osp blog

Bitstream Charter

To my surprise Bitstream Charter, one of the few usable Open Source fonts around I know of, is currently published on myfonts.com with the following licence: http://www.myfonts.com/viewlicense?id=315


Florian Cramer explains what is really going on:

"That's true, but the license change refers to a newer version of Bitstream Charter. A copyright owner of a work is free to change the licensing terms any time, either rendering a formely free work proprietary or vice versa. But a license change can never be retroactive, i.e. it can't affect the licensing terms of a previously released version of the same work. (Same happened to SSH for example: The original SSH continues to be developed as proprietary software, whereas OpenSSH - included among others in Mac OS X and Linux - was developed on the basis of an older, free version of the original SSH package.)

An older version of Bitstream Charter was donated to the X Window system and continues to be available under the extremely liberal MIT/X11 license. In Debian and Ubuntu, the font is part of the package "xfonts-scalable" which is in the fully free standard distribution.


The "Gentium" font is another interesting typeface that just has switched to a free license. However, the license is still under review by Debian. It's a classicist font that looks more conservative than Charter, but it offers a greater number of international glyphs."