Programmers: license for SignWriting symbols (ISWA)
slevin at SIGNPUDDLE.NET
Tue May 29 21:50:31 UTC 2007
If the SignWriting Symbols were under the OFL, then any application Open
or Closed could use those symbols. Software is not a derivative of the
symbols. Software uses the symbols. Under the OFL, a commercial
product is allowed to include the OFL fonts as a part of the software
A derivative of the SignWriting Symbols would still be a set of
symbols. Maybe someone will clean up the white palms in our current
IMWA. Or maybe someone would create a half sized symbol set. These new
symbol sets would need to be released under the OFL.
According to the OFL, it is not permitted to sell the fonts by
themselves. It is also not permitted to modify the fonts and sell the
> Our whole programs are based on the SignWriting Symbols. The font
> software is the program. Which according to this would have to be
> distributed under OFL.
>> Do you know of another license that you would prefer? Are there other
>> licenses that are better known by programmers or better suited for
>> the ISWA?
> No I don't
>> On May 27, 2007, at 11:25 AM, GerardM wrote:
>>> To be clear, Valerie is categorically clear that the SignWriting
>>> symbols need to remain as freely available as they have always been.
>>> Practically nothing is to change. It is just that clarification of
>>> these things will take away the suspicion that some people have when
>>> this issue is not addressed.
> Do you feel that I understand the part about derivative works? Or
> am I missing something? Because this would be a change as to how
> things are now.
>>> SIL Open Font License
>>> Our question to programmers who use SignWriting...
>>> How do you feel about the OFL License?
> I am not particularly comfortable with it for the above mentioned
>>> If the SignWriting symbols are placed under the OFL License, will you
>>> feel free to use the symbols for your programming? That is what
>>> matters to me.
> I much prefer the your word that I can use SignWriting and the
> PNG's as freely as you have mentioned several times here on the list.
> I feel that the OFL would be taking away from those freedoms. I would
> much prefer you just posted a statement on your web site, much like
> the one you already have, stating what can (or even can't) be done
> with SignWriting and the png files and other resources.
> But I am sure that anybody that is developing Open Source under
> FLOSS would prefer the OFL.
> Sandy Fleming wrote:
>> I'm not sure about this.
>> The site doesn't seem to define what it means by a "font". So far we
>> have Val's PNG symbols and Machado's SVG symbols. Do either of these
>> count as a font? It would seem to me that the PNG would come under som
>> sort of images license and the the SVGs under some sort of software
>> In the "Working Model" diagram, the site talks about "Other software
>> product bundled for specific languages/scripts", but even so, what we
>> have so far handles PNGs and SVGs, not fonts.
> I would have a hard time considering the PNG or SVGs as a font. Not
> unless they were coupled with a rendered, without which they are just
> Valerie Sutton wrote:
>> SignWriting List
>> May 28, 2007
>> Hello Sandy and Everyone -
>> Sandy...Thank you for your response below. Your reaction was the same
>> as mine... SignWriting is not a font. It is an alphabet. Gerard told
>> me it was hard to find a license already written that fits
>> SignWriting exactly.
>> For those list members reading this message and wondering what we are
>> talking about.....A font is more typography...like different
>> typefaces. We can have many different typeface designs in SignWriting
>> symbols just as we can have many different typeface designs in the
>> Roman Alphabet. Helvetica and Geneva fonts are not different
>> alphabets. They are the same alphabet in different typography
>> designs, placed on a font which can then be licensed under the OFL (I
>> And even though it is true that the symbols I am putting together for
>> the ISWA are PNGs (at the moment) and later will become SVG, the PNGs
>> and SVG versions of the symbols are not SignWriting either...at least
>> what I had understood from people was that they wanted a license to
>> use the SignWriting alphabet in general...no matter what the device
>> used to write with...
>> So I wonder...Can we write our own license? I could draft a Free
>> SignWriting License, where I explain in detail what SignWriting is,
>> and specify what people can and cannot do...which will be open, I
>> assure you ;-))
> I am for writing our own license. Though as Gerard mentioned further
> down, it might not be taken very well by the Open Source community
> because it probably won't conform to their standards as "Free" as they
> understand it. That all derived works remain under the same license.
> As I understand it, the Open Source community gets it's funds from
> technical support. Which is to their advantage to always have the
> programs distributed with the source code so that they can give better
> tech support and write patches. To not make the source code of
> programs public and let anybody derive from a derived work is against
> their philosophy.
>> Are we allowed to create our own license? It would encompass free use
>> of SignWriting PNGs, SVGs, the Sutton Fonts, SignWriter DOS and Java
>> source code, writing by hand, free downloading of photos and
>> documents on the SignWriting-related web sites, and permission to
>> publish using SignWriting.
>> I could write a first draft of this Free SignWriting License, and
>> post it to the SW List for feedback...
