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Reconsider the license #3

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davelab6 opened this Issue · 3 comments

2 participants

Dave Crossland Robey Pointer
Dave Crossland

The license section in the README says,

This typeface is licensed under the Apache 2 License, with one exception: You may not publish or release this typeface under the name "Metrickal" if you change it. This is the same stipulation on Bitstream Vera Sans Mono, and I think it helps avoid confusion. If you make a change to this typeface, and I won't accept it, then you are free to fork and release it under a new name.

I'd like to suggest changing this.

I hope you'll agree license proliferation isn't good :) Worded as a requirement, this is really not the Apache 2 License, its a special one off license, which isn't compatible with any other fonts.

There is a libre font license with a requirement built in that is used by 90% of libre fonts out there, the SIL OFL. I'm curious if you knew about it and picked Apache instead of OFL for some reason?

If you didn't, it has a 'Reserved Font Name' feature built in, also inspired by Vera's license, and if you use this then your font will be license compatible with all the other OFL fonts out there.

However, even the RFN doesn't seem wise to me in 2013.

On the developer side, when I click the "fork" button, and start making changes to make a pull request back to you, if I don't change the name, I'm breaking the license, and if I do change the name, you'll have to change it back. I think that forking and submitting pull requests should be as easy as possible, and encouraged, but RFN restrictions make that a less smooth and fun process.

On the user side, everyone wanting to use this as a web font will want to change the font in minor ways - to be available to different browsers through format conversion, perhaps to hint (or hint strip), to subset for their use case to reduce latency - and you can see this kinda of thing in the Font Squirrel at-font-face generator. Web fonts seems like something worth encouraging and making easy, too.

I think simply suggesting to people, without requiring it, that if they make major changes they ought to change the name, is good enough :)

I look forward to hearing your thoughts! :)

Robey Pointer
Owner

I definitely do not want to create new licenses. It just didn't seem like anyone has thought deeply enough about this to come up with a good license.

Can you link me to anything about the Font Squirrel license? My only real concern is that I don't want two different typefaces released into the public with the same name. Maybe I'm being too paranoid?

Dave Crossland

Font Squirrel offers a service that takes in a font and spits out 'font bundles' where they formats are converted, the fonts are perhaps subset, hinted, or otherwise modified.

The license I referred to is the SIL Open Font License and the people who wrote it really have thought deeply about what a good libre license means for fonts.

If you are really keen to stop two different typefaces with the same name, the RFN can help with that. But it will disallow people using the Font Squirrel service unless they change the name.

Personally I think not disallowing same-name modification makes sense because distribution of web fonts isn't the same as 'releasing' or 'publishing' in a normal way. I think suggesting that if people do release a fork of the font, they change the name, and being a sensible request, sensible people will do so :)

Robey Pointer
Owner

I think you're right. I'm being too paranoid. I'll drop the restriction and just use the plain apache 2 license.

Robey Pointer robey closed this
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