Can I use Roboto font for print?

sim's picture

Sorry for the error. I posted in the wrong forum, here again the question.
http://typophile.com/node/99960

The basic question concerning the use of Roboto. Is this font is suited for print work or it's a font to use in Web only? The second issue is about the license, may I use it for print on corporate use (no object will be sale with the font on it, example: no tshirt, no poster…). Thanks

Té Rowan's picture

IIRC, many people's beef with Roboto was that it didn't look good in print, so don't expect flowers and unicorns. As for the licence, it's the Apache licence, version 2.0, and as far as I can tell, it does not limit what you can use it for. But how the Dis I'm gunna arrange it for a symphonic orchestra and two death metal bands, I'm yet to figure out.

hrant's picture

BTW does Apache 2.0 also allow reselling a modification?

hhp

Karl Stange's picture

does Apache 2.0 also allow reselling a modification?

Apparently it does (emphasis is mine):

3. Grant of Patent License. Subject to the terms and conditions of this License, each Contributor hereby grants to You a perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, no-charge, royalty-free, irrevocable (except as stated in this section) patent license to make, have made, use, offer to sell, sell, import, and otherwise transfer the Work, where such license applies only to those patent claims licensable by such Contributor that are necessarily infringed by their Contribution(s) alone or by combination of their Contribution(s) with the Work to which such Contribution(s) was submitted. If You institute patent litigation against any entity (including a cross-claim or counterclaim in a lawsuit) alleging that the Work or a Contribution incorporated within the Work constitutes direct or contributory patent infringement, then any patent licenses granted to You under this License for that Work shall terminate as of the date such litigation is filed.

Taken from: http://www.apache.org/licenses/LICENSE-2.0

Té Rowan's picture

If I have read it correctly, and I'm pretty sure I have... yes. The licence does permit redistribution of original and modified materiel, and I have not seen any restrictions regarding the means, only that one must enclose a copy of the licence and any NOTICE file(s) that may have come with the original, one must log in one's own name that this is modified materiel, and no dropping others' copyright, trademark, patent or attribution notices.

Anyroads, there should be a good copy of this and other licences on opensource.org.

sim's picture

Thank you for your answers. I will make test for sure ;-)

hrant's picture

Cool - thanks.

Is there a list of fonts with an Apache license?

hhp

canderson's picture

Is there a list of fonts with an Apache license?
A better question is: "Is there some big list of fonts available under FOSS licenses, with download links and some explanation of the limitations of said licenses as they pertain to redistribution and usage?"

canderson's picture

Is this font is suited for print work or it's a font to use in Web only?
If it doesn't look good in print, it may have been a poor choice for Android devices, which now often have 300+ ppi screens. If it was intended for Android 2.3 ICS only, that may be a forgivable sin, since there are fewer hi-ppi devices--but certainly one that should be reconsidered. We are quickly approaching a point where there is no important difference between 'screen' and 'print', other than that text on a mobile device UI may be at low point sizes and accommodate UI elements.

hrant's picture

No, no, just the stuff I can add Armenian to and sell. As far as I can tell only the Apache license (does the version matter?) would allow that.

We are quickly approaching a point where there is no important difference between 'screen' and 'print'

It sure seems like that. But don't believe the hype.

hhp

canderson's picture

No, no, just the stuff I can add Armenian to and sell.
I understand your use case.
I think a BSD license would let you do this too, but I don't know if anyone is distributing fonts this way. Also, I'm not a lawyer. The point is, there are many different FOSS licenses, created and used for a variety of real and imagined reasons, and its a big confusing mess. I'm sure we can at least agree on that point. The 'big hypothetical list' I'm talking about would be a central clearinghouse to sort out the minutia. Does such a thing exist?

jcrippen's picture

You could start with that thread, of course.

canderson's picture

Thanks.

