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New license of the fonts

Hello, Apostrophe.

(I maintain all our previous words to help understand the new readers. Please excuse me the other readers).

I am very aware of the lack of quality fonts in the open source community. In fact, over the past year or so I have been looking at different options of helping the community in that regard. The lack is certainly considerable when it comes to text faces, so I've been working on a few text types that would come in handy for the open source community.

Thank you very much. I'm proud to see that the best people are working to help the community. And you and the team are the best in typography.

I do have a few concerns however, and hopefully you and your free software associates would be able to help me reach a solution for proper licensing of whatever I want to donate to the community.

I hope so. I'm sending the mail to Roberto Majadas and Miguel de Icaza (GNOME) and I think that they can forward it to the lawyers of the GNOME Foundation. Also, to the debian-legal list and my friend Amaya (Debian), hopping to get advice from the Debian legal experts. I'm not an expert at all about the legal issues, so I prefere to read what the really experts have to say. And I think that GNU should know about this really important movement.

In all the three examples, we arise the same point: the license of your team work is great, but is not 100% compatible with our guidelines about free software. And I think, my friend, that we all think pretty much the same way about what freedom must be in this information era.

I certainly have no problem with that. I wish Jose, Miguel, Roberto and their crews the best of luck in advancing their projects. My only concern with making any lab fonts public domain is the possibility of people selling them. I don't mind if people charge nominal fees for handling the software's storage devices, or a small fee for distribution services, but I am really opposed to someone selling the fonts that I make and give away for free. As you said later in your email, maybe this is something that the legal team of GNOME can help me solve with appropriate licensing that can keep the GNU crowd happy while at the same time things don't turn commercial and the font designer's credit doesn't get lost in the flood of future changes.

I absolutly agree with you. It seems that it is a matter to find the _exact_ words you need for your license.

So, we all are kindly asking to you about the posibility of changing the license of (some of) your fonts. There are a few valid licences, not necesarily GPL or BSD; we think more apropiate Artistic License <http://www.perl.com/pub/a/language/misc/Artistic.html>. I'm sure that the legal team of the GNOME Foundation can help you to determine the most appropiate free licence to your work, in case you are willing to change it.

Of course. The artistic license seems quite fitting at first glance, but I'll have to take a closer look at it before deciding. Meanwhile, if anyone from GNOME's legal team would like to help me draft a license that would keep everyone happy, I would be grateful. Again, my only concerns about this whole thing is that the fonts don't become commercial, and that due credit is given to the original designer(s). Other than that, I'm quite happy just seeing the fonts being used by people all over the world.

IMHO is it posible to use a new license, if no existing one fits exactly with our need. You (we) can write, say, the "Apostrophic License", with the conditions needed by the team (I agree heartfully with your conditions), and still conforming with the Debian Free Software Guidelines.

That said, there are a few things I should remind you of before we go on. As you already know, the lab is composed of not only me, but 29 other designers. Some of those designers have moved to other cities and I have no way of contacting them in order to ask them if they would like their fonts to be part of the new licensing. (Derek for example has moved to California, and we've lost contact with each other for more than a year now). The majority of the lab's designers are still around and in touch, however, so I will circulate an email asking them what they think of all this. I'm almost sure that their reply will be positive and encouraging, but as I just said, I cannot really free the work of the designers with whom I cannot communicate (so I guess Derek's fonts becoming free software is not a possibility).

It's a pitty about Derek (I hope he is fine), I like very much his work (I love Covington). You are right, Freddy, the team are a lot of people, and we respect their work. We have to know what they think, of course.

And, in my opinion, this exciting matter of TheLab going free (as in speech) have to be done right, not fast. I think that this is as important as the OpenOffice.org release, because your work is the best in the free (as in beer) arena, and the bigger. Yes, I have to say again that your work is the best technically, the same way that Apache is the best server, or The GIMP is a leader (you know, but I want to say it again for our readers) or BIND is an Internet basic.

Please think about what this can be: if (some of) TheLab fonts were free enough to be distributed with Debian, all the others GNU/Linux distributions will include them as well. So there will be millions of people with Apostrophic Laboratories fonts in their desktops.

That's a great visual of the future, Pedro. I will make sure to mention it to the designers when I ask them what they think. It's all good! Freedom and joy to everyone!

:-) Yes, Freddy, I'm very optimistic. I dislike a lot of things in this world, but still think that we can change them. We are a great team, we have the technical skills, but we have a hot beating heart that moves our brains. We have to win. We will do.

All the best,


Fredrick Nader
Type & Technology Director
Apostrophic Laboratories
343 Kingswood Road
Toronto, Ontario
Canada M4E 3N8
(416) 891-5196

Pedro Reina

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