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Re: EOT and EOT-based proposals

From: Aryeh Gregor <Simetrical+w3c@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 3 Jul 2009 12:33:55 -0400
Message-ID: <7c2a12e20907030933p615b128di171fdc715549e978@mail.gmail.com>
To: "Tab Atkins Jr." <jackalmage@gmail.com>, Patrick Garies <pgaries@fastmail.us>, Mikko Rantalainen <mikko.rantalainen@peda.net>
Cc: www-font@w3.org
On Fri, Jul 3, 2009 at 12:31 AM, Tab Atkins Jr.<jackalmage@gmail.com> wrote:
> First, are there any legal issues preventing any of the other browsers
> (particularly Firefox with its GPL obligations) from implementing EOT?
>  I don't believe there is any, but I want to make absolutely sure.

Not according to the submission of EOT to the W3C.  It mentions no
patents other than on MTX.

> Third, can we add same-origin restrictions to EOT?  These obviously
> wouldn't do anything with legacy IE versions, but it *would* be
> interoperable with all new versions of all browsers.

I don't see why not.

On Fri, Jul 3, 2009 at 2:36 AM, Patrick Garies<pgaries@fastmail.us> wrote:
> It seems that the positions are:
> Microsoft: No OTF/TTF; Yes EOT or "EOT Lite"
> Mozilla: Yes OTF/TTF; No EOT or "EOT Lite"
> Apple/WebKit: Yes OTF/TTF(; No EOT or "EOT Lite"?)
> Opera: Yes OTF/TTF(; No EOT or "EOT Lite"?)

I don't think this is a good summary.  Not all the positions stated
here are official.  I would summarize it as:

Microsoft: Probably no OTF/TTF under any circumstances.  EOT will
continue to be supported, EOT Lite would therefore automatically be
supported as well.  A compromise like Ascender's without root strings
may or may not be acceptable.

Mozilla: OTF/TTF will continue to be supported.  Ascender's proposal
is probably okay (at least Robert O'Callahan thinks so), EOT proper
definitely not.  EOT Lite there seems to be skepticism about, but I've
heard no firm "no" on that.

Apple, Google: OTF/TTF will continue to be supported, presumably.
Beyond that I can't recall any statements.

Opera: OTF/TTF will continue to be supported.  However, if Microsoft
isn't willing to support OTF/TTF, then it seems Hakon doesn't want to
support any compromise format.

If Mozilla and Apple were to support some form of EOT Lite, given that
Microsoft already supports it implicitly, I think that would be
sufficient to give us a universal format.  That's a large part of the
reason I think EOT Lite is the best way forward -- it really only
needs one or two vendors to back it, and neither of them has said they
definitely won't (as opposed to Microsoft and OTF/TTF).

> So we have three vendors in favor of OTF/TTF with Mozilla, at least,
> insisting that it be available.

Hakon is the only one who seems to be insisting that everyone needs to
provide OTF/TTF.  I don't think I've seen anyone from Mozilla say that
Microsoft needs to support that (although I'm sure they'd be happy if
it did).  Of course, no one who already supports OTF/TTF  will stop
supporting it.

> We have Microsoft having the opposite
> position that OTF/TTF should *not* be available on the Web while supporting
> their existing format, EOT or an EOT-compatible derivative.

Both Chris Wilson and Sylvain Galineau have indicated that a
non-EOT-compatible derivative might be acceptable.

> That seems to kill any chance of EOT being implemented elsewhere; I don't
> see how you can reconcile those positions without other vendors giving in to
> Microsoft (and saying RIP to OTF/TTF) or Microsoft giving in to the other
> vendors (where they might be able to get a concession for OTF/TTF/EOT).

Why should other vendors object to "giving in" to Microsoft?  This
isn't a zero-sum game.  The goal is for web authors to win, and EOT is
the best way to do that.

> Doesn't this create another one of those situations where the browser that
> ignores the standard renders things "better" resulting in the non-compliant
> browser gaining more market share (and hence why certain vendors have
> refused to implement certain standards)?

That's not a big issue if the "worse" behavior occurs in a large
enough chunk of your viewership to begin with.  Few authors are going
to depend on support for EOT without same-origin restrictions when it
won't work for 30% or 40% of their viewers.  Moreover, the large
majority of sites are likely to keep the fonts on the same origin to
begin with.

On Fri, Jul 3, 2009 at 6:10 AM, Mikko
Rantalainen<mikko.rantalainen@peda.net> wrote:
> Where do you see evidence that Mozilla/Apple/Opera would not implement
> EOT Lite?

At least Robert O'Callahan from Mozilla has said he's less happy with
it than with Ascender's original proposal (although he hasn't said he
would definitely and absolutely oppose implementing it).  Hakon from
Opera seems to be saying that he wouldn't support implementing any
compromise with Microsoft unless Microsoft committed to supporting
bare OTF/TTF linking as part of the compromise.

On Fri, Jul 3, 2009 at 6:10 AM, Jonathan Kew<jonathan@jfkew.plus.com> wrote:
> While it would of course be nice to see an actual license, Monotype
> (Vladimir) has given us a very explicit assurance that I think we can assume
> is given in good faith.

A good-faith assurance may not be enough to actually begin
distributing the source code to an implementation, however, legally.
Also, Mozilla doesn't like the idea much on a technical level.

> So to sum up, rootless EOT would:
> * create an environment for sites that "work" with IE but degrade in other
> browsers (or a new IE version)
> * encourage users to stay with their old IE version, for "compatibility"

Only if a lot of web authors a) figure out that web fonts exist and
get them to work, *but* b) only test in IE, and c) don't receive
enough complaints from non-IE users to change the site.  I strongly
suspect that IE has a *much* smaller market share among web authors
than among the general population.  And among people who are savvy
enough to learn about web fonts (as opposed to basic copy-paste HTML
they learned in the nineties), I'd expect the market share to be even
lower.

We're not talking about breaking something like image hotlinking
that's worked for the whole history of the web in all browsers --
we're talking about a situation where, from the get-go, 30% or 40% of
users' browsers will not support it.  And, not to mention, a font not
working is a lot less disruptive than images not working.  So I really
don't think this is a big issue.

> * fail to address font vendors' concerns adequately, as the "fence" is
> invisible to a majority of users

The fence is not against users, it's against authors.  It will be
visible to a *lot* more authors than 40% or whatever.  Especially if
you weight by website popularity.
Received on Friday, 3 July 2009 16:34:30 GMT

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