Open-source typefaces

Chris Dean's picture

Please help compile a list of open-source typefaces.

I just came across this on twitter:

Open Baskerville

Feel free to contribute. See what I did there? “feel free.” Ah? Yes?

Richard Fink's picture

The Droid fonts were "professionally" done - commisioned by Google. Released under the Apache license.

hrant's picture

I know. Same with Roboto. Reynir's list is what I was wondering about.

hhp

Chris Dean's picture

@Dan Gayle: “The URW++ fonts.”
I gave the site a look. Can you be more specific?

Té Rowan's picture

Correction for last night's braino...

Typeface:    Jivita
Fonts:       4: Rg/RgI/Bd/BdI
Foundry:     Association for Insight Meditation
Home:        http://www.softerviews.org/
Version:     1.30
Format:      TTF
Licensing:   GPL
Designer:    Bhikkhu Pesala
Description: Sans-serif, dash of Eurostile, rest crazy weird
Té Rowan's picture

Waal, man, rustlin' Injuns is wrathly unenlightened.

gargoyle's picture

Full update to the AIM list... two faces dropped

Hmm, what's up with that? One of the two fonts, Carita, seemed to be a quality digitization of Carolus, which is commercially unavailable and comes up periodically on the Type ID board (most recent thread here). The only reason given by the AIM fonts website: "Carita and Hattha were withdrawn as they will no longer be updated to match my other fonts." They also request others not to host or redistribute their fonts, which seems contradictory to the GNU license under which they're released.

gargoyle's picture

@Chris: I assume Dan was referring to the Ghostscript fonts that were contributed to the project by URW.

quadibloc's picture

@Té Rowan:
Since redistribution of Jivita is not allowed, it may be free, but it isn't open-source.

altsan's picture

@gargoyle / @Chris : There are two sets of URW++ open source fonts. The Ghostscript fonts are available under either GPL or AFPL; the GhostPCL fonts are AFPL only, which is technically open source but not copyleft (as it restricts commercial use).

A while ago I put some PDF samples of the two URW++ sets together. Might as well link them here.
GPL Ghostscript fonts: http://www.altsan.org/fontinfo/urw_ps.pdf
AFPL GhostPCL fonts: http://www.altsan.org/fontinfo/urw_pcl.pdf

Té Rowan's picture

I am going with the assumption that by 'his fonts', Pesala means the unmodified files as downloaded from softerviews, so were I to rename them, they'd be my fonts (and my responsibility) thereafter. And with Carita officially paid off, it's open to forking by anyone willing to shower it with TLC and updates.

hrant's picture

it's open to forking

There are at least two reasons not to be so cavalier:
1) The "designer" (using the term loosely - see #2) apparently doesn't want you to.
2) It's based on a design that's not necessarily an orphan: http://typophile.com/node/98434

BTW, it's not really "your font" unless you made it yourself. And even then you owe the people who came before you.

hhp

Té Rowan's picture

Remember, Carita's base licence is the GPL. And the GPL springs out of Hacker Tradition. Pesala asks elsewhere that if you modify and re-release the font(s), that you change the name as well.

Ya gotta read all of the FAQ.

Karl Stange's picture

And the GPL springs out of Hacker Tradition

This Hacker Tradition? : )

hrant's picture

Reynir, I fail to see how you addressed either of my two points.

hhp

abattis's picture

the GhostPCL fonts are AFPL only, which is technically open source but not copyleft (as it restricts commercial use).

I'm pretty sure you'll find that a restriction on commercial use means its not open source any way you look at it.

Té Rowan's picture

@Karl – The Jargon File and other docs at http://www.catb.org/~esr/ document the Hacker Tradition much better than I ever could.

@hrant – Point #2 is currently extraneous, as far as OSity is concerned. Point #1: Pesala can only request that others not cache his fonts. The GPL disallows otherwise. RTFL.

hrant's picture

OSity? I thought we were talking about Carita.

Pesala can request anything he wants, and you can do anything you want. Choose wisely.

hhp

quadibloc's picture

I don't think that the GPL disallows trademark rights, even if it disallows patent rights. Look at the case of CentOS and Scientific Linux vis-a-vis Red Hat Enterprise Linux, for example.

Thus, "you can do anything you want", if one excludes things one would do which would create criminal or civil liability, is not strictly true.

hrant's picture

I didn't say there are no consequences! :-)
What I meant was that the way Pesala wants us to treat his work should at least be taken under advisement.

hhp

Té Rowan's picture

/me rolls eyes.