Té Rowan's picture

While the Open Font License does not permit selling the licensed materiel as an independent product, it does explicitly permit using the materiel to add value. Most other FOSS licences allow for selling the licensed materiel, implicitly or explicitly.

hrant's picture

So there's no list of Apache fonts? Compiling one would be one of the best things an expert on FOSS could do for type.

hhp

canderson's picture

http://www.openfontlibrary.org/

The Open Font Library would seem to be a good clearinghouse for this sort of information. Unfortunately it doesn't have a decent list for Apache. Why people aren't contributing to this is a topic in itself.

hrant's picture

Indeed.

Maybe the individuals who have the most to gain from an organized effort are the people that FOSS activists don't like... Specifically when it comes to Apache. Like Reynir, who recently did many massive text dumps here* - why is he suddenly so mum?

* http://typophile.com/node/97575?page=3

So is openness only open to people who are open? If so, I think that's short-sighted, since it ignore the peoples (such as Armenians) who would have a lot to gain.

hhp

charles ellertson's picture

Like Reynir, who recently did many massive text dumps here* - why is he suddenly so mum?

Maybe I'm missing something, but when I look at the longs lists provided by Reynir on "that thread," *license* is included. Do you mean you don't want to be bothered searching the thread, or that the information isn't available there?

hrant's picture

How many of the fonts in Reynir's mega-list are Apache? Zero.

hhp

charles ellertson's picture

Hmm./ Apparently ASF is one acronym for Apache, maybe there are others? Anybody help, here?

I did find this list

http://www.google.com/webfonts/attribution

Search for "Apache" -- there are some

hrant's picture

That's very useful, Charles - thank you.

hhp

Té Rowan's picture

Naw, I just haven't done much work on the lists lately. Got other interests that need some time, too.

http://googlefontdirectory.googlecode.com/hg/apache/ -- Direct route to GoogleFonts' Mercurial base, Apache licence section.

hrant's picture

There we are! Thank you.
Do you think that's everything, or 90%, or?

hhp

Té Rowan's picture

Ain't got a flippin' idea. OFL and GPL with font embedding exception are by far the most popular choice. Celeb syndrome? (Famous because they're famous.) Possibly. Effin sleep phase unlocks... only thing I dislike about yule.

abattis's picture

So there's no list of Apache fonts? Compiling one would be one of the best things an expert on FOSS could do for type.

Would be an own-goal for libre fonts, though, and that's why most of the Apache fonts are moving to OFL :)

hrant's picture

I guess that depends on the core objective(s) of a given supporter of libre fonts - there's a whole spectrum of agendas crawling around in there. :-) There is however a strong undercurrent of "social justice" in the libre movement (its main redeeming quality as far as I'm concerned) and if you consider that generally minority scripts enjoy much higher quality fonts when a professional decides it's profitable (or at least not a total loss :-) to make some, the Apache license actually has an advantage. For example not having to make a complete high-quality Latin companion is a huge deal to a designer of Armenian fonts.

About "moving" from one licensing model to another: considering this is all "open", the previous incarnation can't go away, right? Or do I have to move quickly? :-)

hhp

abattis's picture

There is however a strong undercurrent of "social justice" in the libre movement (its main redeeming quality as far as I'm concerned)

Right. If you make a proprietary font for a minority script, that's working against the social justice aims of the libre movement. If a professional decides it's profitable (or at least not a total loss :-) to make a new libre font, that's really great. If they decide to make a new proprietary font, that doesn't diminish the libre font movement, just as new libre fonts don't diminish the proprietary font community. But to extend a libre font but keep the improvements proprietary diminishes the progress of the libre movement, I think.

The OFL protects libre fonts from this tragedy, which is why almost all type designers prefer it, and why the designers of the small number of Apache fonts asked to move to OFL.

(I see i tags no longer work, thanks!)

hrant's picture

If you make a proprietary font for a minority script, that's working against the social justice aims of the libre movement.

I don't think so, because not having any (or very few) good fonts is more socially unjust than having (more) good proprietary ones. Remember, social justice is more about the reader than the designer; social justice says: the designer not wanting to give up money should not harm the reader.

BTW the situation for minority scripts is inherently different than for Latin (even though it's still true that there can never be enough typestlyes).

the designers of the small number of Apache fonts asked to move to OFL.

