Image of the glider from the Game of Life by John Conway
Skip to content

Use Free Fonts

I just caught up on my feeds, and read Carthik Sharma's post, Installing Vista Fonts In Ubuntu. From a completely Free Software standpoint, I'm going to argue why you would not want to do this.

First, is the license itself, which should always be looked at when dealing with fonts, media, codecs or software. These fonts are not Free Software in the least, as the license is extremely restrictive. Directly from the mouth of Microsoft (emphasis mine):

Q. What can I do with the fonts supplied with Microsoft products?
A. The fonts are governed by the same restrictions as the products they are supplied with. You are not allowed to copy, redistribute or reverse engineer the font files. For full details see the license agreement supplied with the product.

Why would you want to intentionally install non-free software on your machine? Especially, when there is such a massive availability of Free Software fonts? Are these fonts really that great? I took a look over them (PDF), and I think not. These are just core fonts, and I personally think there are better ones out there.

To start, there are the Liberation fonts from Red Hat. These are also core fonts, which personally, I think have the upper hand on the ClearType fonts from Microsoft. Not only are they Free Software, licensed under the GPL, they are tight, clear and good looking. Next, I found a core font list from Fedora listed by license, most of which are very appealing. These can be found here. Finally, Debian only includes Free Software in their main distribution, including a great list of Free Software fonts.

Please don't take this negatively, but promoting non-free software on Planet Ubuntu should be discouraged. We want to encourage the use of Free Software whenever possible. Of course, Free Software doesn't meet everyone's needs, but nevertheless, still should be advocated. We want to advocate the use of Free Software drivers, fonts, media, codecs and software at all costs. We want to encourage hardware vendors to open their specs. We are the GNU Generation- what message are we sending when we install and advocate the use of non-free software?

Carthik- thank you for your post, but I hope people do not install the Microsoft ClearType fonts, and choose Free alternatives instead.

Thanks for reading.

{ 17 } Comments