[Foundation-l] Dream a little...

Gregory Maxwell gmaxwell at gmail.com
Sun Oct 15 18:54:23 UTC 2006

On 10/15/06, Erik Zachte <erikzachte at infodisiac.com> wrote:
> Here is a specific one that hopefully would even be possible within our
> current budget:
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Code2000
> This is an amazing labour of love by one person, James Kass, and distributed
> as shareware for a meagre $5.
> As far as I know there is no font file that comes close in breadth of
> coverage,
> except perhaps for MsArialUnicode, which is a 25 Mb font file from
> Microsoft, and not free nor shareware :(

DejaVu is a truly free (BSDish + PD) collaboratively developed high
quality font which is suitable for system wide use. It is already the
default font on most popular Linux distributions.


The coverages of code 2000 and DejaVu are not identical.

Given that the font is distributed for a small fee it is not unlikely
that we could get it freed fairly cheaply.  However, I believe it
would be foolish for us to spend money freeing a font without
collaborating with the DejaVu folks. As it stands today, code2000 is
not really suitable for use as a system wide font on most desktops: it
doesn't have broad typeface support and doesn't have high quality
hinted latin coverage.

I think this brings up an important issue: If we start paying people
for content which was created mostly not for profit but is distributed
with a nuisance license (cc-by-nc-nd for example, or distributed as $5
shareware to a small market)... Do we not risk creating a situation
where people are rewarded for not completely freeing their content
when they would otherwise without our program?  Where people will
instead lobby their friends with authority in the WMF to kick them
money.. Do we not risk insulting the rest of our contributors who give
us valuable works without an expectation of compensation?

I think that if we get the funding to make an impact we should be
careful to spend it on:

1) Things which further our educational mission the most: I think a
font might qualify, but only if we could reasonably expect people to
accept it as the default font in their browsers...  but on the other
hand, "all of U2's albums" would be nifty but not really furthering
our goals.

2) Things which would be the most difficult to replace without the
funding: A $5 shareware font which has huge overlap with an existing
free content project does not fair well on this criteria.

How about recordings of out of copyright (i.e. classical)  music?  The
only rights holder should be whomever recorded it and whomever they
signed agreements with in order to be permitted to record it.  There
are a number of small record labels such as [[Nimbus Records]] as well
as the concert halls themselves which have large libraries of music.
I think this would only be worthwhile as a funded endeavor if it could
land us a truly massive archive which would enable us to illustrate a
majority of our articles on long-dead composers.

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