W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-font@w3.org > January to March 1997

Re: Whatever happened to w3 fonts?

From: <lee@sq.com>
Date: Tue, 18 Feb 97 12:59:19 EST
Message-Id: <9702181759.AA10933@sqrex.sq.com>
To: www-font@w3.org

> > [someone] (actually me, lee@sq.com)
> > >yes -- but existing TT software can read OpenType fonts and use them, but
> > >doesn't understand the copy protection, and ignores that.
> >
> > I don't see how that can be, if existing TT software can read all the
> > features of OpenType
> Not quite what the original poster said. TT software can read OT fonts -
> that seems reasonable, because these are a set of tables and the cmap,
> hhea, head, name and post tables will still be there and can be read.
> Of course there will be tables in there that are not understood, such as
> dsig, gpos, gsub and there might be cff (compressed Type1 glyphs) in
> addition to or even instead of glyf (in which latter case the older
> program would indeed fail).

Yes... if you use only Type 1 fonts and not TrueType ones to start with,
you'll get some small measure of defacto copy protection, at least until
ATM and fontographer can understand OpenType fonts.

> Existing TT fonts do not have this table - but then, only the copyright
> owner can make such fonts available on the Web. DSIG appears to allow
> licencees to put the fonts on the Web, and my understanding is that the
> DSIGtavble will contain a signed and verifiable machine readabble assertion
> about the terms of that license. For example, it might be that Joe Webster
> licensed this font from Glypf Factory for use on http://joe.org/foo only.

The scenario I imagine is this:

I am sitting inside FrontPage (say).
I choose a font for my headings -- Trixie, say.
This is installed on my system as a TrueType font.

I press "publish", and FrontPage makes an OpenType subsetted font that's
a TrueType font based on Trixie, and saves it for me, including a relative
URL in the style sheet.

Now, if FrontPage is creating the signature, we have a problem that you
now have software that is a Digital Thief, staling fonts for you.
If it can't, where does the signature come from?

The point of including a giant superset of TT and T1 was supposed to be
that you could use your existing fonts on the web.

> Other sites pointing to those fonts would not work. Well that is the
> theory as I understand it.

This would be true if
(1) you had purchased an OpenType font (can't yet)
(2) you had bought the font for use only on a specific domain or URL,e.g.
    so that you could publish your web site using your corporate font, but
    could not do internal marketing literature with it (oops)
    (so the idea is that you buy all your fonts twice?)
(3) either
   3a] the font was Type 1, and the receiving software predated OpenType,
   3b] the receiving software is newer than OpenType and is smart enough
   to understand that it shouldn't let you use it, and honest enough to
   implement that, and has no override.
   Of course, if your own domain changes, you have to buy new fonts.  oops.

This seems so badly designed that either (1) I'm totally misunderstanding it,
or (2) Netscape's use of TrueDoc will make it all history.
Since Microsoft doesn't (yet) have the graphic design market, and won't until
colour management is fixed in Windows xx, I expect that the people who care
most about the appearance of fonts will decide whether TrueDoc looks OK
in netscape, and, if so, use it -- and for the rest of the market, the
extra quality of the lossless fonts will be irrelevant if you have to
go through lots of hassle.

One obvious trick would be to "encrypt" the font with its URL on publishing
it, so that the font would not work in _any_ existing software directly,
and combining that with other techniques.  Another would be to use a
wholly new font format -- e.g. based on GX.

As it is, I don't believe the people working on OpenType have taken this
issue seriously enough.  Perhaps it's all a hoax and OpenType is a joke??

While we're about it, let's write an Appllication Server Protocol that 
lets me put up all of Microsoft's software for ftp.  I'll add a new field,
"execute permission", and if that is set to zero, you canonly download and
not execute the programs.  Of course, operating systems will have to be
modified, but that shouldn't be a problem, and all users will upgrade
instantly so that they can no longer use the free programs.

Received on Tuesday, 18 February 1997 12:59:24 UTC

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