SIL Open Font License

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SIL Open Font License
OFL logo rect color.svg
AuthorSIL International
Latest version1.1
PublishedFebruary 2007; 14 years ago (2007-02)
SPDX identifierOFL-1.0, OFL-1.1
Debian FSG compatibleYes[1]
FSF approvedYes[2]
OSI approvedYes[3]

The SIL Open Font License (or OFL in short) is one of the major open font licenses, which allows embedding, or "bundling",[4] of the font in commercially sold products.[5]


The Open Font License was first created by Victor Gaultney, designer of the Gentium font, who was unsatisfied with existing font licenses, and Nicolas Spalinger.[6]

SIL International designed the Open Font License for use with many of their Unicode fonts, including Gentium Plus, Charis SIL, and Andika.[7] The license was first released in February 2007, six months after the GPL font exception was released.

Prior to the release of the OFL, the Bitstream Vera fonts had been released in 2003 under most of the same terms and conditions.[8]

Open-source fonts are a popular choice among designers, and most open-source fonts utilize the Open Font License.[9] For example, it was used to license a font made by the US government.[10]


OFL is a free and open source license.[7][11] The license is considered free by the Free Software Foundation, which states that a simple hello world program is enough to satisfy the license's requirement that fonts using the license be distributed with computer software when selling them.[2] The Debian project agrees.[1]

The Open Font License is a free software license, and as such permits the fonts to be used, modified, and distributed freely (so long as the resulting fonts remain under the Open Font License). However, the copyright holder may declare the font's name as being a "Reserved Font Name", which modified versions then cannot bear. (This includes subsetting for web fonts.) The license permits covered fonts to be freely embedded in documents under any terms. The only stipulation is that fonts cannot be sold on their own, though they may be included in software bundles for sale.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b The DFSG and Software Licenses
  2. ^ a b c FSF: Licenses for Fonts
  3. ^
  4. ^ Spalinger, Nicolas; Gaultney, Victor (September 19, 2010). "Question: 1.15 What about distributing fonts with a document? Within a compressed folder structure? Is it distribution, bundling or embedding?". OFL-FAQ web version (1.1-update5). SIL International. Archived from the original on August 7, 2019. Retrieved November 3, 2019.
  5. ^ Garish, Matt; Gylling, Markus (2013). Epub 3 Best Practices (PDF). O’Reilly Media, Inc. p. 139. ISBN 978-1-449-32914-3. Archived (PDF) from the original on November 3, 2019.
  6. ^ Suehle, Ruth. "Then, now, and the future of open source fonts". Retrieved March 5, 2021.
  7. ^ a b c "SIL Open Font License (OFL)". Retrieved March 5, 2021.
  8. ^ "Bitstream Vera Fonts – April 16, 2003 – GNOME". Retrieved March 5, 2021.
  9. ^ Wagner, Josh; Stein, Joel (August 21, 2020). "Goldman Sachs Has Money. It Has Power. And Now It Has a Font". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved March 5, 2021.
  10. ^ "Why the US Government Just Made Its Own Font, Open Sans". Retrieved March 5, 2021.
  11. ^ "Open Source License Comparison Grid" (PDF). CMU. Archived (PDF) from the original on September 21, 2017. Retrieved November 3, 2019.

External links[edit]