Subject: Re: Free Software Business Models
From: Dave Crossland <dave@lab6.com>
Date: Tue, 19 May 2009 16:59:32 +0100

Hi,

Some clarifications:

2009/5/19 Dave Crossland <dave@lab6.com>:
>
> So I thought I'd ask here about what free software business models
> there are, exactly.

I understand this might become a long thread, and not too helpful to
me, but, I am interested in hearing a variety of business models even
if they don't appear to have any direct application to me.

> As someone looking to improve free software fonts,

I am not looking to maximize profit above all other concerns; I am
looking to improve free software fonts, and that could be done
commercially or non-commercially, but commercially so I can hire
existing trained professionals will be fastest.

Almost all other type designers are profit-maximisers and therefore
try to obtain the strongest, most restrictive monopoly they can find.
The market for that kind of font is totally saturated. For newcomers,
a less restrictive model seems to work well at breaking into the
existing market, and Jos Buivenga is a excellent example of this. Here
is his freeware EULA from
http://www.josbuivenga.demon.nl/delicious.html :

"Font license information

    * This font is free for personal and commercial use
    * The font file/software may be modified to suit design of system
requirements,
      but strictly for your own (personal or commercial) use. You may
not sell or distribute it
    * Embedding (in PDF's, Flash files and programs) is allowed
    * You may use this font for Font-Face embedding, but only if you
put a link to www.exljbris.nl on your page and/or put this notice /* A
font by Jos Buivenga (exljbris) -> www.exljbris.nl */ in your CSS file
as near as possible to the piece of code that declares the Font-Face
embedding of this font.
    * This font may not be distributed or sold -not online nor on any
media- without my permission
    * This font is and remains (even when modified) the intellecual
property of Jos Buivenga
    * Exljbris (Jos Buivenga) is not liable for any damage resulting
from the use of this font"

He then sells fully proprietary fonts at
http://www.myfonts.com/browse/foundry/exljbris/ and was one of
MyFonts.com's most popular vendors last year, thanks to this
freeware-loss-leader business model.

Since I'm committed to free software fonts, I think it would be
counterproductive to run a font business with free software fonts
upselling proprietary ones in this way.

Cheers,
Dave