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Re: [csswg-drafts] [css-fonts] limit local fonts to those selected by users in browser settings (or other browser chrome) (#4497)

From: r12a via GitHub <sysbot+gh@w3.org>
Date: Wed, 04 Mar 2020 13:27:00 +0000
To: public-css-archive@w3.org
Message-ID: <issue_comment.created-594521142-1583328419-sysbot+gh@w3.org>
> I believe the number of people is much smaller than it appears considering that the most popular systems already have even long-dead scripts covered.

I think that's over-optimistic. So here's some data. This is a list of **whole script blocks** (rather than languages or new or missing characters, etc)  that are not supported by system fonts on my Mac: 
for Europe, Caucasian Albanian, Cyrillic extended-c, Elbasan, Glagolitic supplement, Linear A, Old Hungarian, Latin extended-D & E, Linear A, Old Hungarian, Old Permic, Phaistos Disk; 
for Africa, Adlam, Bassah Vah, Egyptian format controls, Medefaidrin, Mende Kikakui, Meroitic Cursive, Meroitic Hieroglyphs; 
for West Asia, Arabic Extended A, Chorasmian, Elymaic, Hatran, Nabataean, Old North Arabian, Palmyrene, Psalter Pahlavi, Syriac Supplement, Yezidi;  
for Central Asia, Manichaean, Marchen, Mongolian Supplement, Sogdian, Old Sogdian, Soyombo, Zanabazar Square; 
for South Asia, Ahom, Bhaiksuki, Devanagari extended, Dives Akuru, Dogra, Grantha, Gunjala Gondi, Khojki, Khudawadi, Mahajani, Masaram Gondi, Modi, Mro, Multani, Nandinagari, Newa, Sharada, Siddham, Sora Sompeng, Takri, Tamil Supplement, Tirhua, Vedic Extensions, Wancho, Warang Citi;
for Southeast Asia, Hanifi Rohingya, Pahawh Hmong, Pau Cin Hau;
for Southeast Asia, Makasar
for East Asia, Bopomofo Extended, CJK Compatbility Ideographs Supplement, Ideograph Symbols & Punctuation, Hangul Jamo (large proportion of), Hangul Jamo Extended A & B, Kana Extended A, Kana Supplement, Small Kana Extension, Khitan Small Script, Miao, Nushu, Tangut
for the Americas, Mayan Numerals, Nyiakeng Puachue Hmong, Osage, UCAS Extended.

I'll stop there, rather than continuing with categories such as Notational systems, Alphanumeric Symbols, Technical Symbols, Numbers & Digits, Arrows, Mathematical Symbols, Emoji & Pictographs, Game Symbols, and Other Symbols, each of which i expect to include at least one block without coverage.

Some of the above are for archaic languages, but others are for minority languages that have been given a way to put their content online.

I'm also concerned, however, that your comment implies that as long as there is some font available, then that's fine.  I'd argue that that's not usually the case.  For example, this morning i was working on Syriac. Sure you can see characters in Syriac using a system font, but for the Mac that appears to mean the Noto Sans Syriac Eastern font only.  That is not helpful if you are writing in a Western Syriac language, or working with religious or archaic content that needs the Estrangela font. I tried changing the language tag, but it didn't help.  But even then, the Noto font doesn't really provide what people would expect to see.  Here's a sentence in the 3 Noto fonts, Estrangela, Eastern, and Western:

![Screenshot 2020-03-04 at 13 08 50](https://user-images.githubusercontent.com/4839211/75882571-587cf900-5e19-11ea-9d54-06e119100958.png)

And here's the same text using 3 fonts that are much closer to what you'd normally see when writing these 3 varieties of Syriac, each with their own distinctive characteristics, rather than with the harmonisation applied by Noto.

![Screenshot 2020-03-04 at 13 11 06](https://user-images.githubusercontent.com/4839211/75882856-ed7ff200-5e19-11ea-8c7f-1d050f0ab79f.png)

I'm not saying that you can't get around this by using webfonts, or for the time being local fonts, in your CSS.  I'm just trying to make the point that a one-size-fits-all font, like Noto, is likely to strip out important local cultural aspects of the text, and if it's the only game in town, can cause significant problems in languages where there are writing style variants, such as the 3 syriac varieties just mentioned, or looped vs unlooped Thai letters, or Naskh vs Nastaliq vs Kano vs Magrebi etc styles in Arabic, slanted vs upright vs rounded in Khmer and other scripts, etc.

hth



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Received on Wednesday, 4 March 2020 13:27:02 UTC

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