Subject: Re: Free Software Business Models
From: Dave Crossland <>
Date: Wed, 20 May 2009 01:06:30 +0100

 Wed, 20 May 2009 01:06:30 +0100
Hi Stephen!

2009/5/19 Stephen J. Turnbull <>:
> Dave Crossland writes:
>  > As someone looking to improve free software fonts, there are two
>  > routes open to me: Find a way to get people who don't demand
>  > proprietary-font-developer wages to publish free software fonts, or
> I heard an interesting anecdote recently about why all free fonts for
> Japanese suck: the people who have artistic talent don't want their
> fonts used on porn sites.  This is one case where what are often
> called "author's moral rights" really bind on free software, I think.

Hah. I know the OSI was involved in rubber-stamping the license for recently, which are said to be
high quality Japanese fonts. I know nothing about CJK writing systems
though so cannot comment on this.

>  > find a way to pay font developers who currently work in a proprietary
>  > software business model with a free software business model.
> Hm.  One unusual factor is, why would a customer be willing to pay for
> a font in the first place?  ... exclusivity

Yes, custom type design is the main breadwinner of most font
development companies, and software freedom at a lower price than
normal (always available for a price, but never using freedom itself
as a marketing angle) may be an effective way to crack that part of
the market. However, as you say -

> Eventually you want it to be not just free, but available to
> the public, as well.

 - and I expect that offering such bespoke services is much easier
after a brand becomes known in the market place for published works,
and that revenues generated this way can be reinvested into growing
revenues for published works too.