>> What do you think? Val ;-)
> I like the idea
> Steve Slevinski wrote:
>> Hi Val,
>> Valerie Sutton wrote:
>>> When they say font, they do not mean TrueType specifically, but
>>> instead it is a more general term for font, and so our ISWA could be
>>> licensed under the OFL, whether it is PNG or SVG or whatever
>>> format...Have I understood that correctly?
>> Yes. That is my understanding as well.
>>> But your concern at the end of your message also concerns me...If we
>>> cannot license with a second license, does that mean if we have new
>>> software that uses the ISWA, and that software has another kind of
>>> license too, can the OFL be used inside that second license?;-))
>> Don't worry about this. The OFL is only concerned with the font.
>> Software that uses the font can be under any license.
> The OFL web page does talk about source code. But it might be only be
> referring to the guide lines from other FLOSS licenses.
>>> I was thinking I could draft a Free SignWriting License, where I
>>> explain in detail what SignWriting is, and specify what people can
>>> and cannot do...which will be open, I assure you ;-))
>> It would probably be a good idea.
>>> The Free SignWriting License could encompass free use of SignWriting
>>> graphics, PNGs, SVGs, the Sutton Fonts, SignWriter DOS and Java
>>> source code, writing by hand, free downloading of photos and
>>> documents on the SignWriting-related web sites, and permission to
>>> publish using SignWriting.
>> Yes and no. I think the Free SignWriting License should only include
>> the SignWriting ideas and the SignWriting alphabet. Adding specifics
>> for fonts, software, images, and everything else will just complicate
>> matters. Besides, a license is different than what is released under
>> the license.
> I think that if the same rules and regulations are to apply to
> everything then one license should suffice for everything. But if not
> then leave out on this round what it doesn't apply to. The license
> those when there is more time.
> Valerie Sutton wrote:
>> SignWriting List
>> May 28, 2007
>> Hello Steve, Sandy, Gerard and everyone -
>> Thank you for these excellent points below...they are well-taken!
>> You can see why I never created a license before...it was easier to
>> say nothing than to stipulate, because when you stipulate, there will
>> always be someone who feels frightened or limited by the
>> license...just the very word "license" brings up the idea of
>> So the point of the Free SignWriting License would be to calm
>> everyone's fears and worries...more like a personal message from me,
>> rather than a legal document. We could refer people to that web page
>> whenever someone writes to ask...
> I agree.
>> If I write the Free SignWriting License with all of your help,
>> feedback and approval...then we should dispel some of this I hope!
>> Plus combine that with the OFL License and other possible
>> Licenses...and this issue will be resolved I hope!
> The Free SignWriting License is a good idea. You might have a hard
> time combining it with the OFL as it isn't as "Free" as your "Free".
> Sandy Fleming wrote:
>>> So the point of the Free SignWriting License would be to calm
>>> everyone's fears and worries...more like a personal message from me,
>>> rather than a legal document. We could refer people to that web page
>>> whenever someone writes to ask...
>> Don't forget that in order to preserve openness and freedom, you have to
>> stop other people from closing it. There are a lot of legal battles in
>> the software industry due to companies simply noticing that something
>> isn't licensed (or it is licensed but they try to pretend that they
>> thought of it first), then taking a copy of it and copyrighting it for
>> Outside of software, you may remember how in the past few years a
>> company developed speed cameras that worked by averaging a car's speed
>> over a certain stretch of road. The company that developed it didn't
>> patent it because they didn't believe that patents were a good thing. A
>> Canadian lawyer spotted this and opened a patent on it for himself, even
>> though he hadn't done a stroke of work on it! This led to the
>> introduction of averaging speed cameras being delayed for months while
>> the legal problems were sorted out.
>> This is the sort of thing the license has to prevent. It needs to say,
>> in effect, that "You can copy this and change it in any way you want,
>> but you have to issue your version under the same open license." This
>> prevents anyone from closing the license and making SignWriting
> As long a SignWriting is open and free they will be only closing their
> own derived version. Everybody can continue using the original
> freely. The speed camera issue is different, the lawyer patented on
> the original idea not on a derived idea.
>> I think we need to be clear that SignWriting isn't a font. For example,
>> the ISWA pngs and Machado's SVGs look quite different on the page and to
>> my mind this makes them two different fonts. If Val and Machado both
>> issue these under an open license, does this stop someone from issuing
>> their own SignWriting fonts, some prettier, some more practical, some
>> just bizarre in a fun way, and then copyrighting them so they can make
>> money out of them? I think this should be allowed. As in the oral world,
>> we can have a million SignWriting fonts, some open, some closed, some
>> free, some expensive, and some that nobody cares about :)
>> Hi Gerard,
>> On Mon, 2007-05-28 at 23:07 +0200, GerardM wrote:
>>> There is a clear distinction between the rights of a copyright holder
>>> and the rights of a licensee.
> Could the copyright holder put OFL license on a font for those who
> prefer FLOSS and another license for those who prefer it to be more open?
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