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RE: Fonts WG Charter feedback

From: Sylvain Galineau <sylvaing@microsoft.com>
Date: Wed, 1 Jul 2009 21:02:38 +0000
To: Thomas Lord <lord@emf.net>, Håkon Wium Lie <howcome@opera.com>
CC: "www-font@w3.org" <www-font@w3.org>
Message-ID: <045A765940533D4CA4933A4A7E32597E020BE5FD@TK5EX14MBXC111.redmond.corp.microsoft.com>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Thomas Lord [mailto:lord@emf.net]

> I'm unclear as the rationale for a new format defined
> as the same as an old format but with some tables renamed.
> It appears that the rationale is "break interop" in some
> cases.
> What is your view about that?
Break 'interop' with what ? And for whom ? Again, our goal is to maximize author choice
i.e. you should not be limited to using either free fonts or commercial fonts. Technically,
no such limitation exists. But major font vendors do not wish to license fonts for web use
in their raw format (meaning, with no encoding). Specifically, they want web font files to incompatible
with those in your system's font folder; the extra steps necessary to bypass this obfuscation should be
sufficient to avoid casual license violation by the masses. Hence Ascender's proposal.

So the intent is indeed to 'break compatibility' between the commercial font files that came with your OS and those served to you a browser (if the font vendor so chooses, of course). The prize is interoperability across all browsers. Per Hakon's proposal, all browsers would support both raw font linking and a lightweight encoded font format aimed at commercial font vendors. If we achieved this, we would achieve more interop than we have today, not less.

> Compression, it appears, can be handled at a different
> layer entirely - no new format needed.
> Novel metadata is a good idea but I see no rationale
> for doing that in a media-specific way nor for the
> particular forms of metadata proposed here.  I also see
> that the proposal is weak in containing no (in fact
> negative) provisions obligating UAs to make the new
> metadata available to the users to whom it is presumably
> addressed.  (Hence my wrapper notion, of course.)
> So, again, what is the rationale for font format proliferation
> here?
> -t
There is no new format. Renaming an extension and altering an internal header to render the file useless without a decoding step does not constitute a new format. It's more of a content-type encoding. And two encodings instead of one hardly constitutes 'proliferation'. As it opens up catalogs of thousands of beautiful fonts to all web authors, some of us believe it is well worth the trade-off given that these fonts, today, can only be licensed for web use as EOT resources.
Received on Wednesday, 1 July 2009 21:03:20 UTC

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