W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > June 2009

RE: New work on fonts at W3C

From: Sylvain Galineau <sylvaing@microsoft.com>
Date: Tue, 23 Jun 2009 11:04:50 -0700
To: CSS 3 W3C Group <www-style@w3.org>
Message-ID: <DBCD4020258D924A9887739500CF8E599CDA047198@NA-EXMSG-C125.redmond.corp.microsoft.com>

> -----Original Message-----
> From: www-style-request@w3.org [mailto:www-style-request@w3.org] On
> Behalf Of Anne van Kesteren
> I do not see why fonts ought to get special treatment and cannot be
> treated just like images, videos, etc.

And given how easily and copied and linked images and videos are, and given that a font file is not a static finished work but one that enables said linker and copier to format content that has nothing to do with the license holder's, you should be able to at least understand font vendors'discomfort with the ramifications. 

For what it's worth, I totally agree that your preferred solution is the ideal one for anyone writing a spec or implementing the code. It's both simple and consistent. And if relative code simplicity and architectural consistency are your primary goals then your position is fundamentally valid. 

However, if your goal were to make the largest variety of fonts available for use on the web as soon as possible then this solution, however technically clean, will fall very far from what relatively less clean but low-cost alternatives could achieve. Sure, font vendors may come around some day, or be 'replaced' by others who want to license raw files; if my project deadline was circa 2022 then maybe it'd be easy for me to join Ian and wait for the world to come around to accepting my perfect solution over the merely good enough one. 

This is the core trade-off; some of us do not want to compromise on the architecture at any cost. Others believe the potential benefits are worth a compromise.

Lastly, a question : yes, font files are not different resources as far as HTTP is concerned but they're very different from images or videos in how they're used at runtime. They're not statically displayed blobs that replay in the exact same way every time; they dynamically lay out your content according to very complex algorithms and rules embedded in them. They're much closer to code e.g. a Javascript library embedded in an app. As we know, Google and many others routinely obfuscate their Javascript code, sometimes block others from linking to it and generally make it hard for others to re-use it. Does that constitute DRM ?

Received on Tuesday, 23 June 2009 18:07:32 UTC

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