This is very helpful Ian and I really do appreciate your feedback. I think that we are in agreement on our end that elimination of the reserved font name will be the best approach for all involved.
This will likely come along with licensing of all changes that we have made to the upstream source under a MIT license. How to approach the license for our changes remains under discussion by our project authors and the community around the project but this is the direction that we are leaning.
This means that you can perform source and post-compilation modifications on the fonts derived from our released source and maintain the name Hack on these fonts. Ultimately, we want the fonts to be as free as possible given the upstream licensing restrictions that are in place and the pros of the RFN removal move for us seem to outweigh the cons. A large part of our current move to release the source as UFO only with only free OS build tools is to encourage its use as an upstream for modifications and new derivatives. A number of authors have expressed an interest in using “Hack” in the name of their derivative projects, something that is not permitted under the current license (including for the authors of Hack should we choose to release a derivative!). The move is, I think, a good one for the project and the Debian community has been a large part of the push for us to better understand these licensing issues and take action.
Thanks to all in this thread for your feedback and assistance. Your time is greatly appreciated!