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Re: Merits and deficiencies of EOT Lite

From: John Daggett <jdaggett@mozilla.com>
Date: Tue, 28 Jul 2009 15:11:08 -0700 (PDT)
To: www-font <www-font@w3.org>
Message-ID: <19059141.86031248819068034.JavaMail.root@cm-mail02.mozilla.org>

Sylvain Galineau wrote:

> I don't understand how any of the existing format proposals would
> yield "backward-compatibility with CFF-Fonts in IE" ? Since no file
> format can  fix GDI or OS issues, I'm not sure I understand how this
> can be held against EOT-Lite in particular. And what
> backward-compatibility ? It seems the capability is currently missing
> for all browsers (modulo Safari enabled to use Apple's rasterizer) and
> all CFF Fonts. What am I missing ?

Right, all of the rendering and GDI issues are not relevant.  The
argument for EOT-Lite is that supporting it now means that once all
non-IE browsers add support EOT-Lite, web authors will have a single
format supported in all browsers, including older versions of IE.  The
alternative is that all browsers rev to support a new format, be it
.webfont, ZOT, or something else, and that rev window gives
IE a chance to ship better @font-face support and support for loading
CFF fonts so that support for this single format has a better chance
of being interoperable across implementations.

I realize the advantage of having backward compatible solutions, I'm
just pointing out if the goal is a single font format that all
commercial font vendors can support and we need it now, now, hurry,
hurry, rush, rush, then it's not necessarily EOT-Lite.  Microsoft has
the ability to ship browser updates in the same timeframe that other
browsers can update.  It also has the ability to add support in
previously shipped versions of IE.  We shouldn't be anchoring the
debate on what are effectively resource-allocation decisions in
Redmond.

Maybe this is just me but implementing EOT-Lite in non-IE browsers
without revving IE effectively handicaps CFF fonts, TTF fonts would
be favored for market reasons rather than on technical merits. CFF
font vendors would be under market pressure to offer TTF versions of
their fonts and switch to using a TTF tool chain.  Clients would be
advised, "you should use TTF fonts because IE doesn't support CFF
fonts" and I'm guessing that stigma would outlive it's validity. In
many ways, CFF fonts offer advantages in compactness that TTF fonts do
not.  I would much prefer all browsers support both on an equal
footing and let font vendors and their clients choose based on
technical merit rather than market pressure. But I guess if this is
not something CFF font vendors are concerned with I would not dig in
my heels so much.

Some may consider what I'm writing just to be stalling, mere sophistry
to buy time until "naked" fonts take over the world and pressure IE
into capitulation, hoist the flag, viva la Revolucion!  Rather this is
me pleading for better support for @font-face in IE and CFF fonts on
Windows, because the web in many ways is only as good as it's lowest
common denominator.

The EOT-Lite proposal effectively asks non-IE browsers to commit to
supporting something with no equivalent commitment to do *anything*
from Microsoft.  I would care less about supporting EOT-Lite if
Microsoft was committing to supporting @font-face and CFF fonts better.

Hopefully this message reaches Sylvain on a chamomile tea day
rather than a triple venti day.

Regards,

John Daggett
Mozilla Japan
Received on Tuesday, 28 July 2009 22:11:49 GMT

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