Open Source Publishing – Graphic Design Caravan

Libre Fonts

Fonts · June 7th, 2009 ·

The Open Font Library is preparing a brand new site (an idea of what’s in store: http://openfontlibrary.org/wiki) and this sparked off an interesting discussion about terminology. How to name fonts that are made available on the OFL site?

Free Fonts sounds nice, but risks to blur with gratis (and non-free) fonts promoted under the same term. Others are all for using it because even if confusing, Freedom is important. There are many arguments against the use of the word FLOSS Fonts: it is an acronym, a software term (there is no consensus about whether fonts are software), and it sounds ugly. The software-argument works against Free Software Fonts too, of course. Open Fonts mixes with Open Type (which again has nothing to do with their license) and is felt to be ambiguous and evasive. But for the same reason, others are in favour of the term because Open is more inclusive and alludes to the ‘open endedness’ of a font or process. The current proposal is to use Libre Fonts, even when it introduces an unfamiliar term to English speakers and would need some explanation.

OSP likes this nicely awkward cross-language invention so we have adopted the term Libre Fonts and renamed our tags. We hope it sticks around.

Thread on the openfontlibrary list: http://lists.freedesktop.org/archives/openfontlibrary/2009-May/002097.html

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  • 1. Antonio Roberts

    Jun 7, 2009 at 6:25 pm

    I’m glad you avoided FLOSS Fonts, but I think both Libre Fonts and Free Fonts will be used widely

  • 2. Pierre

    Jun 8, 2009 at 8:24 am

    (to be complete) At LGM, after Dave’s presentation, that discussion has raising, and “freedom fonts” was also mentionned… A bit emphatic maybe? 😉

  • 3. FeIZocE

    Jun 15, 2009 at 10:41 pm

    I think Libre Fonts is a good choice, too.