To aid in the dissemination of free/libre Hebrew fonts, the Open Siddur Project now offers, gratis, a FONT PACK. Over sixty free/libre and open source licensed, Unicode Hebrew fonts, ready to install. Enjoy them. Share them. Learn from them. Modify them.11 fonts supporting the full set of diacritical marks (vowels/nikkud and cantillation/t'amim).
14 fonts supporting niqud (w/out t'amim)
- Mekorot Vilna (by Mekorot)
- Mekorot Rashi (Mekorot, fixed and adjusted by Yoram Gnat, Culmus Project)
- David CLM, Dorian CLM, FrankRuehl CLM, Hadasim CLM, Miriam CLM, Nachlieli CLM, Simple CLM (v.0.12 by Maxim Iorsh, Culmus Project)
- Shmulik CLM (by Yoram Gnat, Culmus Project)
- Shuneet by Cunliffe Thompson)
- Alef (by HaGilda)
- Linux Libertine (by the Libertine Open Fonts Projekt)
45 fonts (not intended for use with niqud)
- Sofer Stam Ashkenaz, Sofer Stam Sefarad, and 16 really Ancient Semitic Scripts (by Yoram Gnat, Culmus Project)
- Drugulin CLM, Aharoni CLM, Miriam Mono CLM, Yehuda CLM, Ellinia CLM, Journal CLM (v.0.12 by Maxim Iorsh, Culmus Project)
- Comix No2 CLM by Richard Schoeller for the Culmus Project)
- Anka CLM, Gan CLM, Gladia CLM, Hillel CLM, Ktav-Yad CLM, Ozrad CLM (Fancy Fonts by Maxim Iorsh, Culmus Project)
- Refoyl and Nachlaot (cursive fonts by Refoyl Finkl)
- Migdal HaEmeq, Miri, Retro Perspective, Stop Motion, and Tnua Libre (by Elad Mordechai Mizrahi)
- Asakim, Dragon, Nehama, and Paskol (by Printer Killer)
- FreeMono, FreeSans, and FreeSerif (by the GNU FreeFont Project)
4 fonts of symbols and dingbats
10 Non-Hebrew Open Source Unicode Fonts
If you’d like to install all the fonts in the font pack at once, follow these instructions:
- To search and find all of the TTF files in the unzipped directory of fonts, use CTRL-F
type *.ttf (asterisk dot ttf) as your search keyword. Repeat this step but type *.otf for searching for and installing OTF files.
- The search will list all of the fonts in their separate directories.
To select all of them at once use CTRL-A. (Alternately you can click edit on the windows toolbar and select, “select all”.)
- Then right-click on any of the highlighted fonts and select “install font”. (Make sure to right-click rather than left-click, otherwise you won’t see the install font option and you’ll have to select them all again using CTRL-A.)
(Setup your own keyboard to type in Hebrew, here.)
Why did we make this font pack?
The importance of sharing documents with Unicode 4.0+ compliant Hebrew fonts was underlined for us in early 2010, after the liturgy of a popular siddur was contributed to the Open Siddur Project with a public domain declaration. The format of the file shared was a PDF, and unfortunately, most of the text rendered in the PDF was encoded with old proprietary Hebrew fonts made by a commercial font foundry, Elsner+Flake. These fonts were developed prior to the standardization of Hebrew in Unicode. Efraim and I made some progress in attempting to convert the documents but so far we have not been successful. (Perhaps you can help convert them.) The contributor had no other copies of the liturgy except for what was contained in the PDF shared. The entire sad episode indicated the need for publishers of digital documents to prepare their documents in open standard formats, with text encoded with open standard fonts. (You are free to try your hand at converting the two documents (1, 2) which were shared by the Avi Chai Foundation. )
Given the twenty year history (at least) of digital Hebrew font development, there are quite a few pre-Unicode Hebrew fonts floating around the Internet and locally, on folk’s home computers. On the Internet, they sometimes show up on font download websites with a note that they are shareware or freeware with some restriction or another. Documents prepared with non-Unicode fonts are destined to be unreadable.
Even if a Hebrew font is Unicode it might 1) not support the full range of diacritical marks (nikkud/vowels and ta’amim/trope/cantillation) and 2) not be licensed in such a way that it does not conflict with free/libre and open source licenses. Currently, there are three popular sources of open source licensed and Unicode compliant Hebrew fonts that support the full range of Hebrew diacritical marks (vowels and cantillation).
Moreover, by license these fonts are free for creative reuse (as well as free without license fee to download). SIL International’s Ezra SIL font and David Perry’s Cardo font are both shared using SIL’s Open Font License version 1.1.0. Yoram Gnat’s fonts at the Culmus Project are all shared freely with a GPL including the font exception clause. Maxim Iorsh’s fonts (for instance, Drugulin CLM) are shared with a GPL 2 but without the font exception, and so the use of Iorsh’s fonts can sometimes conflict with the licenses of other free/libre and open source projects. (A full list of acceptable open source licenses for digital fonts is available here.)
It is often a wonder how certain typefaces, designed over a hundred years ago and residing in the Public Domain, can nevertheless be restricted by software licenses. After all, even new typefaces in the United States and Canada cannot be copyrighted; only the underlying software logic in digital fonts that control the placement of letters and diacritics can be copyrighted. While the art may be in the Public Domain, the underlying logic may be considered software and thus be protected by copyright. The good news is that many digital fonts use the underlying font logic written by John Hudson which itself is freely licensed open source software (with the MIT license).
If you or your company designed a Hebrew font which you never updated to Unicode, why not share it with an open font license so that others may adopt it, update it, and create anew with it?