Open-source Unicode typefaces

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Screenshot of type set in several different free (libre) sans-serif typefaces: Latin Modern Sans, Liberation Sans, Arimo, FreeSans, Nimbus Sans L, Tex Gyre Heros, Droid Sans, Roboto, Noto, Bitstream Vera Sans, and DejaVu Sans.
Examples of several libre, sans-serif typefaces.

A few projects exist to provide free and open-source Unicode typefaces, i.e. Unicode typefaces which are open-source and designed to contain glyphs of all Unicode characters, or at least a broad selection of Unicode scripts. There are also numerous projects aimed at providing only a certain script, such as the Arabeyes Arabic font. The advantage of targeting only some scripts with a font was that certain Unicode characters should be rendered differently depending on which language they are used in, and that a font that only includes the characters a certain user needs will be much smaller in file size compared to one with many glyphs. Unicode fonts in modern formats such as OpenType can in theory cover multiple languages by including multiple glyphs per character, though very few actually cover more than one language's forms of the unified Han characters.

History[edit]

GNU Unifont[edit]

GNU Unifont is a bitmap-based font created by Roman Czyborra that is present in most free operating systems and windowing systems such as Linux, XFree86 or the X.Org Server. The font is released under the GNU General Public License Version 2+ with a font embedding exception.

Fixed[edit]

The Fixed X11 public-domain core bitmap fonts have provided substantial Unicode coverage since 1997.

21st Century[edit]

2000s[edit]

Free UCS Outline Fonts[edit]

The Free UCS Outline Fonts [1] (also known as freefont) is a font collection project. The project was started by Primož Peterlin and is currently administered by Steve White. The aim of this project has been to produce a package of fonts by collecting existing free fonts and special donations, to support as many Unicode characters as possible. The font family is released as GNU FreeFont under the GNU General Public License. It also supports several font formats, including PostScript, TrueType, and OpenType. For this reason the fonts are derived from original work made in FontForge, and stored in .sfd (Spline Font Database) files. The most recent release is from May 2012.

SIL fonts[edit]

SIL International offers a large number of fonts, editors, translation and book production systems[2] as part of their goal to bridge the digital divide to minority languages. This site contains many utilities for Windows systems, including right-to-left editors, keymappers, RTF translators, and high-quality, free Unicode fonts. SIL publish their fonts under their own SIL Open Font License. Typefaces include Charis SIL, Doulos SIL, Gentium and Andika.

MPH 2B Damase[edit]

Mark Williamson's MPH 2B Damase is a free font encoding many non-Latin scripts, including the Unicode 4.1 scripts in the Supplementary Multilingual Plane: Armenian, Cherokee, Coptic, Cypriot Syllabary, Cyrillic, Deseret, Georgian, Glagolitic, Gothic, Greek, Hebrew, Latin, Limbu, Linear B (partial coverage), Old Italic, Old Persian cuneiform, Osmanya, Phoenician, Shavian, Syloti Nagri (no conjuncts), Tai Le (no combining tone marks), Thaana, Tifinagh, Ugaritic, and Vietnamese.[3]

IndUni fonts[edit]

The IndUni fonts are a GPL-licensed font family with many accents and combining characters, especially suitable for Indic, Indian and Nepali (Sanskrit, Prakrit, Hindi) and Middle Eastern languages and Urdu in transliteration. It also includes characters for Avestan and for the Pinyin representation of Chinese, a set of Cyrillic characters and a basic set of Greek letters. The fonts implement almost the whole of the Multilingual European Subset 1 of Unicode. Also provided are keyboard handlers for Windows and the Mac, making input easy.

