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Re: CSS3 @font-face / EOT Fonts - new compromise proposal

From: Mikko Rantalainen <mikko.rantalainen@peda.net>
Date: Thu, 13 Nov 2008 15:06:41 +0200
Message-ID: <491C2661.7060604@peda.net>
To: www-style@w3.org
Aryeh Gregor wrote:
> On Tue, Nov 11, 2008 at 7:06 PM, Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch> wrote:
>> My question is, why do we care? We should be caring about the needs of the
>> users and Web developers above all else. And it doesn't seem to me that
>> there is a problem faced by these constituencies that is solved by making
>> the technology work less well for those constituencies.
> But a basic principle of W3C operations is that if implementers refuse
> to implement something, it has to be scrapped.  And in this case,
> correct me if I'm wrong, Microsoft is not willing to implement
> anything that doesn't make font foundries reasonably happy.  That
> appears to be why anyone cares.

I'd assume that Microsoft would implement a raw TTF font support in
their browser if it were supported by other major players (Mozilla,
Opera, Apple) and free fonts were used on web sites. Perhaps they would
add some checks not to load font files without some bits set to make
font foundries happy.

> 1) Many if not most of the foundries would be forced to allow web
> licensing of bare font files, sooner or later, if that was the only
> way to tap into a big web font market.

I agree. Make that the only choice available and they will bend. They
will not like it but they will do it.

> 2) 95%+ of users and developers can't tell the difference in
> professionalism anyway between the fanciest fonts out there and
> something a half-decent amateur cooked up in his basement in his spare
> time.

That is also true. In addition, even the most developers that can tell
the difference, would select the half-decent free font over a commerical
font that the vendor will not license for the usage required. Or even if
the cost (in money or implementation difficulties) would be too high.

> 4) Even if free fonts tend to be a lot worse in some respects, it has
> been admitted here that some high-quality professional fonts are
> freely licensed (even if they weren't openly developed in the first
> place).  That number can only possibly increase, since fonts that are
> freely licensed are not likely to be un-licensed (they can't be, if
> free means as in speech).  So any lack of font quality is likely to be
> of limited duration anyway.

I agree. Also, I'd expect free fonts to get better because if there's
something wrong in a given font, it can be fixed by any single user that
can 1) understand the problem and 2) use the tools available to fix the
problem. The part 2) will be fixed by free software, the part 1) I don't

> But all the above is worth nothing if Microsoft won't implement it.
> Just as any arguments in favor of DRM or patent-encumbered font
> technology are worth nothing if Mozilla won't.  The feature could
> become a Recommendation if only Mozilla/WebKit/Presto/etc. implemented
> it, but if the price is that web authors are forced to package the
> same font in two different ways to get it to work in all browsers, is
> that worth it?

If all other vendors but Microsoft implement the feature, then Microsoft
will (sooner or later) implement it, too. Especially true, if the use of
different fonts really is a big deal.


Received on Thursday, 13 November 2008 13:07:24 UTC

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