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Dave Crossland


Dave Crossland
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Admin James Puckett
  • Re: [OTVar] Dependent axes?

    Perhaps ytlc is a virtual axis, in that it is a subset of the ytra axis (and in fact really there situation is the opposite: ytra is the sum of the other Y transparent axes) and opsz is a synthetic axis in that it's tracing a path through the design space created by the x and y opaque and transparent axes. 
  • Re: Plex; IBM's new font identity model

    Quality is an interesting concept... For me personally, fonts that are under restricted licenses have a brittle quality to them. They may be fine, but as soon as I want to do something that they can't do, they shatter.

    I am reminded of 
  • Re: Plex; IBM's new font identity model

    If Plex is open source, where can we find the source files? ;)
    I guess there's a difference here between "open source" and "libre"? Because AFAIK @Dave Crossland for one disagrees that the latter means all the sources must be public. BTW some people claim that for it to be open-source all the software used to make it must also be open...
    There are various ways to determine if a thing is legitimately part of a category. 

    Necessarily there is an authority that legitimizes; some people like to rely only on themselves, or their own organizations, but in the software freedom movement the typical authority that determines the more abstract definition of "what is free software" and the more concrete definition of "which licenses make software so-licensed free software" is the Free Software Foundation. Libre is merely a less ambiguous synonym for free. 

    The Debian Free Software Guidelines, and the licenses used by packages in the Debian "main" repositories, is another popular one. 

    For open source software, which for practical purposes is the same thing as free/libre software, the authority is the Open Source Initiative, Wich also provides their abstract and concrete definition and license list.

    The SIL Open Font License is on all 3 lists. 

    Some free/libre/open-source licenses like the GNU GPL v3 require that "complete corresponding source" be available to everyone who gets a copy in binary form. Some do not - like MIT, Apache, and importantly for us here the SIL Open Font License. 

    The definition of both fsf and osi states sources must be available; it's literally in the name "open source." It's also a requirement for new additions to the Google Fonts collection. But the OFL doesn't require it. 

    Why is that?

    I can't speak for the authors of the OFL, but it seems to me that if a user obtains a font binary under the OFL, they can pretty easily load it into their font editor and carry on. Whereas with software, that's not the case; dealing with binary programs is gnarly work in gdb or IDA Pro or whatever, although it can be done is a much longer road than for a font. 

    So I guess that's why the OFL makes a trade-off, giving up source provision requirements and gaining simplicity, which I believe is much more important for adoption of the license. 

    The GNU GPL also requires source to be in a public format so that it can be read by libre software. Personally I'd say UFO and Glyphsapp qualify, VFB does not. But again the OFL doesn't have that requirement, and afaik the free software and open source definition documents don't either, although I'm just rattling this off on my phone offline on the subway and didn't check.

    The Ubuntu fonts are licensed under the Ubuntu Fonts License, and that isn't on any of the lists, but I seem to recall that the source files are available... but in VFB.
  • Re: Plex; IBM's new font identity model

    It seems the Leeds font never made it out to the world

    Hrant, sometimes brands use extant libre fonts for themselves, which is the case there. It's an academic project, not a brand commission released under a libre license.
  • Re: Launch Timing

    I think Thierry Blancpain is spot-on. I've always published typefaces as soon as I was able to, with a couple of exceptions recently made recently where faces were released at specific type events, like Typographics (Space Mono in 2016, Spectral in 2017.) That's more about the event than the typeface :)

    I would say that December and August, being summer and winter holiday months in the West, are obviously not ideal time to release anything that isn't specifically useful for either holiday. You see this in stuff like this graph of general interest in fonts on Google Search: 5-y&q=fonts

    There is a steep drop at Christmas time, and there is a peak around valentines day (a lot of people need fonts to make their own romantic graphic designs, I guess ;) and then this slides down to the July 4 summer holiday in the US, and then trends up to Thanksgiving, and then down to the Christmas drop again. 

    This is somewhat a different topic, but interestingly I've seen that, over the long term, it seems interest in fonts has trended down in the last 20 years. Here's the long view on Google Trends is from 2004 to today: 

    The longest view is provided by the Google Books n-gram search, where use of the word "fonts" exploded in the mid 80s (with DTP) and peaked in the early 1990s. The word "typefaces" traces a similar although more muted path (and in the above doesn't even register) 


    Despite these declines, the "font economy" has only grown, though :)