[OpenFontLibrary] Site terminology: Free/Open/Libre

Dave Crossland dave at lab6.com
Tue May 12 15:19:49 PDT 2009


At the LGM2009 Nicolas and I had some discussions about the OFLB
terminology, and I thought I'd raise these points on the list for
wider discussion.

One of the terms was the Free/Open/Libre distinction. I have been
using the term "free fonts" or "free software fonts" in all my work,
including work on the OFLB, and likewise Nicolas has been doing the
same with the term "open fonts."

Nicolas feels strongly that the term "free" should not be used, as it
is too highly associated with freeware fonts, and ambiguity with the
"gratis" meaning causes too much confusion, so it should not be used
on the site.

I feel strongly that "open" is also confusing because it doesn't bring
to mind the primary goal, freedom, and this has concrete disadvantages
like not publishing source files.

He and I have been discussing this for at least 2 years, and it seems
we are unlikely to resolve this difference. We both agree that "libre"
solves both our problems, and although it introduces problems of its
own - it is not a native English word, and so the meaning must be
explained to most people - we are happy to focus on that term as a

Another alternative is to refer to our fonts as "FLOSS fonts" instead
of "libre fonts."

What do you think?


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