism":
-- 8< --
It is said that if you want seven different opinions, ask four economists.
The same principle applies to discussions of free and open source
licenses. A common sense approach says that licenses are chosen just
as much, or more, to indicate community and intentions, as to what
lawyers would say about them.
Public domain release, for the most part, indicates a lack of caring
about what happens to the font (or whatever) after it's released.
Further, there is no cohesive Public Domain community. That's every
bit as important a reason to dislike the Public Domain as questions
about the legal status.
The single best thing in favor of the Open Font License is that the
community forming around it cares deeply about type, about quality,
and has a special emphasis on global availability. The existing body
of OFL fonts are generally of premium quality, or nearly so.
A very specific reason to unify on a single license is to allow free
cut and pasting between fonts, especially for stuff like accents and
special characters. If there is a good library of such things
available, that should help people get a head start on creating a font
with full glyph coverage, as well as help expand fonts quickly into
even more ranges, such as Vietnamese.
-- 8< --
> and then we
> are off and running (which means we need to accelerate our support for
> this license with CC metadata.
Yes, though that discussion is currently stalled, over how to tersely
express the OFL's terms as keywords for URLs, I believe.
I'll repost it in a new thread to bring more attention to it.
> Thanks Karl and Dave for bearing with us all on this :) I personally am
> quite slow :)
Me too :-)
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