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Re: A way forward

From: John Hudson <tiro@tiro.com>
Date: Fri, 24 Jul 2009 17:48:30 -0700
Message-ID: <4A6A565E.80009@tiro.com>
CC: www-font@w3.org
Dave Crossland wrote:

>> We want a nice clean web font spec, against which we can test our products.

> There was I thinking we were rushing to monetise web fonts.

I suppose some people might be, but since we have not been in a rush for 
ten years, I don't think monetisation is the primary rush now. The rush 
now is that we've seen naked font linking supported on Opera, Firefox 
and Safari, and by and large the font makers and at least some of their 
major clients do not like this. The rush is not to monetise web fonts, 
but to prevent further exposure of our fonts in this way. Monetising web 
fonts in some other format is only a secondary goal, largely shaped by 
the concerns of the first goal. This is a recurring theme of all 
discussions among font developers: how do we stop naked font linking 
going any further? The fact that people who don't actually like EOT, who 
never liked EOT, are making public statements of support for EOT Lite 
should make this motivation plain.

> I'm all in support of improving web fonts for users, but it seems that
> architecturally clean and powerful ideas that I favor (ie, Tom Lord's
> metadata-centric proposal that also ticks off all the speedbump
> checklist points; and .webfonts/ZOT to the extent that helps points
> users at licenses which I think its likely .webfonts would do given
> the 2.1 schema) are being de-prioritized against quick-to-market
> ideas.

Tom Lord's proposal seems to have been ignored because it was presented 
as a general purpose wrapper for web content, and that was beyond the 
remit of this discussion, so it looked like a long-term idea to be 
pursued in another forum.

I don't think .webfont or ZOT are being de-prioritised. If anything, 
Microsoft's pressure on other browsers to support an EOT-derived format 
is pushing those browsers towards .webfont/ZOT, as we have see in the 
past twenty-four hours.

I'm pretty sure that Ascender's strategy for EOT Lite is simply to blast 
ahead with it and make it a significant reality in the market. I think 
they will probably succeed in this, but it still won't guarantee EOT 
Lite becoming an interoperable format. This is why I think a working 
group should be convened to standardise a non-controversial new format 
such as .webfont, and the non-interoperable, legacy and niche formats 
should be left to the individual browsers to support or not as they see 
fit. At the end of play, there will either be one standard interoperable 
format and two non-interoperable formats, or one of the latter formats 
will be attractive enough to everyone to become interoperable too. The 
nice thing about this, from a 'monetisation' point of view, is that it 
will give us time to determine just what kind of profits might be made 
in web font licensing in various formats under various license terms, 
rather than making wild speculations.

JH
Received on Saturday, 25 July 2009 00:49:19 GMT

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