OFL-FAQ update draft and web fonts paper

gaultney's picture

Many of you are interested in issues surrounding open font licensing, so you may be interested in how the SIL Open Font License can be used in a web fonts world. There are some difficult issues, but after months of discussion with various industry representatives, we've come to some conclusions.

Nicolas Spalinger and I, the maintainers of the SIL Open Font License, have posted a draft of an update to the OFL-FAQ (1.1-update3-draft). Although there are many small clarifications and refinements from version 1.1-update2, the main addition is a greatly expanded section related to web fonts. There is also a related discussion paper on Web Fonts and Reserved Font Names that deals with those issues in even more detail. Comments and feedback are welcome.


We hope this helps to bring clarity to some of the many difficult issues related to web fonts and Reserved Font Names.


Victor Gaultney
SIL International

Thomas Phinney's picture

I do not understand why EOT would not be okay if WOFF is okay, for precisely the same reasons. Please explain why.

gaultney's picture

What I say in the web fonts paper is:

EOT was one of the earliest web font formats and did not initially support all of what is needed to preserve FE. However, more recent changes in both the format and supporting development tools may provide what is needed. Deeper technical analysis of this is needed before a judgment can be made about this format.

Until recently, the only EOT tools available made considerable changes to the font, including removing some important key data, and the tools did not allow otherwise. The WOFF format and tools, however, can be used in ways that preserve FE (Functional Equivalence).

I suspect that these limitations on EOT, however, may no longer be in place given the right tools. I have no conclusive evidence or examples of this, or that show that EOT fonts can be built in a way that preserves FE. Hence our decision to not take a stand either way for now.

We would very much welcome a clear but thorough technical explanation that shows that FE can (or cannot) be preserved, and would happily add that as an appendix to the web fonts paper. It would need to show specifically how to preserve FE when building EOTs, so that developers can get it right in their tools and build systems. Submissions welcome!

Thomas Phinney's picture

What particular "key data" was removed? Can you give some examples (or an exhaustive list)?

I think Si Daniels would be the person to be in touch with on this.

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