OSity = Open Source status.

That been said, it shall also be said that it's most important that you research the licence(s) from primary (at most secondary) sources. Those expecting me to be a competent source are so far beyond lost that even the Hubble Space Telescope couldn't find them. So there.

abattis's picture

lol Té :)

Aharonium's picture

I have compiled a font pack of open source licensed Unicode Hebrew script fonts. The font pack is available here.

Most of the fonts in the font pack are licensed with the SIL OFL, GPL, or GPL+FE, although there are some other less well known licenses in there as well. Enjoy!

hrant's picture

Are any of them under the Apache license?

hhp

hrant's picture

http://typographica.org/features/our-favorite-typefaces-of-2012/
So, out of 54 selections there are a whopping total of... one open-source fonts. And that's by Adobe! "It's an evil Font Mafia CONSPIRACY, I tell you!!"

hhp

Chris Dean's picture

Nice catch. I didn’t have time to read that in full today.

Té Rowan's picture

Managed to get my inner densha-otaku to give up the notch for long enough that I could do a rough write-up of what's new/updated at CAT Design:

Typeface:    Alpha54
Fonts:       1: Rg
Foundry:     CAT Design
Home:        http://peter-wiegel.de/
Version:     2.000
Format:      TTF
Licensing:   GPLfx,OFL
Designer:    Konrad F. Bauer, Walter Baum, Peter Wiegel
Description: Italic brush writing

Typeface:    Beta54
Fonts:       1: Rg
Foundry:     CAT Design
Home:        http://peter-wiegel.de/
Version:     2.000
Format:      TTF
Licensing:   GPLfx,OFL
Designer:    Konrad F. Bauer, Walter Baum, Peter Wiegel
Description: Oblique brush serif

Typeface:    Bienchen SAS
Fonts:       2: Rg/RgI
Foundry:     CAT Design
Home:        http://peter-wiegel.de/
Version:     0.000
Format:      TTF
Licensing:   GPLfx,OFL
Designer:    Peter Wiegel
Description: East German school handwriting

Typeface:    Boecklins Universe
Fonts:       1: Rg
Foundry:     CAT Design
Home:        http://peter-wiegel.de/
Version:     1.000
Format:      TTF
Licensing:   OFL
Designer:    Peter Wiegel
Description: Multilingual Boecklin.

Typeface:    Deutsche Normalschrift
Fonts:       2: Rg/RgI (Italic is alternates)
Foundry:     CAT Design
Home:        http://peter-wiegel.de/
Version:     0.000
Format:      TTF
Licensing:   GPLfx,OFL
Designer:    Peter Wiegel
Description: First Latin-style schoolhand in Germany

Typeface:    Gotisch Weiss UNZ1A
Fonts:       2: Rg/RgI (Italic is Antiqua caps and alternates)
Foundry:     CAT Design
Home:        http://peter-wiegel.de/
Version:     ?
Format:      TTF
Licensing:   ?
Designer:    Emil Rudolf Weiss, Peter Wiegel
Description: Blackletter, Dürer feel.

Typeface:    Imrans School
Fonts:       2: Rg/RgI
Foundry:     CAT Design
Home:        http://peter-wiegel.de/
Version:     000.000
Format:      TTF
Licensing:   GPLfx,OFL
Designer:    Peter Wiegel
Description: Latin schoolhand for an NP project in India

Typeface:    Imrans School 2
Fonts:       2: Rg/RgI (Italic is alternates)
Foundry:     CAT Design
Home:        http://peter-wiegel.de/
Version:     000.000
Format:      TTF
Licensing:   GPLfx,OFL
Designer:    Peter Wiegel
Description: Latin schoolhand for an NP project in India

Typeface:    Ottilie U1AY
Fonts:       1: Rg
Foundry:     CAT Design
Home:        http://peter-wiegel.de/
Version:     1.000
Format:      TTF
Licensing:   OFL
Designer:    Uwe Naumann, Peter Wiegel
Description: Kurrent handwriting, pen-style

Typeface:    Rastenburg U1SY
Fonts:       6: Rg/Bd, Schraeg(Rg/Bd), Outline(Rg), Band(Rg)
Foundry:     CAT Design
Home:        http://peter-wiegel.de/
Version:     0.000
Format:      TTF
Licensing:   GPLfx,OFL
Designer:    Peter Wiegel
Description: Kurrent handwriting, round marker

