Challenges and issues in Open Source font development – London 11/12/07

David Crossland and Conrad Taylor will lead discussion about the challenges and issues in Open Source font development at a meeting of the British Computer Society Open Source Specialist Group (OSSG) supported by the Electronic Publishing Specialist Group (EPSG) on Tuesday 11th December 2007 from 1800 hours at the BCS Central London Offices, First Floor, The Davidson Building, 5 Southampton Street, London WC2E 7HA. The meeting is open and free to all to attend.

The discussion will include these topics:

* how digital fonts are designed and what are the technical, linguistic and aesthetic issues involved

* business and licensing models for fonts; and the problems of serving minority language communities and specialist  scientific/technical communities caused by the standard business model

* the opportunities and problems of “free-of-cost” and “free-as-in-freedom” (open source) fonts

* the relation of open source collective/peer production to the aesthetic challenges of designing a harmonious new font

* a vision of how multilingual computing with Unicode and OpenType can assist the literacy and economic development of developing nations and linguistically diverse cultures

The evening will include a demonstration of relevant tools including FontForge, and some of the existing font projects like DejaVu and Gentium.

After the first hour and break, there will be extensive opportunities to discuss the issues and software presented, the business models that support free software and how they might apply to font software, and how you can get involved in the font community in such areas as software engineering, desktop user interface design, web-app development, and of course designing new fonts!

Dave Crossland:
is currently studying in the MA Typeface Design programme in the Department of Typography & Graphic Communication at the University of Reading. He has worked for over 5 years as a GNU/Linux systems administrator, and runs a small IT consultancy in his hometown of Bournemouth. He has used Debian since 1999, and believes strongly in the principles of freedom and community that underpin the software freedom movement.

Conrad Taylor:
has been working as a typographic designer and industrial design educator for 30 years, and has a particular interest in multi-script typesetting issues. He is currently the Chair of the BCS Electronic Publishing Specialist Group.

To book a place at this event please email your name to the OSSG events coordinator:

Free buffet and refreshments including wine available from around 1800 hours.

For further information please contact Paul Adams at

Map & directions:

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