When they move, does the previous Apache version become illegal, or simply harder to find?

hhp

hrant's picture

Also, a type designer being paid does not necessarily make the results proprietary. I was paid to make Arasan, but it's given away for free; for a number of years it was a big positive force in the Armenian presence online. And you've heard of the Google fonts, right? ;-)

hhp

abattis's picture

social justice says: the designer not wanting to give up money should not harm the reader

Social justice says to me, the user of digital tools ought to have freedom to decide how the tools they use work. They use their tools to serve their users better. A proprietary tool may offer convenient features but the overall society is worse off due to its restrictions.

I was paid to make Arasan, but it's given away for free

But was it libre? If its zero price isn't what makes it socially just or unjust, to me.

When they move, does the previous Apache version become illegal, or simply harder to find?

Legally, the latter - a libre license doesn't expire or terminate unless you breach the terms of the license - but the font designers wish that the fonts be treated as OFL ought to be respected, don't you think? :)

hrant's picture

They use their tools to serve their users better.

I think this is the weak link in your logic. Users of open tools are not inherently more mindful of their users than users of proprietary tools; in fact their general resistance to compensating quality often makes things worse for their users, while making themselves richer. I've said this before: many open-source advocates -like yourself- are altruistic; most of them however -like the ones who don't bother engaging in such discussions- are simply taking advantage. This is the big unspoken sad reality in the open-source scene.

But let me back up and offer another angle, to better explain what I was previously saying: the current (and long-standing) situation with Armenian fonts is not socially just to Armenian end-users - there are very few typefaces we can be proud of. This is certainly not because there's a lack of respect for the Armenian script or a lack of talent in type design. It's because of a lack of profitability. Apache helps us, as a people. And I posit that the situation is similar with most minority scripts. Apache is in effect the best gift to them; the more restrictive licenses severely limit the development of high-quality fonts because there are very few people who will donate big chunks of their lives like that. I think Westerners -because they don't have to work as hard to survive- generally have trouble relating to this seemingly selfish -but in reality very communal, although not global- approach to spending one's time/resources.

But was it libre?

It has a minimal EULA that prohibits resale... but there's no talk of modification, which is intentional. I don't believe a no-mod clause is usually ethical, so there's no de jure restriction against somebody selling a modified Arasan. In practice however Arasan has not been redistributed/resold in a modified version (AFAIK) because most of its value comes from the embedded bitmaps, which is technically relatively tricky to do (although the tools are free); plus unlike a Latin font there aren't many niceties one can add anyway.

but the font designers wish that the fonts be treated as OFL ought to be respected, don't you think?

Not necessarily. I can feel entirely comfortable classing the needs of my people above the needs of one guy, especially if I feel he's failing to grasp the sociopolitical damage of moving away from Apache. It's not about him.

hhp

Té Rowan's picture

As I recall, licence changes are not usually retroactive. Also, you could always ask the original author if (s)he's OK with you forking an Apache-licensed branch off whatever thang you like.

hrant's picture

Question, mostly to Dave, but not only:
When did the Apache license start becoming sort of persona non grata? I ask because I did a search on "Apache" in my email and saw a message I'd forgotten about that surprised me.

hhp

abattis's picture

My views on this didn't change, but I note that GWF offers designers a choice of Apache or OFL, so you may have email from me offering you that choice :)

The philosophical difference between Apache and OFL is really the difference between BSD and GNU, which you can read about extensively elsewhere :)

They use their tools to serve their users better. / I think this is the weak link in your logic.

I'm operating on a longer time scale than everyone else; I think in terms of decades.

Jens Kutilek's picture

a libre license doesn't expire or terminate unless you breach the terms of the license - but the font designers wish that the fonts be treated as OFL ought to be respected, don't you think? :)

Hey, the font designers released their stuff under the Apache licence, so that once was their wish too.

I have a feeling that there are lots of type designers who later regret a contract they signed or a licence they gave out to anyone. But hey, so what. Everybody should consider the consequences of their action at the right time. E.g. I remember a tweet from some Google web font designer who wasn't pleased his font now was available in Google docs, or perhaps you heard Erik Spiekermann mention he can't get out of his contract for ITC Officina.

