For approval: SIL Open Font License 1.1

Nicolas Spalinger nicolas_spalinger at
Sun Nov 9 19:47:28 UTC 2008

Bruce Perens wrote:
> Matthew Flaschen wrote:
>> It's arbitrary, but not impractical.  It's quite easy to add software,
>> especially because other fonts are included in the software category.

> One of the key goals for Open Source was that people would be able to
> use it - just use it - without having to consult a lawyer.
> Unfortunately it's really hard to use a font in a document without distributing it.
> And in this case we have one way of distributing the font that's OK -
> embedded in the document, and one that's not OK - aside the document.
> And we are expecting the user - rather than a Linux distribution company
> - to get those right.

You talk about using then you talk about redistributing... Care to
define what you mean?

Have you studied how other licenses deal with the embedding problems?
What are your thoughts on that? Why do you think the experimental GPL
font exception was written then? How clear and trustworthy do you find
the language of that exception (with it's "may" "might" "at your option")?

Do you really distribute fonts with each document you sent? That's a
very surprising analysis. A vast majority of the time it's simply a
reference to a font. Embedding - as in including part of the fonts in a
PDF document - is not the same as distributing it as a whole i.e. a
reusable fully functional font.

Again you can redistribute, propagate the font to others, but *if you
sell it* then don't sell it on its own, a model which works already for
the major distro repositories.

> Are you sure that doesn't sound impractical?

With a clear distribution clause and a model which satisfies the
cultural needs of the actual producers of the fonts we are already
improving on the situation for many users. We can't rely on MS' core web
fonts or some foundry donations only, the FLOSS community and many
language communities have much wider needs. We are working on a common
open font set available throughout the free desktop and on other
platforms too. Surely that's improving the practicality of using fonts.

>    Thanks
>    Bruce

Nicolas Spalinger, NRSI volunteer

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