Typeface:    Rastenburg Band
Fonts:       1: Rg
Foundry:     CAT Design
Home:        http://peter-wiegel.de/
Version:     1.000
Format:      TTF
Licensing:   GPLfx,OFL
Designer:    Peter Wiegel
Description: Outlined Rastenburg with minuscules on a black band

Typeface:    Simple Print
Fonts:       1: Rg
Foundry:     CAT Design
Home:        http://peter-wiegel.de/
Version:     000.000
Format:      TTF
Licensing:   GPLfx,OFL
Designer:    Peter Wiegel
Description: School block writing

Typeface:    Tartlers End
Fonts:       1: Rg?
Foundry:     CAT Design
Home:        http://peter-wiegel.de/
Version:     ?
Format:      VFB
Licensing:   OFL
Designer:    Peter Wiegel
Description: Very thin serif, bit of a hippy
hrant's picture

Still no Apache?

hhp

Té Rowan's picture

Naw. Weigel prefers dualling the GPL with font exception with the OFL. No idea if he knows of Apache or BSD, or if they even suit his model.

Té Rowan's picture

Seems that Google is changing UI fonts again, this time to the Noto Sans/Serif bought in from Monotype; and that they're relicensing the ChromeOS Core fonts as Apache, probably to have all of their fonts under the same licence.

hrant's picture

Go Google! Respect.

They might have realized what I recently realized: Apache is more magnanimous, more inclusive, more socially just, more open than something like OFL.

In any case it no longer makes sense to cast Apache as a deprecated has-been.

Related:
http://typophile.com/node/99972
http://www.typophile.com/node/101655

hhp

chrisburton's picture

It would be great if there was a site to publish this list to that was categorized and had a search function.

Té Rowan's picture

The list is WTFPL'd -- you can do Whatever The F* you want with it.

Edit: The ChromeOS set was Google's only non-Apache-licensed set, if I recall correctly.

hrant's picture

?
Aren't most Google fonts OFL (or equivalent)?

hhp

Té Rowan's picture

When I think of Google's Own fonts, I think of those fonts whose copyright Google holds; mainly the Android and ChromeOS fonts.

Aside: Noto looks to me like an updated Droid.

hrant's picture

Same here, although Matteson says it's a "renaming of Open Sans".

hhp

vernon adams's picture

Can someone call Mathew Butterick to the forum please before it's too late? Folks are not using the term 'open source' correctly. Civillisation as we know it could be in peril.

hrant's picture

The only gray area in my own mind is whether to restrict the term "open-source" to fonts that could have been entirely produced with free* software. From what I can tell this is why some people don't feel Source Sans is open-source. The alternative is to call a font open-source as long as you don't need permission to distribute a modification. So maybe we need a different term for the former: opener-source. :-)

* Or does it have to be open-source too? :-)

hhp

Té Rowan's picture

Noto Sans does look a good deal like Open Sans, but Noto Serif looks a right big lot like Droid Serif.

Personally, I do not care if others use payware tools or not; as long as I can use and hack on something to my heart's content and give/sell the result to others, I consider that something open source. To me, a TTF/OTF file is tokenised source, such as GWBASIC would normally save.

Karl Stange's picture

I doubt that anyone is looking to this thread for a definition of what open source is and is not in the larger world (apologies if you are). At best this serves as a useful discussion of the limiting factors of applying a philosophical model that was never conceived of to address the needs of type designers and font users. The OFL was conceived of to try and address the needs of designers, developers and users that wanted an open model which prevented restrictions, removed some of the ambiguity inherent in applying established licensing models (to something for which they were not intended) and promoted the underlying philosophy, without worrying about commercial considerations.

Perhaps this could lead to another custom license, following the Apache model but focusing on type/fonts? The Typophile Apache Licence (TAL), anyone? : )

hrant's picture

I can dig that.
So exactly how does the existing Apache model not serve type well?

hhp

Karl Stange's picture

So exactly how does the existing Apache model not serve type well?

If you are using it and happy with it then I suppose that it does, but as it is not explicitly designed around type and the ways that type can be used then it is possible that it will fall short in some respect. I suppose that interpretation of section 3. 'Grant of Patent License' is confusing enough that I would not be comfortable taking advantage of it in a commercial capacity unless I was clear on the lineage of the typeface and the contributions made to it, basically, I would want to know where it had been.

