For approval: SIL Open Font License 1.1

Russ Nelson nelson at
Wed Nov 5 22:11:48 UTC 2008

Bruce Perens writes:
 >     The OFL allows the licensed fonts to be used, studied, modified and
 >     redistributed freely
 > Although we know between ourselves that you mean "libre", we can't 
 > expect the rest of the world to know that you don't mean "gratis". It 
 > will confuse them. Delete the word? This is more a neatness quibble than 
 > a strong complaint.

Disagree.  "Freely" is a fine word meaning "without reserve".  As in
"Freely Redistributable Software".

 >     as long as they are not sold by themselves. The
 >     fonts, including any derivative works, can be bundled, embedded, 
 >     redistributed and/or sold with any software
 > Only software? I can't for example, distribute the fonts as part of a 
 > disk full of documents that incorporate them by reference? This seems to 
 > me to be a pretty big problem.

Nahhhh.  It's a problem, sure, but it's a pretty small problem because
of "any software".

 > What if I started with "Lucida" and made a derivative called 
 > "Lucida-Munged". Would that be inpermissible?

It would be fine, by open source principles, if it were impermissible.
The map is not the territory, the name is not the thing.

 >     The fonts and derivatives,
 >     however, cannot be released under any other type of license.
 > This makes more sense if stated as "All fonts derived from this work 
 > must be under this license".

It's fine as is.

 >     requirement for fonts to remain under this license does not apply
 >     to any document created using the fonts or their derivatives.
 > So, if the font gets incorporated into a document, and I extract it from 
 > that document, I can now put it under any license I like? Better make 
 > that more clear.

I agree.  If you make a pile of bits copyable without license, they
remain so even if somebody modifies them back into a font.  Not sure
that's what you want to allow.

 >     contains the above copyright notice and this license. These can be
 >     included either as stand-alone text files, human-readable headers or
 >     in the appropriate machine-readable metadata fields within text or
 >     binary files as long as those fields can be easily viewed by the user.
 > please define a standard for where the license goes in the work.

Or at least fewer options.  I realize that you're trying not to
over-restrict people's freedom here, and that's good.  But by
definition standards are restrictions on people's freedom.  You can
tell how much people like standards because there are so many of them
-- and often for the same thing.  :-)

 > Our experience is that copyright holders die, etc.

Yes, you should make sure that people have a way to discover that the
copyright holder has lost interest.

 > This is repeating previous paragraphs. Please condense so that this is 
 > said once rather than twice.

Perhaps Bruce is right, and if so, you should take his advice, but we
don't weigh "quality of writing" as a part of compliance with the OSD.

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