W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-font@w3.org > July to September 1996

Re: the alternative?

From: Erik van Blokland <evb@knoware.nl>
Date: Fri, 23 Aug 96 15:04:54 +0200
Message-Id: <199608231303.PAA13082@kalvermarkt.denhaag.dataweb.net>
To: "Michal Young" <young@cs.purdue.edu>, "Simon Daniels (Tech/Aid International Inc)" <i-simond@microsoft.com>
cc: "w3" <www-font@w3.org>
>From:        Michal Young, young@cs.purdue.edu:
>You can adopt an embedding scheme that users don't object to, or you can
>try to force a more secure scheme on the world --- but the secure scheme
>will just be ignored, and the download scenario will prevail.  I include
>authors in the term "users"; a distinction made sense for publishing on
>paper but is rapidly disappearing on the web. Users won't tolerate bitmap
>fonts (you can make them fast enough, or good enough, but not both), they
>won't tolerate schemes with indirection to a vendor font server (for both
>performance and convenience reasons), they won't tolerate font 
>(or so the experience with pdf suggests).

In other words, users will only tolerate good, valuable, multi-purpose 
fonts delivered to them for absolutely free as fast as technically 

Of course this is what users want. 

The users would also want free food, luxury cars and real estate, but 
this is hindered by the manufacturers of houses, food and cars, because 
it is an absurd thought. Yet somehow with typefaces (which are the result 
of hard work, experience and cunning just as any other object of desire) 
the will of the user should prevail? 

How come that everyone is convinced of the _importance_ of type on the 
web, yet over and over again the _value_ of type is open for discussion 
and that methods of attaching value to type are not ? In any other trade 
the increased demand for a commodity increases its value, but it is 
alright for a renewed desire for type to end in a world-wide free-for-all 

Shops that get plundered and manage to come back, do so with iron bars 
for the windows and a shotgun under the counter. Shopkeepers usually 
don't consider the overwhelming public demand for their goods a reason to 
decide to give it away, it only gives them a chip on their shoulder. So 
we can try free downloading, get burned, loose lots of money, waste time 
and effort, and only _then_ start develop secure embedding methods. No 

Every typefoundry I know suffers from massive fontpiracy, and they object 
to free download scenarios for obvious reasons. Some of these typepeople 
are quite vocal about their opinions and will continue to be so. The 
number of foundries might be small compared to the number of users, but 
luckily, just as food and cars this is not solved by a majority vote, but 
by the people that have something to trade.
Should downloading become popular despite better alternatives, a lot of 
providers, publishers and users, as well as manufacturers of enabling 
technology, will inevitably get hit by lawsuits from foundries, or 
consortia formed for this purpose. This is painful process that will make 
clear that many fonts won't be available for downloading. This would 
leave only a small group of fonts to be used on the web, making it a poor 
typographic environment. Free downloading will create a miserable 
situation for users and typefoundries the like, a short term advantage 
(not having to deal with security) will sour the future of typography and 
graphic design. If the coming years are going to be the information age, 
this is a bad start.

Protection schemes _will_ be accepted by users because it is the only way 
a large number of good typefaces will be made available to them.
Pixel fonts _will_ be accepted because they can do things that no outline 
font will be able to do. Web typography is an entirely *different* thing 
than wysiwig look-at-something-you're-going-to-print typography, and 
therefor needs other capabilities in typefaces.

Only highest security embedding is acceptable to typefoundries. We 
already know what happen if you don't.


erik van blokland, LettError type & typography
Home of the Randomfonts, Trixie, BitPull & GifWrap.
   letterror http://www.letterror.com
   typelab   http://www.dol.com/TypeLab/
Received on Friday, 23 August 1996 09:04:20 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.4.0 : Friday, 17 January 2020 22:37:29 UTC