Mmmmmm, free fonts...

Jim.Gettys at Jim.Gettys at
Wed Jan 22 22:47:14 UTC 2003

Guilty as charged :-).  To answer the obvious question: yes, you'll be
able to redistribute them as part of Squeak.

10 fonts; basically, serif, sans, and mono, in 3 faces; with Xft and
fontconfig we oblique the missing one of each.  I think the serif font
has all four of the usual faces (normal, bold, oblique (italic), bold oblique

I hope preliminary versions will be available next week, (no redistribution)
and final versions available in a month (free redistribtion).

Here's what I recently posted to Slashdot to clarify things.

 Ok, folks, here a bit more information for you.

1) We hope a preliminary version of the fonts will be available next week for download, but no redistribution. They still need some work; consider this a beta test.

2) We hope finished fonts will be available in a month or so, after Jim Lyles (the font designer) has finished them up. We need a few changes: the font family Vera is derived from (Prima) has "0" and "O" too hard to distinguish, and similarly for "1" and "l", given our often technical audience.

There is also some work on hinting, etc, to finish up.

When finished, they will go under a copyright which allows you (roughly) to fold, spindle, and mutilate the fonts, so long as you change the name to something else, and you can sell them so long as you don't sell them by themselves. You can sell them with any software whatsoever. You can freely redistribute the fonts anywhere, anytime, unmodified under that name.

The sale provision is that Bitstream does not want other font vendors to just drop the fonts into their font sale mechanisms and sell them, something they are giving away.

I can't say I blame them.

3) the coverage of these fonts is roughly western european; there is the possibility of some fonts in the future with wider coverage, but as that those fonts are not yet complete, I don't want to say much more, as their availability is much less certain.

4) You can get a good idea of what the fonts look like and what the coverage is by the following URL (once the slashdot effect allows Bitstream to recover). htext=Prima

Now you know where the name Vera comes from :-).

5) the agreement also covers potentially adding characters to the family under the Bitstream Vera name, but Bitstream (and Gnome) reserve the right to approve the additions: we want to *know* when we open fonts of these names that we have what we expect. Feel free to hack to your hearts content under other names, however.
Jim Gettys
Cambridge Research Laboratory
HP Labs, Hewlett-Packard Company
Jim.Gettys at

> Sender: squeak-dev-bounces at
> From: "Gavin Scott" <gavin at>
> Date: Wed, 22 Jan 2003 14:35:35 -0800
> To: <squeak-dev at>
> Subject: Mmmmmm, free fonts...
> -----
> Slashdot is reporting that the Gnome people have talked Bitstream into
> licensing a total of ten high-quality fonts for use in free software.  I
> haven't gone to see what the actual license looks like, but I thought it
> might be worth mentioning here.  The press release is at:
> G.

More information about the Squeak-dev mailing list