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Re: Rumours of the death of "new, professionally designed typefaces" are perhaps exaggerated?

From: Tab Atkins Jr. <jackalmage@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 6 Aug 2009 16:02:34 -0500
Message-ID: <dd0fbad0908061402w23059delbd00d0c1b9e69e4b@mail.gmail.com>
To: Thomas Lord <lord@emf.net>
Cc: François REMY <fremycompany_pub@yahoo.fr>, Chris Fynn <cfynn@gmx.net>, www-font <www-font@w3.org>, John Hudson <tiro@tiro.com>, Ben Weiner <ben@readingtype.org.uk>
On Thu, Aug 6, 2009 at 3:27 PM, Thomas Lord<lord@emf.net> wrote:
> On Thu, 2009-08-06 at 14:26 -0500, Tab Atkins Jr. wrote:
>
>> > None of the other browser makers want to implement
>> > the protection features of that proposal.  If
>> > people who currently have restricted license fonts
>> > in the wild in EOT were to assert that other browsers
>> > should go ahead and implement EOT but without any
>> > kind of enforcement, some other browser implementers
>> > would likely still object but the case in favor would
>> > at least be a lot stronger.
>>
>> Do you have any reason to believe that authors in the wild would ask
>> for that?  Or is this just part of your charming hypothetical?
>
> Not exactly either.  Rather:

So, to answer the question I posed: no, you don't have any reason to
believe that.  Why did you pose such a scenario if you don't believe
that it's true?

> The discussion around EOTL has become highly
> polarized.

Indeed, we're split into three camps: (1) people like me who think
EOTL's a good compromise solution, (2) people like, say, ROC who want
to withhold an official opinion until things settle down a bit more,
and (3) you.

> On one side, some browser-maker opponents have
> clearly stated their unwillingness to consider
> EOTL.  They've clearly articulated a few reasons.
> Among those reasons:
>
> One reason is fear of pressure from the market
> to emulate the "quirks" of IE<=8.

That was brought up once, has nothing to do with a font format (it's a
broken @font-face implementation), and was put to rest by Sylvain (who
promised that those bugs will be fixed).

As well, I explained here on the list why those quirks aren't horrible
to live with, and how to work around them with a minimum of pain.
Compared to some of the other things I've had to do to get IE to
behave, this was a walk in the park.

> Another reason
> is fear of the legal hazards of implementing EOT
> sans protections.   Those two reasons are deeply
> complementary (each makes the other worse).

You are the only person on the entire list, to my knowledge, that has
ever suggested ignoring the protections on existing EOT fonts.  As far
as I can tell, every time you've brought it up (and you've done so
several times) it has been solely to produce a strawman that you can
then knock down.

> On the other side, two browser makers and some
> others are pushing ahead on EOTL as if consensus
> on EOTL remains possible, perhaps even likely.

Not quite.  MS supports it, and Daggett from Moz is interested in
experimenting with it.  Moz does not have an official opinion on the
matter.

> If that were all there were to it then all manner
> of compromises might be possible - a variety of
> concessions from either side might do the trick.
> Alas:
>
> The further problem is that the legal worries
> of the opponents are substantial enough, and
> of such a nature, that they rise to the level
> of a W3C policy concern.  A draft Recommendation
> which did not relieve those concerns would likely
> just escalate the fight to the Director level.

Can you articulate these legal worries?  As far as I can tell, you are
the only person who appears to have any, and they mostly (or maybe
completely) revolve around non-existent proposals that you've made up
out of whole cloth.

> It is hard to imagine any other outcome, should
> that happen, then a decision that "no consensus
> has been reached" - hence no Recommendation.
>
> It is noteworthy that there is precedent for such
> an outcome in the recent dropping of certain
> media format goals by the HTML5 WG.

The video codec debate in HTML5 was completely unrelated.  It was a
case of two camps each asserting that they are shipping support for
one codec, but refuse to support the other, and neither side budging.
There were actual, valid legal concerns informing that debate.  The
dropping of official language concerning codec support from HTML5 is a
strictly temporary measure until a format can be agreed on.

> The *suggestion* that relevant stakeholders
> declare that they would expect some conforming
> UAs to support EOT without enforcement
> is meant both to concisely illustrate that impasse
> and to point out the one way I can see of getting
> past it.
>
> Taking the suggestion would not guarantee
> the passage of an EOTL Recommendation - concerns
> about the "IE quirks issue" would still exist - but
> it would give an EOTL Recommendation a chance
> at approval.

So far you are the only person suggesting such a thing, and no one
else agrees that it would be a help.  On the contrary, several people
(me included) think it might *create* the very legal troubles that you
keep bringing up.

> I admire the enthusiasm going into the EOTL work
> As things stand, though, it appears highly unlikely
> the EOTL work can go through, no matter how
> enthusiastically one side in the polarized debate
> embraces it.

The one person who's really jumped at one of the objections you've
brought up - Hakon - did so over a *marketing* issue that can be
solved very simply by changing the name of the proposed format.  Your
legal concerns appear unfounded, and your suggestions appear designed
to actually introduce legal problems into the format, thus killing any
chance of actual support.

~TJ
Received on Thursday, 6 August 2009 21:03:30 GMT

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