BTW here's a ZIP file of all the fonts that Google offers right now under the Apache licence. There are some nice fonts in it, like Open Sans or the Droid fonts.

And what Té said. My guess would be that at least some open source font designers may be open to offer their fonts under a different – even propietary – licence when you ask them nicely or make them a monetary offer.

hrant's picture

Dave, the reason I asked about the timing is that most Apache fonts are relatively old, supporting your view that designers no longer like it. The big exception Roboto. I wonder why (not a rhetorical question).

you may have email from me offering you that choice

Touché!

I think in terms of decades.

I'm Armenian - a decade is a morning stretch. :-)

Jens, well expressed.
Regret is a very educational emotion.

And thank you so much for that zip!
Are there many more non-Google Apache fonts? BTW currently I would like to find all the monospaced Apache fonts.

But about getting a designer to offer a more strict license:
- If it's exactly the same font as is available more freely, would that really work out? Considering -as we seem to agree- that this stuff is not retroactive (more below).
- If the more free license does not allow something, is the original designer nonetheless allowed to over-ride that? That would actually be an incentive to release an OFL font: get people hooked on your design, then make money on commissioned mods.

Two more questions for Dave:
- If the designer of a free/libre font changes his mind, do you think people should respect that decision and stop using the free/libre version?
- Can you cite actual cases of an Apache font being re-released under a stricter license?

hhp

Dan Gayle's picture

Given the sparsity of FOSS fonts, it's no surprise, ecause the Apache license isn't the most obvious license for fonts, and because even in the greater FOSS world Apache isn't used often.

Dan Gayle's picture

Wait, I just realized that Abattis is Dave Crossland. All this time, and I never knew? Hi Dave.

With regards to re-licensing, you can always go more free, but you cannot go less free. Once you've licensed something as BSD, for instance, you can't revoke that and make it GPL. You can fork it, or dual license it, or stop distributing it, but you cannot prevent someone else from redistributing or modifying their copy under the original license.

I don't know the specifics of the Apache license, but with MIT/BSD, you're explicitly allowed to re-license it however you want, provided you keep the original copyright stuff intact, but that only covers whatever copy you are distributing, not the originals.

This licensing stuff sucks.

Dan Gayle's picture

Also, Hrant, you can totally do what you want to do with Bitstream Vera Sans Mono.

From the License:
"Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of the fonts accompanying this license (“Fonts”) and associated documentation files (the “Font Software”), to reproduce and distribute the Font Software, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, merge, publish, distribute, and/or sell copies of the Font Software, and to permit persons to whom the Font Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions: "

Conditions being, rename it and keep the original copyright info intact.

charles ellertson's picture

On license changes, generally, remember

http://www.adobe.com/type/browser/legal/additional_licenses.html

I sure am glad that most of our Monotype/Linotype fonts were licensed long ago, under the (old) Adobe license. I'd hate to have to stand up in court & explain why I fixed the gefuched things in many of those fonts...

hrant's picture

you cannot go less free.

Well, maybe you can go less free sometimes. What I mean is: sure, you can't stop people from hunting down and using the more free license from before you changed your mind, but you can reduce the number of places the more free license version is available, in favor of more places the less free license version is. You can also use guilt tripping (like Dave was trying :-) to reduce how often the more free license is actually... consummated.

you can totally do what you want to do with Bitstream Vera Sans Mono.

Are you sure?
Do you think the first FAQ answer here
http://www-old.gnome.org/fonts/#Final_Bitstream_Vera_Fonts
is some sort of trickery?

Also, let's get a bit down-to-earth here: this
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_Freedom_Law_Center
seems to be the only entity that sues people who violate an "open"-flavor font license, and their last action was over three years ago. Have people been behaving? That would be a first... Or maybe the SFLC ran out of cash.

hhp

abattis's picture

Hrant, it isnt 'more free' since it leads to more non-free fonts. No? :)

hrant's picture

Like anything else, that depends on the perspective. From the perspective of graphic designers (and their clients) who think freedom comes from saving money, sure. But from the perspective of a type designer who thinks freedom comes from making money, a more "opportunistic" license (like Apache) is great. And from the perspective of a reader of a minority script who wants to be free of mediocre fonts, a type designer taking advantage of an opportunistic license is great. Which brings me to a central issue: freedom isn't just about how many fonts you have and how little they cost you, it's also about quality.

hhp

abattis's picture

Hey, the font designers released their stuff under the Apache licence, so that once was their wish too.

