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

Re: Fonts WG Charter feedback

From: Håkon Wium Lie <howcome@opera.com>
Date: Mon, 29 Jun 2009 00:45:32 +0200
Message-ID: <19015.62092.894236.154773@opera.com>
To: www-style@w3.org
Cc: Dave Crossland <dave@lab6.com>, Stephen Zilles <szilles@adobe.com>, Thomas Phinney <tphinney@cal.berkeley.edu>
[I didn't intend for my feedback message to start a new discussion
thread. I'll limit my reply to one message to not pollute www-style
more than necessary]

Dave Crossland wrote:

 > > We have four interoperable implementations of webfonts: Gecko, Presto,
 > > Prince, Webkit.
 > >
 > > These implementations have followed W3C Recommendations when
 > > implementing web fonts,
 > 
 > Doesn't IE follow the web fonts W3C recommendation (albeit only for a
 > single DRM format)?

Yes. Both Microsoft and Netscape released webfont implementations
around 1997 that used the CSS2 syntax. They were not interoperable,
though, as they supported no common font format.

W3C Recommendations are of little use unless they eventually provide
interoperability. This time around -- hooray! -- the implementations
/are/ interoperable.

Thomas Phinney wrote:

 > > We have four interoperable implementations of webfonts:
 > 
 > And you have ~30K free fonts that are interoperable with those
 > implementations (even if most of them are useless)

Most of the web is useless. Still, it's pretty neat.

 > and ~twice that many retail fonts that are not legally
 > interoperable with those implementations.

In 1993, most content wasn't legally interoperable with the web. 

Stephen Zilles wrote:

 > The purpose of a Font Working Group is to help ensure that all font
 > vendors can participate in supplying WebFonts. This has nothing to
 > do with the CSS specification for Web Fonts which is font format
 > neutral. Each UA is free to choose which font formats it will
 > support.

Browsers should strive to support the same formats. This will make the
work of web designers easier. The more font formats there are, the
higher the risk of non-interoperability.

 > So creating a Font Working Group says nothing about the basic CSS
 > specification for Web Fonts. Therefore, it seems disingenuous to
 > say that creating a Font Working Group is saying something about
 > the readiness of Web Fonts.

Creating a new Fonts WG will steal the thunder from the current
implementations. 

(The situation is remarkably similar to the creation of the W3C XSL WG
in 1998, which -- I believe -- sent a "wait, style sheets are not
ready yet"-message. This slowed the adoption of CSS, which, in turn,
slowed the adoption of other W3C specs. At that point, the situation
could easily have been rectified by not using the word "style" in the
the name of the new group. Likewise, there is a simple solution this
time, too. See below.)

 > If there is no need for another format, then time will establish
 > that fact.

I'd turn that around: if there is a need for a new format, time will
establish that fact. If, say, web fonts are successful in five years,
let's reconsider.

As mentioned previously, I'd also consider a new format now if IE
commits to interoperability with the other browsers. If Microsoft does
not make that interoperability commitment, they should not be rewarded
with a new Font WG.

-h&kon
              Håkon Wium Lie                          CTO °þe®ª
howcome@opera.com                  http://people.opera.com/howcome
Received on Sunday, 28 June 2009 22:46:27 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Tuesday, 26 March 2013 17:20:19 GMT