Open Source Publishing – Graphic Design Caravan

The Open Font License

Type · February 27th, 2006 ·

[check The politics of typography before applying SIL-OFL]

The SIL-OFL is a free license specifically developed for (multi-lingual) fonts. These are the four freedoms guaranteed through the Open Font License (similar to other Free licenses):
* Use: the freedom to use font software for any purpose. (freedom 0)
* Study and adaptation: the freedom to study how font software works, and adapt it to your needs (freedom 1). Access and rights to the source code is a precondition for this.
* Redistribution: the freedom to redistribute copies of the font software so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).
* Improvement and redistribution of modifications: the freedom to improve the font software and release your improvements (freedom 3), so that the community benefits. Access and rights to the source code is a precondition for this.

Applying an Open License to your font is made easy with the Open Font License. See this FAQ to find out how it works.

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  • 1. Femke

    Mar 1, 2006 at 4:42 pm

    Note to self: there is no mention of what the acronym SIL actually means on http://www.sil.org (the organisation developing the OFL), and we were surprised to find that it means Summer Institute of Linguistics and is actually a Christian organisation promoting bible translations because “no language is insignificant”. Wikipedias article on SIL is considered to be “not neutral” but find some more juicy details there.

  • 2. Andrew Charles

    Apr 20, 2006 at 9:09 am

    The Atlantic Monthly ran an article on SIL some years ago. SIL is a missionary organisation focusing on providing bible translations in the world’s least used languages (as Femke quotes “no language is insignificant”). AM reported that SIL is widely respected by linguists for the quality of their work and for documenting and preserving many endangered languages, but hated by anthropologists for their role in destroying other aspects of indigenous culture (particularly religion). SIL takes linguistics seriously, contributing greatly to linguistic scholarship and developing software for the documentation and translation of languages. Font development has been a natural out-growth of this work, as has co-operation with UNESCO’s Initiative B@bel in the development of multi-lingual software.