They are based on fonts designed by URW++ Design and Development Incorporated, and offer lookalikes for Courier, Helvetica, Times, Palatino, and New Century Schoolbook.[4]

2010s[edit]

Noto fonts[edit]

Noto is a font family designed to cover all the scripts encoded in the Unicode standard. It is designed with the goal of achieving visual harmony (e.g., compatible heights and stroke thicknesses) across multiple languages/scripts. Commissioned by Google, the font is licensed under the SIL Open Font License.[5] Until September 2015, the fonts were under the Apache License 2.0.[6]

2020s[edit]

Kurinto Font Folio[edit]

Kurinto is a large collection of Pan-Unicode, OFL-licensed fonts. The intended use-case is academic publishing, especially when authoring in Microsoft Word and publishing to PDF. The primary goal is to address issues when mixing languages using Latin script with secondary languages using other scripts.[7]

Comparison[edit]

Font name License Date / version Notes
Amiri Font OFL 2020-06-02 / 0.113 Digitalization of a Naskh styled Arabic metal typeface by the Bulaq Press of Cairo, Egypt
BabelStone Han Arphic Public License 2020-07-19 / 13.0.8 A unicode CJK font with over 41,000 Han characters (hanzi, kanji, hanja), and over 53,000 unicode characters currently.
Bitstream Vera Bitstream Vera fonts license 2003-04-16 / 1.10
Canada1500 Public domain 2017-06-19 / 1.100 Created by Ray Larabie for the Canadian sesquicentennial; released into the public domain shortly before Canada Day 2017. A pan-Unicode extension of Larabie's "Mesmerize," in turn inspired by Kabel and Semplicità.
Cardo OFL 2011-04-20 / 1.04 Unicode 6 and MUFI v3-compatible
Caslon Roman OFL or BSD-like license 2001-12-16
CMU family OFL 2012-08-29 / 0.7.0 An updated version of Computer Modern (CMU is an abbreviation for Computer Modern Unicode).
Culmus collection of fonts GPL 2 + font exception 2018-09-30 / 0.133 A basic collection of Hebrew fonts aimed at Hebrew-speaking GNU/Linux and Unix community
DejaVu fonts license 2016-07-30 / 2.37 A modification and wide extension of Bitstream Vera fonts
Droid fonts Apache license 2007 A collection of fonts developed for Google's Android mobile phone operating system
EB Garamond OFL 2011
ET Book MIT 2016-07-08
Fedorovsk Unicode GPL, OFL Old Cyrillic script
Fira Sans OFL 2018-03-20 / 4.3 Commissioned for Firefox OS
Fixed 1997 The Fixed X11 public-domain core bitmap fonts have provided substantial Unicode coverage since 1997.
Fixedsys Excelsior public domain 2007 / 3.01
Gentium OFL or BSD-like license 2014-10-28 / 5.000
Ghostscript GPL, AFPL, LPPL[8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15] 2020-03-19 / 9.52 URW ++ Type 1 fonts, a free alternatives to 35 basic PostScript fonts—e.g. Type 1 version of Nimbus Roman No9 L, Nimbus Sans L, Nimbus Mono L, URW Bookman L, URW Gothic L and others
GNU Unifont GPL 2+ 2020-07-03 / 13.0.03 GNU Unifont is a bitmap-based font created by Roman Czyborra that is present in most free operating systems.
"Hanazono Fonts" (in Japanese and English). (permissive license) 2017-09-04 One of the few free software fonts that includes the whole CJK Unified Ideographs Extension C block, as well as many other (related) CJKV characters, such as the Kangxi Radicals and CJK Radicals Supplement blocks.
IBM Plex OFL 2019-06-05 / 2.0 IBM Plex is designed and developed by Mike Abbink at IBM in collaboration with Bold Monday, it is the replacement of Helvetica as the corporate typeface.
Jomolhari OFL Tibetan script
Junicode GPL 2018-06-25 / 1.002
Kelvinch Font OFL, free for any use 2016-04-18 Most Latin blocks fully populated + Cyrillic, Georgian, Armenian & Runes. Comes in Roman, Italic, Bold & Bold Italic.
Kurinto Font Folio OFL 2020-07-26 / 2.196 Pan-Unicode, 21 typefaces, 506 fonts, coverage of most of Unicode v12.1 plus many auxiliary scripts including the UCSUR.
Latin Modern GUST licence Another derivative of Computer Modern
Lato OFL 2015-08-06 / 2.015 Covers all Latin alphabets, along with Cyrillic, Greek, and IPA
Liberastika fonts GPL + font exception Is a derivative of Liberation fonts with improved Cyrillic
Liberation fonts OFL 2019-03-04 / 2.00.5 Liberation is the collective name of four TrueType font families: Liberation Sans, Liberation Sans Narrow, Liberation Serif and Liberation Mono. These fonts are metrically compatible with Monotype Corporation's Arial, Arial Narrow, Times New Roman, and Courier New (respectively). Versions since 2.00 use OFL while older versions use GPL + font exception.
Linux Libertine GPL, OFL 2012-07-06 / 5.3.0 Linux Libertine is a digital typeface created by the Libertine Open Fonts Project, which aims to create free and open alternatives to proprietary typefaces such as Times Roman.
M+ FONTS Permissive free software licence[16] 2017-10-25 / v 063
Menaion Unicode GPL, OFL Old Cyrillic script and Glagolitic script
Monomakh Unicode GPL, OFL Latin and Old Cyrillic script
New Athena Unicode OFL 2019-12-08 / 5.007
Noto fonts OFL Commissioned by Google
Old Standard TT GPL, OFL 2011-04-30 / 2.2 A Unicode font family for classical, medieval and Slavic studies; based upon Centuryalternative download at fontspace.com

