Coming of age for the open font community
Well I guess I should start blogging and join the
web-based pow-wow since Planet Open Fonts is
now up and has
already gathered a number of very interesting posts.
(There's also a Satellite open fonts
vcs tracking VCS commits for various font-related
So what's been happening in font land these days? We are we
in term of the open font community now?
Glad you asked because actually things have pretty much
exceeded our initial expectations! Despite the many
challenges to tackle - especially with
the more complex writing systems - we're well on our
way I think! Looking back at the beginning of
our research around the ideal community model for fonts back
in 2001 with Victor's Gentium project
and the Writing
Systems Implementation work with
UNESCO it's tremendous to see the concerted efforts
from many amazing people out there to establish what is
needed for a collaborative typographic community
over the past few years...
But first of all, why do we actually need open fonts at all?
What's the purpose of all this?
Let's put it this way: if Gutenberg's
genius and consecutive transformative reforms are attributed
to "movable type" designed to accelerate and make the
creation of books easier and cheaper, then the open font
movement with its Open Font License is
designed to go even further and do this at the Free Software
level: allowing and encouraging the moving of glyphs and the
smart code (modern information age type if you will) around
more easily, extending and fixing fonts to make it easier to
publish content in as many languages as possible...
The consultation for an ideal collaborative type design and
distribution model has been done with much input and
refinement from various communities: many different
conferences have seen discussions with key
community figures, lightning talks, BoFs, talks, demos and
workshops covering aspects of the open font community's
challenges... Events like Solutions Linux in Paris, RMLL in
Dijon, WSIS in Geneva and Tunis, GUADEC in Vilanova, Akademy
in Glasgow, UDS in Paris and Prague, Debconf in Edinburgh,
LGM in Lyon Montréal and Wroclaw OOoconf in Lyon, TLM in
Boston Glasgow and Wroclaw, AtypIconf in Lisbon, TUG in San
Diego, BachoTeX in well Bachotex, GNU Hackers meeting 2008
in Bristol. There were also a bunch of IRC meetings,
confcalls and mailing-list discussions.
The result is that we now have a good and community
recommended licensing framework, a pretty advanced
toolkit (fontforge and
and an increasing number of community members (upstream
projects and distros as linked from the planet )
benefiting from and contributing to the improvement of an
open font landscape.
I'll go over some figures and give a more precise overview
of who's been involved, the significant milestones and the
next challenges we have in the next posts. Stay tuned.
Free the glyphs !