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RE: A way forward

From: Sylvain Galineau <sylvaing@microsoft.com>
Date: Thu, 23 Jul 2009 18:58:41 +0000
To: John Hudson <tiro@tiro.com>
CC: "www-font@w3.org" <www-font@w3.org>
Message-ID: <045A765940533D4CA4933A4A7E32597E020F79FE@TK5EX14MBXC113.redmond.corp.microsoft.com>
>From: www-font-request@w3.org [mailto:www-font-request@w3.org] On Behalf
>Of John Hudson

>It is less obvious that it is in Microsoft's interests, insofar as it is
>less to their advantage than an EOT-derived solution. On the other hand,
>its not as if they would be losing EOT, and the backwards compatibility
>factor remains in their favour in the market place. There will be a
>market for EOT format web font licensing to address that backwards
>compatibility, alongside of a market for .webfont licensing to support
>newer versions of browsers.

A general comment.

This discussion should be neither limited nor driven by the narrow interests of
Microsoft, Mozilla and Opera. In the short term a free interoperably implemented
EOT-compatible solution is also in the interest of hundreds of millions of users
as well as font designers since it would jumpstart the marketplace as no current
proposal could. For authors, while interop issues would remain around @font-face
until a future IE release, they would be able to license and serve one font file
to all web clients.

Even though I've spent most of my career competing against Microsoft, I still cannot
understand why anything should be discounted mainly (or even partly) because it appears
to be in Microsoft's interest without due consideration for the opportunity costs
of such obstruction on the wider ecosystem. 'EOT-Lite' is likely the most productive
option for the next five years. And it most certainly does not preclude working on
EOT-Lite's long-term successor. Microsoft, for one, never stated that there should be
no such effort or working group. Or that we were willing to wait five years
to see what happens. Quite the contrary.

Were EOT-Lite difficult or expensive to implement, I could understand others
may not want to invest in it. Given that we are now talking about skipping over a
well-defined header at the beginning of a font file - once you remove MTX and
rootstrings, that is all that is left - implementation costs cannot possibly
be the issue.

That it is convenient for Microsoft will not make EOT-Lite or equivalents any
less effective in terms of achieving interop and maximizing author choice.
Why should the latter be subordinated to Microsoft's short-term interests as
perceived by its competitors  ?

The alternative involves a working group - standard or ad-hoc - but this can
only work if all browser vendors participate and commit to implementing
the result. So far, it's still not clear all would. And, frankly, very doubtful
should Microsoft agree to support raw font linking.

It has also been suggested that Microsoft support raw font linking. As most font
vendors tell us they would not license raw fonts for web use and most web authors
- never mind EOT's penetration thus far - tell us they need a cross-browser solution,
this option puts technical interoperability above author choice and gets us no closer
to opening up commercial font catalogs for web use.

Bottom line: while it is valuable to analyze the interest of browser vendors in
understanding how we got there and why we're stalled, we should assess the options
according to the interests of web authors and font creators.

And hold all browser vendors accountable for the results. Or lack thereof.

Received on Thursday, 23 July 2009 18:59:31 UTC

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