An unofficial extension, New Standard, is available at 1001Fonts and includes an expanded character set.

Overpass OFL Commissioned by Red Hat as FOSS alternative to Interstate.
Oxygen fonts GPL + font exception or OFL Created by the KDE community, this font is optimised for the FreeType font rendering system and works well in all graphical user interfaces, desktops and devices. Alternative download at fontsquirrel.com
Ponomar Unicode GPL, OFL Old Cyrillic script
Roboto Apache license 2017-08-03 / 2.138 A collection of fonts developed for Google's Android mobile phone operating system
SIL fonts OFL Typefaces include Charis SIL, Doulos SIL and Gentium.
Source Han Sans OFL 2019 By Adobe
Source Han Serif OFL 2017 By Adobe
Source Sans Pro and Source Code Pro OFL 2019 By Adobe
Source Serif Pro OFL 2019 By Adobe
Squarish Sans CT OFL 2013 A clone of Bank Gothic, developed for the Aleph One game engine. Focuses mainly on Latin glyphs and some symbols.
STIX OFL 2019 / 2.0.2 Based on Times New Roman.
Symbola No license, "free for any use"[17] 2018-02 / 10.24 A restrictive personal-use-only, no-derivative-works, no-redistribution license has been attached to all versions since version 11.
TeX Gyre collection of fonts GUST licence
Ubuntu Font Family Ubuntu Font License 2011-03-07 / Ubuntu 11.10
UniFraktur OFL 2017-03-19

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Free UCS Outline Fonts
  2. ^ NRSI: Computers and Writing Systems
  3. ^ Details for MPH 2B Damase
  4. ^ IndUni fonts, by John Smith
  5. ^ "Noto Font". Retrieved November 24, 2015.
  6. ^ "Add NEWS for license change - googlei18n/noto-fonts". Retrieved 2016-04-03.
  7. ^ "Kurinto Font Folio". Retrieved 2020-07-26.
  8. ^ "Ghostscript SVN - URW fonts". Google Code. Google. Retrieved 2010-04-21.
  9. ^ "Debian package - gsfonts". packages.debian.org. Debian. Retrieved 2010-04-21.
  10. ^ "Fonts and font facilities supplied with Ghostscript". Ghostscript. Retrieved 2010-04-21.
  11. ^ URW++ making original 35 fonts available under LPPL, tug.org, retrieved 2010-05-06
  12. ^ Finally! Good-quality free (GPL) basic-35 PostScript Type 1 fonts., archived from the original on 2002-10-23, retrieved 2010-05-06
  13. ^ Finally! Good-quality free (GPL) basic-35 PostScript Type 1 fonts. (TXT), tug.org, retrieved 2010-05-06
  14. ^ "Fonts and TeX". 2009-12-19. Retrieved 2010-05-06.
  15. ^ Five years after: Report on international TEX font projects (PDF), tug.org, 2007, retrieved 2010-05-06
  16. ^ "License". M+ Outline Fonts. osdn.jp.
  17. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-02-12. Retrieved 2018-02-12.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]