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Re: Fonts WG Charter feedback

From: Thomas Phinney <tphinney@cal.berkeley.edu>
Date: Fri, 3 Jul 2009 15:18:56 -0700
Message-ID: <f49ae6ac0907031518q6451726bo52d9cdb8389c0b75@mail.gmail.com>
To: Aryeh Gregor <Simetrical+w3c@gmail.com>
Cc: John Hudson <tiro@tiro.com>, Håkon Wium Lie <howcome@opera.com>, Thomas Lord <lord@emf.net>, "Tab Atkins Jr." <jackalmage@gmail.com>, Chris Wilson <Chris.Wilson@microsoft.com>, Sylvain Galineau <sylvaing@microsoft.com>, "www-font@w3.org" <www-font@w3.org>
On Fri, Jul 3, 2009 at 2:41 PM, Aryeh Gregor<Simetrical+w3c@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Fri, Jul 3, 2009 at 5:08 PM, Thomas Phinney<tphinney@cal.berkeley.edu> wrote:
>> You could replace "browser implementers" with "font owners" and the
>> statement would be equally true.
>
> Well, first of all, that depends on whether your goal is to get an
> interoperable font format per se, or to encourage proliferation of
> commercial fonts on the web.  I'm sure everyone here is in favor of
> the first goal,

I'm not so sure about that. Or more precisely, everyone or almost
everyone agrees with your statement as worded, but as there's no
agreement on the definition of "interoperable" (based on the arguments
we've seen here), there isn't really agreement in practice. Certainly
I don't agree for some of the definitions of "interoperable" that some
folks here have been using.

> and it will be achieved precisely if browser
> implementers agree.  I don't think everyone here cares very much about
> the second.

True. I believe everyone *should* care about the second, because web
designers sure as heck do.

> Moreover, even for those who do, it's hard to judge
> anything based on font owners' attitudes, because
>
> 1) There are vastly more font owners than browser vendors, and not
> many have representatives here.  IE and Firefox are pragmatically
> enough to decide a standard format by themselves if necessary, and we
> have active participants here from both of them.  Their requirements
> are fairly clear, and reasonably amenable to clarification if not.
> Even if we wanted to satisfy font foundries, it would be hard to
> figure out what they want.

True. We need to shop around the various proposals to them if we want
to know how they feel about those proposals.

> 2) There's much more competition in the font market with respect to
> this issue.  Font buyers will demand fonts that work in whatever
> format will work on their website,

There will be demand, in the economic sense.

> so foundries will be forced to go
> along with whatever common format is agreed upon no matter what, at
> least to some extent.

There you are completely incorrect.

There's demand for $10 blu-ray players, too. That doesn't mean the
makers of those devices will be forced to provide them at that price.
There's demand for all sorts of things that it doesn't make economic
sense for people to provide.

To make that statement, you also assume that the font vendors'
analysis of the situation and the costs/risks is the same as yours.
It's *very* clear to me that many of the folks on this list who have
never been part of that industry, nor closely affiliated, consistently
don't understand how font vendors think about these issues.

> Otherwise they'll lose customers.

Says you. If you're talking raw desktop fonts on web servers with no
protections, the folks who make and sell retail fonts don't see that
as any kind of opportunity, just a threat. They think they have more
to lose than to gain there. They could be wrong, but that belief is
pretty nearly universal in that community, and the arguments being
made here have been heard and simply aren't swaying them.

(I happen to mostly agree with them, but that's really not the point.)

> Nobody is
> going to switch web browsers because of which font format they
> support,

Nobody? I'm not so sure about that. If this stuff was being widely
used, and Chrome didn't support it, I'd stop using Chrome.

Cheers,

T
Received on Friday, 3 July 2009 22:19:42 GMT

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