Then, now, and the future of open source fonts

Crossland moved on to The University of Reading’s department of typography and its program for a master’s degree in typeface design. Gaultney was a third-year student in that program who created the Gentium font and published it as a free software font. However, unsatisfied with the free software licenses, he created the Open Font License (SIL Open Font License).

During his own course of study, Crossland created Cantarell in 2009 using only free software, specifically FontForge, which was created by George Williams. Cantarell is now the default font in GNOME (and one of the official Fedora fonts). Williams started the FontForge project when QT and GDK didn’t support Unicode.

At the same time, he began work on the Open Font Library, a spinoff of the openclipart site, which came from the Inkscape community. Today the OFL is open to anyone who wants to upload a free font and share it. When HTML5 became an option, they added the feature to link to a font from your CSS to use that font in your webpage. Google ended up doing something similar with the webfonts API. It became popular, and when they decided to expand the collection, they reached out to Crossland for help.

Get the Free Newsletter!

Subscribe to Developer Insider for top news, trends, & analysis