Thanks for the BFB tip...
Yeah.. I can see the pain in license issues and the capability to load various font formats could be argued as a non-essential feature for game development.
The frameworks I am releasing are suitable for game engine development or general multimedia apps, so supporting all sorts of fonts is a line item in my mid range dev path.
However, if the functionality was available .and. it was simpler to use than straight up bitmap fonts then I believe devs will use it. Particularly if a nice rendering package is built around FreeType and FTGL that does allow sub pixel rendering and stuff like that without the dev having to code it.
A library of license friendly fonts could also be created.
So, yeah.. I'm approaching things from a middleware / tools perspective and not raw "only what is needed" game dev which is closer to the path of LWJGL.