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


Some clarifications:

2009/5/19 Dave Crossland <>:
> 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 :

"Font license information

    * This font is free for personal and commercial use
    * The font file/software may be modified to suit design of system
      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 on your page and/or put this notice /* A
font by Jos Buivenga (exljbris) -> */ 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 and was one of'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.