[Pkg-fonts-devel] Open Font License 1.1-review2 available

Nicolas Spalinger nicolas_spalinger at sil.org
Tue Nov 28 11:11:24 CET 2006

>> This is a huge achievement. I'm really enthusiast about the progress
>> made possible by OFL when it comes at propoer font licensing issues.
> After reading MJ Ray's recent blog post and even though I often
> disagree with MJ on many issues, I would be less enthusiast...:-)

Be aware that MJ Ray's post refers to ambiguities found in the earlier
version of the OFL and that the thread dates back to January. Since
then, there has been other threads there and other opinions expressed,
along with various other discussions and consultations elsewhere outside
of Debian and as a result new review versions of the OFL published.

See the following webpages for details:

Many other reviewers in the community including Jim Gettys, Raph Levien
and Denis Jacquerye from Dejavu have explained that the name change
requirement is a desirable feature for fonts and that so-called
"ready-to-eat" derivatives are problematic. A branch should identify
itself as such and not masquerade itself as something else to the user.
The font name protection is a key feature of the OFL to guaranty
artistic integrity to a font designer and actually make him consider
releasing his work under a free license.

Various other project-specific font licenses have a similar mechanism
and are well accepted in Debian. I'm sure you will agree that we don't
want a new license for every font and that a common community-validated
readable and re-usable font license is much better.

Look at this recent thread for example:

The name-related requirements are actually stronger than the ones in the
current OFL review and it seems to be fine!

If "compatibility and configuration" means breaking the user's documents
and ignoring the requirements for artistic integrity the vast majority
of designers have then this is not what I call maintainership and good
relationships with upstream.

We're confident that the OFL 1.1-review2 fixes some ambiguities in this
area but the working model stays the same like it needs to. The model
allows for wide distribution and branching while retaining artistic

> It seems that some people have issues with OFL being DFSG-compliant or
> not.

Yes, and we have been looking into their concerns and released OFL
1.1-review2 as a result.

But the ftp-masters team *have decided in favor of the OFL* and so we
have various open fonts currently in the archive and more underway.

> I'm not that deeply involved, not interested, in -legal stuff, but
> these things should be examined more closely for the future.

I agree that, more often than not, the licensing discussions get a bit
out of hand and we loose sight of the actual goals while imagining all
the possible scenarios and re-interpreting every word but we're
certainly willing to discuss the remaining issues some DDs have.

> That actually motivates a talk or BOF about OFL in Debconf even more.

Yep. I'll start getting things organized and let you all know.

Nicolas Spalinger

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