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Re: New work on fonts at W3C

From: Aryeh Gregor <Simetrical+w3c@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 19 Jun 2009 13:50:35 -0400
Message-ID: <7c2a12e20906191050v62679543p4dccb0203ed73ec0@mail.gmail.com>
To: "Levantovsky, Vladimir" <Vladimir.Levantovsky@monotypeimaging.com>
Cc: "Tab Atkins Jr." <jackalmage@gmail.com>, Patrick Garies <pgaries@fastmail.us>, Adam Twardoch <list.adam@twardoch.com>, www-style@w3.org
On Thu, Jun 18, 2009 at 7:05 PM, Levantovsky,
Vladimir<Vladimir.Levantovsky@monotypeimaging.com> wrote:
> This is exactly where I see the opportunity for the web to excel - the fonts packaged with the browsers are not likely to support certain (many?) languages. Efficient web font solution would enable any web page be displayed in any of the world's languages - and this requires embedding high-quality body fonts, not just fancy fonts for headlines. Imagine the web where you can access any website in the world and always get to see the content as it was designed, in any language - regardless of the browser or the device you use, and whether fonts you have installed happen to have the glyphs you need to display the text. As a non-native English speaker I can assure you that world-wide web that always "speaks" your native language is a wonderful thing.

It seems like it would be much better to solve this on the OS end if
possible.  Then the author wouldn't have to worry about it any more
than the user, and you wouldn't have to download a (possibly large)
font file on every new site you go to in the foreign language.
Support for all languages can't be more than a few tens of megabytes
to add to a default OS install, can it?  Couldn't OSes just ship fonts
covering all of Unicode by default?

On Ubuntu with Shiretoko, where I don't remember downloading any extra
font packages beyond the default, all Language (local) column entries
at <http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/List_of_Wikipedias> display except
Khmer (km/148), Burmese (my/169), Gothic (got/204), Tibetan (bo/209),
Cherokee (chr/216), Dzongkha (dz/230), and Sichuan Yi (ii/257).  So
that's 259/266 = 97.4% that I can read by default, including the top
147.  Chrome on Vista does even better, only missing Burmese, Gothic,
and Sichuan Yi.  That's pretty good already, although not perfect.

However, this would fail for any language that's so obscure as to not
even have a Unicode range mapped to it.  Then you would need a web
font using a private-use range or such.  Does anyone have examples of
this occurring in practice?  Wikipedia
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unicode#Scripts_covered> gives examples
of writing systems like Avestan, Imperial Aramaic, and Linear A, which
don't have Unicode assignments yet but are centuries dead.  (In Linear
A's case, we don't even understand the language it's used for.)
Received on Friday, 19 June 2009 17:51:32 GMT

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