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Re: cutting to the chase

From: Thomas Lord <lord@emf.net>
Date: Mon, 03 Aug 2009 11:13:12 -0700
To: "Tab Atkins Jr." <jackalmage@gmail.com>
Cc: www-font <www-font@w3.org>
Message-Id: <1249323192.7120.33.camel@dell-desktop.example.com>
Tab, this is an interesting area: can consensus
be reached on EOTL without EOTC?  There 
seems to be a subtlety here that I think
many have missed but that is clear from earlier
discussion.  Looking at your take on it:

On Mon, 2009-08-03 at 09:47 -0500, Tab Atkins Jr. wrote:
> On Sun, Aug 2, 2009 at 7:20 PM, Thomas Lord<lord@emf.net> wrote:

> > 2) Consensus on EOT-classic (with or without
> > rootstring enforcement, MTX, and so forth)
> > is unlikely to ever be reached.
> Correct on this.  The non-IE browsers have made it clear that they
> will not support EOT.
> > 3) Consensus on EOTL variants is unlikely
> > to ever be reached.
> Completely incorrect.  Daggett and Galineau (from Mozilla and MS,
> respectively) are producing an updated EOTL spec on the list as we
> speak, and the issues we're arguing over are fairly minor.  The worth
> of supporting EOTL in general seems to be relatively evident to a good
> number of people.

You seem to me to be confusing two issue:

I agree with you that proponents of EOTL will
likely soon find consensus among themselves on
a definition for EOTL.  Perhaps they already have.

What appears to be unresolvable, though, is 
whether a Recommendation that says "MUST"
have EOTL support says:

  a) MUST NOT support EOTC
  b) SHOULD support EOTC (ignoring rootstrings)
  c) MAY support EOTC (ignoring rootstrings)
  d) says nothing about EOTC
  e) says SHOULD or MAY support EOTC (honoring rootstrings)

EOTL proponents seem to insist upon (a), (d), or (e).

The concerns about EOT in general being a DRM trap
are alleviated only by (b) or perhaps (c).  So
there is a neat and profound partition of viewpoints here.

If you can correctly say that an EOTL consensus
among its proponents will include (b), then I 
certainly stand corrected and believe that a 
Recommendation for EOTL (with provision (b))
is a good idea that everyone should agree upon.

> Nice rhetorical trick, though, saying that EOTL consensus is "unlikely
> to ever be reached", while container-format consensus is merely "not
> forthcoming anytime soon".

It's no trick.  You are reading too much into 

I say that EOTL consensus is unlikely ever because
I think we are hopelessly polarized about the 
relationship to EOTC.

I say that wrappers are "unlikely soon" because I
think they have a bright future, but that it is
going to take a very long time to sort them out
enough to get them off the whiteboard and into 

> > 4) Rough consensus on TTF/OTF exists and
> > plenty of working code exists.  If this
> > were to appear as a requirement in a draft
> > Recommendation, formal Objections would likely
> > be raised by some font vendors and/or Microsoft.
> > It is unlikely that these Objections could be
> > resolved by the WG and thus they would be taken
> > up by the Director in consultation with the AB
> > and TAG.
> As sad as I am to say it, this is incorrect.  There is no such
> consensus - the IE team refuses to implement it.

Which leaves, then, a "*rough* consensus" 
that we can reasonably expect will generate
formal Objections which the WG can not itself

The anticipation of such Objections is not,
in and of itself, a reason to paralyze progress.
The authorities and duties of the Director exist
within the process precisely to handle such

> > Such sanctification risks creating a schism in
> > which Microsoft refuses to ever conform.  Perhaps
> > such a schism harms W3C's overall efforts or perhaps
> > not.
> >
> > Withholding such sanctification risks creating a
> > schism in which Microsoft plays an unduly dominant
> > role in determining the content of Recommendations.
> "Microsoft" doesn't play an unduly dominant role.  Users do.  A
> majority of users are using a Microsoft-created browser.  Thus any
> proposal which Microsoft absolutely refuses to conform to is a
> non-starter, at least if you want your proposals to reflect reality
> rather than fantasy.

Your analysis presumes that we ought to 
recognize Microsoft's refusal as legitimately
representing the interests of those users.

It is true that if Microsoft remains intransigent
on these issues then the web and W3C are in
some sense harmed.  This certainly does not benefit
Microsoft's or any users.

It is equally true that if Microsoft's intransigence
blocks something so basic as a TTF/OTF recommendation
then, again, the web and W3C are harmed.

What is emerging is a case where W3C must 
"pick its poison".

The decision of what "reflects reality" here is not
yours are mine to make, in this process.  It
is for the Director.

> I hate this fact, but there are lots of things about reality that I
> hate.  It doesn't go away when I refuse to believe in it, though.

A reality that will not go away is that if you
grant a single firm de facto dictatorial power 
over W3C Recommendations then you make a farce out
of the W3C process.  In the bigger picture, the
disposition of font support in IE is less important
than that political question.

Received on Monday, 3 August 2009 18:13:54 UTC

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