26 Nov 2005 raph   » (Master)


A bunch of things are happening in font-land.

For one, SIL has released version 1.0 of their Open Font License, and promises to be releasing Gentium under its terms shortly. The fact that SIL is getting aware of free software licensing is very encouraging, as it promises to make their efforts considerably more relevant.

Even so, I'm not convinced that the OFL will have that great an impact. Earlier drafts tried to ban selling collections of fonts with OFL fonts included, but apparently that ran afoul of DFSG-style freedom. Now, apparently, it allows selling of collections, but not of the individual font. Was anybody actually selling free fonts individually before? Even if not, the adoption of the OFL may send a signal that the font is to be treated with more respect. As Wes Felter says, it's much like wearing a designer t-shirt. It will be interesting to see how aggressively the "free font" ripoff artists prey on Gentium - if they do back away, it might be an appealing example to follow.

I'm tracking this because I've got a few fonts in the queue that I'd like to release under some kind of free license, but am still unclear exactly what license is best. I've been in touch with Karl Berry having TUG sponsor completion of one or more of the fonts, and the choice of license is still an open issue.

Font fans might be interested in taking a look at my latest font-in-progress, Inconsolata, a monospace design. I'm hopeful that it will turn out to be one of the best available for code listings, etc., in print.


The trip to Japan was really fun. On the last evening, I had a very nice dinner with Masatake Yamato and Akira Tagoh, both now of Red Hat Japan. We talked of many things, including areas where recent AFPL releases of Ghostscript may break some of the work done by the gs-cjk team to make substitution of Japanese fonts work correctly.

We also talked about free software tools for Japanese learners, and input methods for Emacs in particular. I've been using Quail, mostly because it was easy to find since it's included in Emacs distros, but apparently SKK is better.

One question I have about Quail: is there a way to go in the reverse direction: if I have a kanji in the buffer, can I make it tell me the key sequence required to produce that?

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