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

From: Thomas Phinney <tphinney@adobe.com>
Date: Thu, 13 Nov 2008 17:23:46 -0800
To: Aryeh Gregor <Simetrical@gmail.com>, Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
CC: Dave Singer <singer@apple.com>, "www-style@w3.org" <www-style@w3.org>
Message-ID: <6D096C8718FA4241B934489A5E1CE1420118E2DE64EC@nambx04.corp.adobe.com>
Aryeh took me to task for only addressing one of his objections.

Aryeh Gregor wrote:

> 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.  Even if only some did, web
> authors who cared would have access to a pretty good selection of
> professional fonts in the long term, even if not all of them.

"Forced"? I don't think so.

Actually, I think that if it becomes really clear to font vendors that the web font market is a huge gold mine, and they find the protection offered by the major web font standards to be inadequate, they'd find it worthwhile to fund something like EOT plug-ins for major browsers.

> 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.  I'm sure some people will take affront at this derogation of
> their profession, but it's the fact of the matter.  I have difficulty
> telling one font from another unless one does something annoying like
> having I and l indistinguishable, and I doubt most people are much
> different.

95% of free fonts aren't made by half-decent amateurs, but are significantly worse than that, and 95% of users and developers *can* tell the difference between those fonts and well-made fonts when it comes to body text on screen, even if they don't know why the one is illegible while the other works better.

But that doesn't even matter, because users and web *developers* aren't the market for web fonts. It's web *designers*, who are even more able to tell the difference.

Worse, usually a company or organization has an existing visual identity, and they want to translate that to the web, and the designer and the client would like to be able to use their existing branding fonts... which are usually retail fonts.

> 3) Most of those who could tell the difference wouldn't be able to
> afford the license fees.  This is the web, not print publication:
> budgets are close to zero for most web sites.  And web software
> definitely can't use fonts that aren't freely distributable, because
> it can't relicense the fonts to end users at the typical prices for
> web software.

You're claiming most sites can't afford $30-35 for a font?

Web software is indeed an issue, but if the fonts can be embedded in the web app or otherwise protected, the developers should be able to get decent licensing rates for fonts that meet their needs. Or they can use free fonts, as you say.

Cheers,

T
Received on Friday, 14 November 2008 01:24:27 GMT

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