[Openfontlibrary] Some suggestions

Jon Phillips jon at rejon.org
Thu Dec 8 11:11:58 PST 2005

On Tue, 2005-12-06 at 01:00 +0000, Simos Xenitellis wrote:
> Dear All,
> It's a bit late here, so apologies for the bullet point layout :(.
> 1. It is important for the Open Font project to include fonts that are 
> covered with a Free (as in Freedom) license, or at least distinguish 
> between free and freeware.

This is a very unclear area and we need to discuss much more, as to how
font licenses/copyright works in the USA and other countries, pick a
license and move forward.

> 2. It is not good to distribute fonts individually as TTF files but as 
> an archive (such as ZIP, 7Z, TGZ), because they should include some license.

Aha...I need to familiarize myself with font standards more. Is there a
way to include the license and any metadata in current font formats? I
think providing a package, or multiple compressed packages per font is a
great idea.

> 3. Public domain fonts do not provide freedom (a la FSF), they are bad :)

We debated this for Open Clip Art Library extensively in considering
that we wanted people to be able to do anything with the fonts. I wonder
if Open Font Library would benefit from allowing multiple different
license types. My propensity however is to pick one good license and
plow forward.

> 4. The GPL is not an appropriate license for fonts, see
> http://fsf.org/licensing/licenses/gpl-faq.html#FontException

Right. Plus, it would be good for people to make money off their fonts
if they would like.

> 5. A new license is being drafted, the Open Font License, by SIL 
> (www.sil.org). FSF will be pitching on this license, see
> http://openlists.sil.org/archives/ofl-discuss/2005-November/000025.html
> If all goes ok, we will have a proper brand new free license for fonts. 
> If someone has a font they want to make free, they can simply add the 
> Open Font License in the package and there they go.

I work for Creative Commons and am forwarding talk about this new
license along. I *really* would like CC to get involved in this space.

> 6. The Open Font License is available at
> http://scripts.sil.org/OFL


> There is a discussion mailing list at
> http://openlists.sil.org/mailman/listinfo/ofl-discuss
> There is lots of material to read here.

Yes, so much to think about.

> 7. The Open Font License uses the initials OFL, which clashes with the 
> Open Font Library.
> It might look a bit marketing-y on my side, I would feel that it would 
> be better to change Library to something like Repository, as in
> Open Font Repository (OFR).
> This would mean a few more bucks to register the new domain name and 
> some administration work. Would this be ok with you? Please?

I dunno...Keeping Open Font Library coincides with Open Clip Art
Library. I think it would be better to just not use the acronym as we
have done with Open Clip Art Library.

> 8. SIL (www.sil.org) will be publishing high quality fonts as OFL soon. 
> Actually, Gentium (http://scripts.sil.org/Gentium) is already available!


> 9. If a font is Free (as in Freedom), you can easily use a program 
> script to convert to SVG or embedd in a document and do so many things.


> It is an important initiative to make a public collection of Free fonts.

I completely agree! Plus, we have the affiliation of freedesktop.org
which is vital for X and FLOSS support of good fonts for the desktop.


Jon Phillips

San Francisco, CA
USA PH 510.499.0894
jon at rejon.org

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Inkscape (http://inkscape.org)
Open Clip Art Library (www.openclipart.org)
Creative Commons (www.creativecommons.org)
San Francisco Art Institute (www.sfai.edu)

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