You may recall that a long time ago GWF offered the ability to donate money to font designers. The OFL forbids 'selling the font by itself' and so I arranged a deal with a few designers to use Apache (the only other license (modulo the UFL for Ubuntu fonts which is an anomaly) so that GWF could have the option to sell their fonts as fonts; it would probably been a 'pay what you wish before downloading' thing.

That's experiment is now long gone, so the designers want to switch to OFL.

I have a feeling that there are lots of type designers who later regret a contract they signed or a licence they gave out to anyone. But hey, so what. Everybody should consider the consequences of their action at the right time.

Indeed. ;)

E.g. I remember a tweet from some Google web font designer who wasn't pleased his font now was available in Google docs,

Hmm, I seem to have missed that one. I know Toshi Omagari tweeted surprise about Tangerine appearing in Adobe Edge Web Fonts, but I explained things and he was happy.

or perhaps you heard Erik Spiekermann mention he can't get out of his contract for ITC Officina.

No, I'm not familiar with this. Whats the story? :)

most Apache fonts are relatively old, supporting your view that designers no longer like it.

They always preferred OFL.

The big exception Roboto. I wonder why (not a rhetorical question).

Everything in AOSP is Apache, modulo the Linux kernel which is an anomaly.

Are there many more non-Google Apache fonts?

http://code.google.com/p/noto is coming along.

If the more free license does not allow something, is the original designer nonetheless allowed to over-ride that? That would actually be an incentive to release an OFL font: get people hooked on your design, then make money on commissioned mods.

Yes, the original designer OWNS the rights and so can distribute copies under lots of different licenses. If you receive a copy, you are bound by the terms under which you received it; but those terms don't bind the copyright holder.

And yes, some designers who release OFL fonts are doing so as 'loss leaders' for proprietary versions of the same fonts which are more complete - Ale Paul, for example - but Sorkin Type Co is running a better model I think; they are making the WEB fonts libre, and PRINT versions proprietary, so that the two are actually separate but intwined projects. That way, there isn't tension between community, libre progress and proprietary development.

If the designer of a free/libre font changes his mind, do you think people should respect that decision and stop using the free/libre version?

I want people to participate in libre culture because they genuinely think its a good idea. It seems a little mean to not respect their wishes.

Can you cite actual cases of an Apache font being re-released under a stricter license?

No. I can cite one case of an experienced type designer that wanted to rework a libre font, who ended up starting from scratch so the original license didn't apply anyway : http://www.anatoletype.net/fonts/dejarip

Wait, I just realized that Abattis is Dave Crossland. All this time, and I never knew? Hi Dave.

Haha! Hi Dan :-)

With regards to re-licensing, you can always go more free, but you cannot go less free. Once you've licensed something as BSD, for instance, you can't revoke that and make it GPL.

I'm quite sure you can take a BSD work as a piece of a larger work and make that overall work GPL, or proprietary.

You can fork it, or dual license it, or stop distributing it, but you cannot prevent someone else from redistributing or modifying their copy under the original license.

Not their copy, no, but another copy they get from you.

I don't know the specifics of the Apache license, but with MIT/BSD, you're explicitly allowed to re-license it however you want

Kinda. You can't 'relicense' it. You can distribute it under that license, which allows distributing it with additional restrictions. The GPL is more free because users can't be put under additional restrictions.

This licensing stuff sucks.

:)

Also, let's get a bit down-to-earth here: this
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_Freedom_Law_Center
seems to be the only entity that sues people who violate an "open"-flavor font license,

The FSF have been doing this for decades, and Haralde Welte has been doing his own GPL activism at http://gpl-violations.org

You don't hear about this much because the FSF's aim is software freedom through GPL compliance, not profits from lawsuits, so they quietly behind the scenes say, you could be sued for millions of dollars of copyright infringement, but we just want you to comply with the license which costs nothing. So they do that, instead.

their last action was over three years ago. Have people been behaving? That would be a first... Or maybe the SFLC ran out of cash.

