I was looking for a .ttf font, where almost all of the unicode characters are created. Then I've found the GNU Unifont

It is licensed under GNU GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE Version 2

The application I am working on cannot be open sourced (not my choise). It is not just closed-source, but commercial also. Am I allowed to use GNU Unifont?

1 Answer 1


From the website:

The precompiled fonts are released under the terms of the GNU GPL version 2, or (at your option) a later version, with the exception that embedding the font in a document does not in itself bind that document to the terms of the GPL.

So, it would be not legal to use GNU Unicode (including the fonts) on any closed-source application, per copyleft licensing terms.

But in your situation, I would strongly recommend that you make use of the open and permissive DejaVu ttf Fonts (http://dejavu-fonts.org) within a font rendering library under a permissive license, on your work.

However there's a GPL exception concerning the use of fonts, made for permitting the non-GPL compatible code to read and write documents and templates that embed the GNU font, as mentioned in the licensing terms:

These font files are licensed under the GNU General Public License, either Version 2 or (at your option) a later version, with the exception that embedding the font in a document does not in itself constitute a violation of the GNU GPL.

  • 1
    I use SDL_TTF to render text in my game, so if I undestand it correctly, it is legal. Am I allowed to embed it into the executable (.exe, .jar, etc...) file?
    – Iter Ator
    Jun 9, 2016 at 16:00
  • @IterAtor I'm sorry for being not clear in my answer: It has been corrected now. Please check the update above. If you have any further question please don't hesitate to ask. Best Regards. Jun 9, 2016 at 21:17
  • How would including the font in a document template, which is bundled with the application and merely modified by that application, be regarded? Jun 17, 2019 at 15:24
  • @rackandboneman Yes, there's already a GPL exception for permitting this. I've made an update to my answer, for further details. Jun 18, 2019 at 21:50

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