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Re: Embeddable fonts in Communicator

From: Eric F. Brown <Ericbrown@peachlink.com>
Date: Thu, 20 Feb 1997 18:57:06 -0500
To: "Erik van Blokland" <evb@knoware.nl>, "w3 webfonts" <www-font@w3.org>
Message-Id: <19970220190055.05fddab1.in@mail.peachlink.com>
REMOV REMOVE REMOVE!!!!

----------
: From: Erik van Blokland <evb@KNOWARE.NL>
: To: w3 webfonts <www-font@w3.org>
: Subject: Embeddable fonts in Communicator
: Date: Thursday, February 20, 1997 1:48 PM
: 
: Fahrner quoting Andrew Joslin:
: >The outline information in the PFR is encrypted to prevent piracy.
Hackers
: >could conceivably crack the PFR's but they'd have to collect a lot of
them
: >and do major tweakage in Fontographer before they could assemble a maybe
: >complete character set including redoing hinting, character mapping and
: >kerning (can you spell get a life?). I think the labor involved and
: >difficulty in  assembling COMPLETE coherent character sets will make
font
: >pirating from PFR's a miserable occupation. 
: 
: The same methods Truedoc uses to assemble a font these fonts can be 
: disassembled. Character collecting can easily be automated, especially 
: when the whole font machine is accessible by writing a Netscape-plugin 
: for it. Subsetting is a compression method, not a piracy preventer. Then 
: the whole security hinges on the encryption, which can be broken in 10 
: minutes, as Clive has proven.
: 
: This might not even be necessary when authoring software emerges that 
: allows  Truedoc fonts that arrive from one webpage to be added to another

: one. Recycling fontdata. Perhaps not all characters are present, but 
: perhaps not all are needed either. Current descriptions of 
: Truedoc/Netscape systems do not specify whether Truedoc fonts can be 
: re-used, neither do they promise that this will not be the case in the 
: future, neither is there a garantee that Truedoc will not be licensed to 
: companies with shady background in type.
: 
: The clever semantics of Bitstream are getting old. A file containing a 
: typeface description is a font by any standard. Calling the Truedoc fonts

: 'portable font resources' is a way of being gramatically correct when 
: saying Truedoc documents don't contain fonts. But lets not kid ourselves,

: for all intents and purposes, PFR's are fonts. They're just as portable 
: as Truetype fonts or type1 fonts, and contain just as many curves and 
: serifs. 
: PFR relies on a Truedoc rasteriser being present on the client system, 
: just other fonts like to be rastered by their own rasterisers. There is 
: nothing remarkably portable about Truedoc, you still have to be in luck 
: that some company somewhere decides to write software for your platform. 
: Whether that's Microsoft, Adobe or Bitstream does not really matter. 
: Their approach to intellectual property does matter. Microsoft and Adobe 
: are at least trying to address the issues. Bitstream only invented a 
: blanket excuse to the entire system and ignores it for the rest. Note 
: that Bitstream has become yet another internet wannabe, and has severed 
: most ties to their typographic past. The legal issues tied to Truedoc in 
: most countries not USA will certainly be investigated and possibly tried 
: in court. It's curious that Netscape is getting tied up with such a risky

: technology.
: 
: Bitstream has used the argument that Truedoc fonts are inseperable from 
: the document as a way to illustrate that the PFR's really are not fonts. 
: But this is losing credibility, as PFR fonts are now downloaded 
: _separately_ from a server 'just like a gif or jpeg'. That means that 
: unless something incredibly complicated (signatures?) happens, PFR fonts 
: can be linked to by any other document as well, perhaps from an entirely 
: different domain. 
: Then the world needs only one single PFR on a site for every typeface 
: used in the world! Subsetting this font can be easily subverted by making

: a document that contains all characters. PFR fonts can be offered as 
: incentives, they can be traded, posted, mailed, reused. It's piracy 
: coated with a thin layer of credibility. Serious flaws that threatens all

: type manufacturers.
: 
: As long as fonts cost money, there will be an incentive for getting them 
: for free. Truedoc fonts in Netscape make that a whole lot easier. Better 
: typographic capabilities for the web are quite necessary. But whether it 
: is worth to put the whole type industry at risk for a small temporary 
: advantage over someone else's browser is highly doubtful.
: 
: erik van blokland, LettError: Typestuff
:       letterror  http://www.letterror.com
: 
: 
Received on Thursday, 20 February 1997 19:05:02 GMT

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