Can I suggest a client to use Google's Roboto - free of charge?

chesterr's picture

Dear Typophile.

I need a typeface that is free to install on many computers, so everybody in the office can use it. I see that Google's Roboto is under "the apache license" - http://www.fontsquirrel.com/fonts/roboto#eula.

I'm unsure if that means that they're allowed to use Roboto as their main typeface.

Do you know?

- Chester

riccard0's picture

Please, not Roboto: http://typographica.org/2011/on-typography/roboto-typeface-is-a-four-hea...

By now there are plenty of SIL (or equivalent) licensed typefaces out there.

Si_Daniels's picture

>By now there are plenty of SIL

Assume you mean OFL?

I would look at the Google font directory for a relatively well curated set of open source fonts.

Cheers, Si

Khaled Hosny's picture

Apache license is a very permissive license, you can basically do whatever you want to the font, including modification and distribution of modified versions as long as attribution is maintained: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apache_License#Licensing_conditions

riccard0's picture

Assume you mean OFL?

Yes, of course :-)

BlueStreak's picture

Sorry, but I just can't resist saying domo arigato Mr. Roboto!

Richard Fink's picture

The only serious restriction in the Apache license - and I don't think it would apply here - is the name "Roboto" If you want to make a changed version and market it, the name needs to be different from Roboto.

Other than that, you can do anything you like. Unfortunately, open-source licenses aren't any shorter or less boring than proprietary licenses but I'd give it a quick once-over just in case.

chesterr's picture

Thank you all for responding - that was very helpful.

abattis's picture

Richard Fink, that's incorrect. The SIL OFL has the OPTION to restrict the use of 'upstream' names, and while it is almost always used, it is optional. In my personal opinion Google is likely to use that option if it asserts a trademark on the name. Perhaps it does, I don't know.

Chester, yes they can use Roboto as their main typeface; however, since the font is under active development, you'll want to make sure they stay up to date with the latest and greatest versions (and keep in mind that this may reflow their documents. I also note that it seems to me that no official release has been made, only an early copy bundled with a programmers toolkit for development/prototyping by programmers - and that version has been spread all over the place, like to FontSquirrel.

Si_Daniels's picture

>I also note that it seems to me that no official release has been made, only an early copy bundled with a programmers toolkit for development/prototyping by programmers - and that version has been spread all over the place, like to FontSquirrel.

Dave, less with the angst - this is the libre way, roll with it. :-)

abattis's picture

Haha Sii :) I personally like and promote 'release early, release often'; my work to fund ttfautohint was driven by me wanting to remove a real and practical hinderance to doing so, since for as long as hinting is required for web fonts to be broadly useful, and hinting remains an expensive and hand-made piece of post production, then this way of designing isn't all that practical unless you have deep pockets - or like to do hinting ;) However, plenty of people have been complaining about the first publicly available version of Roboto, and I think its important to be aware of this in the context of choosing it as a house style type.

Richard Fink's picture

@abattis

>Richard Fink, that's incorrect.

Thank's for the correction. If I am, or was, indeed, under the wrong impression about the Apache license. Or are we not talking about the Apache license?
I lose track, quite frankly.

>However, plenty of people have been complaining about the
>first publicly available version of Roboto, and I think its
>important to be aware of this in the context of choosing it
>as a house style type.

You mean somebody else besides me complains? Well, certainly not about Roboto.
It's fine with me. But here, I've lost track again - what's hinting got to do with it?

Richard Fink
Blog: Readable Web
Type Director: Kernest/Konstellations

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