After 10 minutes explaining myself to the lady at the Heathrow customs, she finally get it and say: "ohhh, so you make fonts.... for the computer". I know it's an overly simplification, but its one normal that people can understand.
Right, but, for example, VGC and Alphabet Innovations made (manufactured) fonts for headline setting machines, but they never called themselves type founders. My point is that terms like "foundry" and "typefounding" were virtually obsolete and exclusively associated with making metal type before desktop font makers adopted them. I would also suggest that the terms were adopted mainly for marketing reasons by way of association and analogy. Again, I think it's fine. I'm just trying to point out that our use of the terms now is a revival, not due to continual usage by the industry.
...as the copyright owner, I can do whatever I want with my own creation.
Excepting as contractually restricted. That is, sometimes works are created under contract, and even though one retains copyright the contact terms might place some restrictions on the exercise of that copyright. So, for example, Tiro owns the copyright to the Slabo fonts, but under the contract by which Google paid for the development of the fonts we can only license them under OFL or Apache 2.0.
I had an idea some years ago for discouraging piracy. Basically, claim that the purchaser's credit card number (or some other sensitive data they've given you as part of the purchase) is hidden in the font files, but don't actually do it. On reflection, I decided that it would probably be a good way to get people to stop buying my fonts.
It doesn't work for all kinds of work, but I think it makes a good fit for the independent type designer. The social thing is definitely a factor. Before the internet, I found it much harder to work at home.
Sure. It is crucial to remember: as the copyright owner, I can do whatever I want with my own creation. It is only the non-authors (the rest of the world so to speak) who are bound by the licenses.
Note thsome commercial font distributors may not accept a font for sale which is available for free somewhere else — for the distributor, the opensource distribution channel may be a competitor.
But still, many foundries that have released opensource fonts (Ascender, URW++, Adobe) also sell these fonts under a commercial license.
Sometimes the opensource offering has a smaller glyphset or fewer styles, or be released under a slightly or completely different name — but this is not always so.
Some users choose to buy a commercial license even if the same product is available freely, because they get support and clarity as to their rights and obligations. This is not a solid strategy, it won't work for everyone, but it can work.
More often however, the commercial offering does include something extra which the free version doesn't have. And of course quite often an opensource font is customized commercially for a particular larger client.
You definitely don't want to decompile and recompile a whole font just to change a name table entry. Better to use a tool like TTX to dump just the name table, change the name in the XML, and then fuse the edited table back into the font. Alternatively, if you prefer a tool with a UI, try DTL OTMaster, which allows you to touch individual parts of a font without affecting others.