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Re: Fonts WG Charter feedback

From: karsten luecke <list@kltf.de>
Date: Sat, 4 Jul 2009 21:22:57 +0200 (MEST)
Message-Id: <200907041922.n64JMviL028926@post.webmailer.de>
To: howcome@opera.com, lord@emf.net, www-font@w3.org
Hm, seems my last email didn't get through since you raise the same issues again while I pointed out they are invalid arguments, especially:

Håkon Wium Lie wrote:
>  - fundamentally, open standards don't benefit the dominant players in
>    a market as they lower the barrier for competition (this is true
>    for all markets, not just software)

EOT *is* an open (documented) standard.
So EOT is disclosing nothing from nobody: Other browser developers (besides MS) can implement it. And other type designers, foundries and/or font developers can produce it. Even I could produce EOT fonts (in the most simple case, just an additional header) if I wanted to, and would not need to rely on any tools by any other party than myself.





Just in case my lengthy email of yesterday really did not get through, here it is again:

Tal Leming wrote:
> On Jul 2, 2009, at 6:29 PM, Håkon Wium Lie wrote:
>> Also sprach Thomas Lord:
>>> There is a lot of talk to the effect that concerns TTF/OTF support
>>> will lead to "accidental piracy" are the main motivation for
>>> resistance to TTF/OTF. I am beginning to believe that that is not
>>> really the motivation but, rather, exclusion by incumbents against
>>> potential competitors is the driver.
>> I support your analysis.
> Could you please elaborate on what you believe is happening?
> Tal

Are you (Thomas Lord) implying that some type designers or foundries try to "kick out" collegues just by asking browser developers to only support a font format that not everybody can produce? Nothing farther from truth.

First, I expect that a future versions of FontLab Studio will allow making EOTs. (Of course I don't know.)

Second, if that should not happen -- or should not happen fast enough -- you can be sure that Letterror, Tal Leming, perhaps me or someone else will provide tools which allow collegues to create EOTs. Maybe even for free.
The type world is more cooperative than you seem to think.
And as a "independent" type designer who enjoys experimenting, I can assure you that competence is not bound to larger foundries, or "incumbents", at all.  :)

As to the former part:
> > If, tomorrow, IE suddenly supported TTF/OTF the market
> > I described would exist and have a lot of potency since
> > there would be room for trade in font files that work
> > in all major browsers and with all major desktops, 
> > printers, etc.

The request for EOT support is exactly to avoid that EOTs which are "made" for the web are used elsewhere, or the other way round. Yes, this does imply some trust in browser and OS developers, that each would support only the respective format.

And as to the we-save-the-world stance of the web community who has a lot of "advantages"  and new "markets" to offer for type designers:
Type designers don't live on the moon, they have friends or collegues who are print or web designers, and are very well aware what goes on, what are their needs, how they deal with otherones' IP. Favoring EOT does not come out of nowhere. I only started to prefer EOT, by the way, when reading the discussion on the www-style and www-font lists.
It is also amusing how you and others try to sell foundries markets.

* * *

Back to the main issue:

The problem with raw TTF/OTF fonts being supported at all is that ...
(a) it is damn easy to download these -- I just installed Mozilla 3.5 and the latest Safari and fetched some fonts from @font-face demo sites. Cool.
(b) all fonts out there right now, licensed for print use earlier on, can be uploaded and used as web fonts.

About the "break web font rendering" argument I can only say that this is a non-issue. CSS definitions state multiple fonts in preferred order, from specific fonts down to mere style, which implies that a page may render better or worse. Not good or bad. Same with @font-face. If the mechanism is not supported, an alternative font will be chosen. This does not break functionality, the page is still readable and may even look good.

Best wishes,
Karsten Luecke





Håkon Wium Lie wrote:
> Also sprach Tal Leming:
> 
>  > >> There is a lot of talk to the effect that concerns TTF/OTF support
>  > >> will lead to "accidental piracy" are the main motivation for
>  > >> resistance to TTF/OTF. I am beginning to believe that that is not
>  > >> really the motivation but, rather, exclusion by incumbents against
>  > >> potential competitors is the driver.
>  > >
>  > > I support your analysis.
>  > 
>  > Could you please elaborate on what you believe is happening?
> 
> It seems quite clear that font piracy, even the accidental kind, isn't
> the main motivation for Microsoft not to support TTF/OTF. If that had
> been the case, they would not have continued to support this in
> Silverlight.
> 
> There's a bunch of other reasons that possibly could factor in:
> 
>  - fundamentally, open standards don't benefit the dominant players in
>    a market as they lower the barrier for competition (this is true
>    for all markets, not just software)
> 
>  - MS still believes EOT can be resurrected; TTF/OTF would obviously
>    be a threat for any EOT-derived solution
> 
>  - usage of TTF/OTF on the web, while on the rise, hasn't exploded yet
>    and they probably haven't had too many complaints. Once more
>    implementations ship and usage grows, they can always change their
>    mind.
> 
>    (Acid2 taught us that complaints, as measured in Slashdot postings
>    or other units, have to be consistently loud over a period in order
>    to get attention.)
> 
>  - reverse-engineering other browser implementations and implementing
>    their quirks isn't that exciting. It's more fun when the others
>    have to follow you.
> 
> I also believe there are hard-working people inside Microsoft who
> honestly believe in the goodness of the web and her standards. So, I'm
> not making any kinds of personal judgements in this message, I'm just
> listing factors that, in their generic form, would be considered by
> any big software company trying to decide if they should support a new
> format or not.
> 
> This is slightly outside the scope of www-font so we may not want to
> continue this for long.
> 
> Cheers,
> 
> -h&kon
>               Håkon Wium Lie                          CTO °þe®ª
> howcome@opera.com                  http://people.opera.com/howcome
Received on Sunday, 5 July 2009 20:43:12 GMT

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