Free Fonts and the Zen of the Open Font License
By Dave Crossland

The Open Font License is a curious beast, neither fish nor fowl: Simple, yet specific to a particular kind of work; Restricts selling, yet approved by FSF and OSI; Copyleft, yet widely adopted by proprietary-licensing-minded companies. In this talk, learn about the origin of this peculiar license, key terms, the factors driving it's enduring popularity, and the future of libre font licensing.

Monday 11 a.m.–11:30 a.m.

You can have a computer interface or a web page without video playback, or even color, but it's almost impossible to interact with a computer without text. Fonts are fundamental.

And yet they have a number of unique properties that separate and distinguish them from regular programs. This means licenses written for software or cultural freedom are typically unsuitable if applied to fonts.

Many font licenses have been written to address this, and some are even tailor made for a specific project and not widely useful.

But one is far and away the most popular: The SIL Open Font License. This copyleft license had been chosen by Microsoft, Adobe, IBM, Mozilla, Google, and dozens of font companies and hundreds of individual typeface designers.

What's up with that?

Dave Crossland

I free fonts.