Té Rowan's picture

My inner tetsu-ota found something to bounce all over his padded cell over:

Typeface:    5by7
Fonts:       2: Rg/Bd
Foundry:     CAT Design
Home:        http://peter-wiegel.de/
Version:     ?
Format:      TTF
Licensing:   OFL
Designer:    Peter Wiegel
Description: Proportional matrix L/G/C font based on a 5×7 LED matrix
Té Rowan's picture

Should anyone care to venture here…
http://googlefontdirectory.googlecode.com/hg/apache/
…there is now a RobotoSlab to be had, both raw and autohinted. The address, by the way, is that of Google's Mercurial repository, Apache division.

vernon adams's picture

@Karl Stang

The OFL was conceived of to try and address the needs of designers, developers and users that wanted an open model which prevented restrictions, removed some of the ambiguity inherent in applying established licensing models (to something for which they were not intended) and promoted the underlying philosophy, without worrying about commercial considerations.

Perhaps this could lead to another custom license, following the Apache model but focusing on type/fonts? The Typophile Apache Licence (TAL), anyone? : )

I wonder if the OFL is a little too slightly a product of it's specific origins. It's need was to promote the spread of freely useable fonts. That need was tied to SIL's work to promote the spread of freely available [religious] texts. There was naturally less of a need to protect the designs themselves. I would like to see an OFL (or OFL like license) that is stronger in it's protection of free fonts from the potential dangers of other designers or foundries taking free fonts (or parts of them) and privatising them.

hrant's picture

Since there now are virtually no barriers (well, besides talent and time :-) to creating good free fonts, I believe blocking people from making money from fonts actually reduces social justice.

For example somebody can make an Armenian extension to Roboto Slab and give it away, while I can make one and sell it, and people can freely choose the free one or the good one. :-) No hard feelings, and everybody is happy. If I weren't allowed to make money from it, Armenian culture just lost a good font.

Virtually nobody capable of contributing something of quality to society says: "I'd like to be compensated doing this, but I'm not allowed... but let me just do it anyway." They either would do it for no compensation to begin with (so the option of making money doing it is no impediment) or would spend the time doing something else!

hhp

John Hudson's picture

Vernon: I would like to see an OFL (or OFL like license) that is stronger in it's protection of free fonts from the potential dangers of other designers or foundries taking free fonts (or parts of them) and privatising them.

The first of the Permissions and Conditions terms of the OFL license is this:

1) Neither the Font Software nor any of its individual components, in Original or Modified Versions, may be sold by itself.

An OFL font may be bundled with a commercial product, but cannot be sold as a product in itself. I'm not sure what else you mean by 'privatising' free fonts. What is your concern?

[When Ralph Hancock and I decided to make our Biblical Hebrew layout model open source, we deliberately avoided the OFL because it prevents utilisation in commercial fonts. We opted for the more liberal MIT license instead.]

hrant's picture

I'm guessing Vernon would like a license that prohibits commercial bundling.

BTW what are the differences between MIT and Apache?

hhp

vernon adams's picture

Hrant

somebody can make an Armenian extension to Roboto Slab and give it away, while I can make one and sell it

This is where a license can protects a font's freedom;
Under the terms of the OFL, you specifically cannot sell an OFL'd font (or a component of it) or sell a font derived from an OFL'd font.
I don't think the Apache license (as i understand it, so i could be wrong!) specifically prohibits selling an Apache'd font , but in practise it would probably be a non starter (if i am correct) because ;
If you were to make an Armenian extension of Roboto Slab, you would have to distribute it under the same Apache license as Roboto Slab (i.e make it 'free'), otherwise you would be breaching the font's license, naughty. So, the world would have Hrant's Roboto Slab... complete with the Apache license. So... whilst you may find a few people who will pay you to use your version of Roboto Slab, most will probably simply use it for free, under the terms of it's Apache license.
Also, of course, under the terms of Roboto Slab's license, your Armenian extenstion would possibly got folded back into the main Roboto Slab branch.

Are you saying that preventing other designers from 'privatising' derivatives of free fonts is reducing social justice? I would 100% agree with you, under certain circumstances, aka, if anyone could privatise a free font, and if anyone could free a proprietary font :) Cuts both way surely? The intellectual property contained in a free font is not of an inferior kind compared to the intellectual property contained in a proprietary font. Or do you think it is?

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