[Openfontlibrary] new release of the Ubuntu titling font

Nicolas Spalinger nicolas_spalinger at sil.org
Thu Jan 3 02:09:28 PST 2008

> This is obviously my personal opinion, and I think that all the people
> involved with the Open Font Library at this stage ought to decide
> things in a democratic way. So I think we ought to establish some kind
> of legal infrastructure to appoint a leadership committee and identify
> genuine OFLB members and count votes over these issues.

I agree.

> Also, I'm aware of the Debian project having some good democratic
> tools to identify people and count votes, and processes for stating
> issues and voting on them. MJ Ray has a lot of experience about this,
> and he lives near me geographically so I hope to meet him face to face
> this month to discuss.

The Debian voting system is brilliant but IMHO may well be a bit too
complex to set up for our community at this stage. We need a trustworthy
*but* approachable system for designers.

I would recommend looking at web-based solutions like selectricity:

or maybe demexp:

> Nicolas Spalinger is also active in the Debian
> font project although I don't know if he's a "Debian Developer"
> officially. hope they'll explain some more about that stuff here, for
> those unfamiliar.

Yes, we have a fonts team in Debian (and a mirror team in Ubuntu), if
you haven't seen it already take a look at our website especially the
font review part:

Christian Perrier created the team and asked me to help coordinate it.
I'm not officially a Debian developer or a Debian maintainer (we'll see
about that later on) but the team has various prominent Debian
developers that mentor volunteers like me and help them get things done
to distribute the great work of our community.

Concerning the voting process it's the "Cloneproof Schwartz Sequential
Dropping" and it's described in the Debian constitution.

> The Software Freedom Law Center's light weight "Conservancy" seems an
> excellent way to go about the legal side:
> "The Software Freedom Conservancy is an organization composed of Free
> and Open Source Software (FOSS) projects. As a fiscal sponsor for FOSS
> projects, the Conservancy provides member projects with free financial
> and administrative services, but does not involve itself with
> technological and artistic decisions.
> By joining the Conservancy, member FOSS projects obtain the benefits
> of a formal legal structure while keeping themselves focused on
> software development. These benefits include, most notably, protection
> from personal liability for project developers. Another benefit of
> joining the Conservancy is that projects can use it to hold assets,
> which are managed by the Conservancy on behalf of and at the direction
> of the project. The Conservancy is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3)
> organization, so member projects can receive tax-deductible donations
> to the extent allowed by law. To make a donation to the Conservancy or
> to its member projects, please visit our donations page.
> If you think your FOSS project might benefit from joining the
> Conservancy, please contact us."
> -- http://conservancy.softwarefreedom.org/

I agree that this is a good thing. Let's do it.

> We would also get the ability to accept donations to the project, and
> the ability to seek legal advice from real lawyers about licensing
> issues such as this. Those 2 things in itself make joining the
> conservancy worthwhile IMO.
> On the other hand, we could appoint a benevolent dictator, like in the
> Linux Kernel and Python Language projects, which I guess at the moment
> is Jon Phillips ;-) I'm personally not keen on that, but if we the
> OFLB can't muster enough interest in democratic process, how else will
> we resolve such policy/political issues?

IIRC the initial father of the openfontlibrary idea is actually
Alexandre Prokoudine. (I'd also prefer a flat meritocratic kind of
process if possible).

Which reminds me of the dangling thread about organising an OFLB
schedule at the upcoming LGM: talks, workshops, etc.
Who's going to the next LGM? Should we fund more designers to be able to

Nicolas Spalinger

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