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Re: EOT & DMCA concerns

From: Jonathan Kew <jonathan@jfkew.plus.com>
Date: Wed, 5 Aug 2009 09:29:39 +0100
Cc: John Daggett <jdaggett@mozilla.com>, www-font <www-font@w3.org>
Message-Id: <FFD67802-83B0-4382-9DFC-EC8E3E8902DB@jfkew.plus.com>
To: Sylvain Galineau <sylvaing@microsoft.com>
On 5 Aug 2009, at 02:18, Sylvain Galineau wrote:

>> Others seem to view EOT-Lite as a stepping stone format that would be
>> followed by a better .webfont/ZOT/something-else format.  But another
>> new format would need to offer a big marginal advantage to offset the
>> disruption supporting yet another format would cause.
>
> I lean towards being one of them. What kind of specific  
> disruption(s) are we
> Talking about though ?

One concern I have is that if we all implement EOT-Lite (by whatever  
name) now, it will be more difficult for a new and better format to  
gain acceptance, and so we may end up with an inferior format in the  
long term for the sake of short-term gain. If we introduce a format  
such as .webfont/.zot/etc at this point, there's a strong incentive  
for everyone to get on board; this will be reduced if there's EOTL as  
an available, interoperable solution even if it is technically less  
optimal.

I'm not convinced that the issue of backward compatibility with the  
legacy IE installed base is as valuable or crucial as some seem to  
think. For one thing, there are the rumored "quirks" in existing IE  
@font-face support, which may require custom CSS support anyway, in  
which case authors might as well be serving a separate format as well  
(i.e., EOT for legacy IE, new web fonts for others). At least in the  
case of IE6, which is said to be widely deployed among the slow-to- 
upgrade user base, the limitation of one font per family name is  
pretty damning.

If we disregard the non-upgrading IE6 user base, on the grounds that  
sites wanting to support them will have to use custom workarounds  
anyway, we're left with the IE7/8 users. Yes, there are lots of them.  
But there are also lots of Firefox 3.0 and 3.5 users, for example, not  
to mention Safari, Konqueror, Opera, etc. All these users would need  
to upgrade in order to see EOTL fonts.

I don't think it is reasonable to let the outcome be dictated by an  
assumption that "IE users can't be expected to upgrade in order to see  
standard linked fonts; users of other browsers can". Microsoft is just  
as capable as any other vendor of delivering an upgrade that adds  
support for a new font format, especially if it is a simple-to- 
implement format such as .zot or .webfont. It comes down to vendor  
priorities and resource allocation, and user choice. If MS chooses to  
be slow about delivering such an upgrade, or if users choose to be  
slow about adopting it, they'll be no worse off than today; they will  
still see fallback fonts. I don't think that is such a disastrous  
outcome that we should allow it to push us into standardizing on a  
less-optimal web font solution.

JK
Received on Wednesday, 5 August 2009 08:30:26 GMT

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