By the look of it the last time I dropped by their office on Broadway in Manhatten, SFLC is financially buoyant. Think quiet settlements.

hrant's picture

Dave, thanks for the complete reply.

the original designer OWNS the rights and so can distribute copies under lots of different licenses.

Good to know.

It seems a little mean to not respect their wishes.

I agree it can be too opportunistic sometimes. But sometimes the OFL license is "mean" compared to the Apache one, for example when it reduces the quantity of quality fonts for a minority script. Considering the issue immediately above, that might often constitute locking out others with more time and/or ability to help a minority script just so the original designer can make more money. To me the needs of communities are more important than the desires of an individual. And these sorts of sentiments should in fact be integral to the spirit of open software, even though it might seem counter-intuitive sometimes (and sometimes it will in fact backfire).

Can you cite actual cases of an Apache font being re-released under a stricter license?

No.

This* does cast some doubt on your view that virtually all designers no longer like Apache. Certainly the near-hopelessness of enforcing a stricter license is a damper, but if people do expect their wishes to be respected (which is the first step to actually getting them respected :-) then the least they can do is revise the official position.

* Not to mention the still-standing elephant in the room, Roboto.

Think quiet settlements.

Somebody should work on making that more open. :-> Seriously, there's no greater deterrent than seeing other people punished for something you're considering doing.

--

The more I think about it, the more I believe Apache is a more magnanimous license. Remember, you don't have to charge money for a derivative work, and there will always be some people who don't; but if -directly- making money is the only way a given individual would feel free taking part in open software, that ends up helping others too.

hhp

abattis's picture

if -directly- making money is the only way a given individual would feel free taking part in open software, that ends up helping others too.

I have difficultly making sense out of this. In libre culture, making money is fine, selling copies is fine, but proprietary licensing is not fine. You seem to assert you can't make money with libre fonts. This isn't true.

hrant's picture

It's certainly possible to make money with libre fonts. In fact as I recently opined, eventually making money is the only reason some people make libre fonts! :-/

I wouldn't consider "proprietary licensing" an Evil thing of itself - it's just another factor. Anything can make sense sometimes. To me it's all about intentions.

My point was that if the only way a given person can feel free enough to make a given font is to make money on-the-spot (specifically, by selling a modified Apache font) and that ends up helping people who need need help* (hopefully because that was in fact one of** his intentions) then that's social justice right there.

* Like readers of a minority script- which to me are worth more than designers dealing with a minority script.

** There's never only one, plus making money isn't necessarily the biggest one.

hhp

abattis's picture

if the only way a given person can feel free enough to make a libre font is to make money on-the-spot (specifically, by selling a modified Apache font)

Well, is that modified Apache font a libre font or is it not?

hrant's picture

Sorry - replace "libre" with "given". (I've fixed my previous post.)

And to further elaborate: basically it's socially just when the end-users (readers) benefit via the tool user (graphic designer) paying money instead of the tool maker (type designer) losing time.

I think we need both OFL and Apache.

hhp

abattis's picture

I'm still confused about your position Hrant :) You say,

it's socially just when the end-users (readers) benefit via the tool user (graphic designer) paying money instead of the tool maker (type designer) losing time.

I have refuted your assertion that libre fonts require their makers to spent unpaid time on them, and you agreed -

It's certainly possible to make money with libre fonts

- so, is it MORE socially just when the end-users (readers) benefit when the tool user (graphic designer) has equitable relationship with the tool maker (type designer) and the tool maker still got paid for their time?

hrant's picture

I actually agree with all that - it's important to realize that it's not so clear-cut (although I do maintain that there is at least some correlation between quality and proprietariness). My focus here is on defending Apache: it can lead to more social justice, and OFL can restrict social justice (by de facto excluding people who can help end-users). So it's good to have both.

hhp

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