SIL Open Font License is very clear and easy to understand, but I can't understand Apache License. Can anyone tell me the differences between Open Font License and Apache License (especially 2.0)? https://www.fontsquirrel.com/license/arimo

1 Answer 1


Apache 2.0 vs SIL Open Font License 1.1

To begin with, the Apache license was created with computer software in mind, as a free/open license that requires a software's source code to be freely available. As it can be argued what the source of a font really is and because using and sharing fonts have quite specific needs, SIL decided to create a new free license for use with fonts. The Open Font License (OFL) was born, with a much more simple language.

Thus, the underlying difference between these two licenses is for what purpose they were designed: software in general vs fonts specifically.

In general, both licenses are quite similar:

  • You may use, distribute, modify and distribute the modifications of the font
  • Copyright information and similar must be retained
  • The text of the license itself must be included

I am not a lawyer, but here are some of the biggest differences as I see it:

  • Apache does not require that modifications to the font must be distributed under the same license, while the OFL requires that (called copyleft)
  • Apache allows a font to be sold in any manner, while the OFL requires that the font be bundled with some (almost any) software for it to be sold
  • Apache requires that changes are logged
  • The OFL may require that a modified font must be renamed
  • The OFL explicitly mentions that the font can be embedded (this should not be a problem with Apache, but there is some uncertainty regarding this with other free software licenses)

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