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Re: Freedom for Fonts

From: Michael Emmel <mike@jmaca.com>
Date: Mon, 09 Feb 1998 12:09:33 -0700
Message-ID: <34DF546D.16E6C6EF@jmaca.com>
To: www-font@w3.org
Bill McCoy wrote:

> Mike, I think *you* are missing the real problem. It's not proprietary
> technology, it's protection of intellectual property (an issue not specific
> to fonts, but exacerbated for fonts by the murky copyright status granted
> to font programs).

Why is it murky. I believe  computer fonts have been around for at least 20-30
years.
That's a long time to not have the law clarified. I would think Adobe would
/could push
Congress for a standard set of laws.
I would have done it during Reagan's second term : )

If the laws are still murky  this is due to some failing on Adobe , Sun,
Apple, Microsoft,  IBM etc.
There is no reason the computer industry could not get congress to pass well
understood laws
for computer fonts.

The fact that this has not happened long ago  reflects on the computer
industry.
It should have been  before I was born (1968)
If man made to the moon by then you would think he would have also been able
to solve *murky*
copyright problems in a multi-billion dollar industry.
I won't say any more on that topic.


>
>
> Both Type 1 and TrueType, the industry standard font formats, have
> specifications that are public. Type 1 has even achieved ISO "PAS"
> (Publicly Available Specification) status - i.e., it's further along the
> standardization road than Java. There is an ongoing effort to unify and
> further standardize these formats, with enabling Web typography an
> important goal, see:
>
> http://www.adobe.com/supportservice/devrelations/opentype/main.htm
>
> OpenType (Type 1 and TrueType) are as "free" as anything gets in this
> industry - i.e., you can create and/or interpret a font object without
> owing anyone money. This is not true of all font solutions (e.g.
> Bitstream's TrueDoc) but it means that adding yet another font format
> (YAFF) based on serialized Java bytecodes wouldn't improve anything for the
> industry - in fact, it would make things worse, given that we're trying to
> make things simpler by unifying the existing formats.

I have a implementation in C called freetype they reported some problems with
doing a clean room implementation based on the standard.  Except for backwards
compatibility there is no reason for
a java specific  standard to follow such a format.

>
>
> Conversely, a new Java-based format as per your proposal wouldn't solve the
> *real* IP issue for fonts - protection of property. This is the same issue
> for all web-based intellectual property, and I believe will be solved via a
> uniform crypto mechanism. OpenType and the W3C font work puts in place a
> framework to enable IP protection - this doesn't by itself solve the
> problem, but neither would a Java format.
>
> --Bill
>
> P.S. IMHO if the industry *did* need yet another font format there would be
> strong motivation to make it XML based not Java...
>

Java object serialization allows the programmer to control the format of the
serialized object
It could be in any standard format or XML all that is required is that both
parties have the classes
for deserilization. I see no reason what the standard serialization mechanism
to a [encrypted]
zip output stream is not sufficient for a java specific font format. Other
"standard" formats would simply be options. To me the whole concept of
standard file formats make little or no sense in java.
There a relic of c programming.

And  c relic  in another area.
In my main work server programing I use only RMI and socket based
protocol's are relegated to backward compatibility modules. In a distributed
object model they no longer
make any sense.

Java  standards are at the class/interface level.



> At 09:34 AM 2/9/98 -0700, you wrote:
> >Dan I read your web page.
> >http://www.alumni.caltech.edu/~dank/javafont.htm
> >
> >But I think your missing the real problem Its not Javasoft.
> >The problem is fonts are proprietary. Plus there is a strong precedence
> >for control of
> >font readers creators and where and how they display there glyphs.
> >Downloaded fonts being a
> >big problem. Javasoft  for convince want's to use Adobe and MS fonts
> >that are
> >available on each machine unfortunately they cannot allow uninhibited
> >redistribution
> >via java because of copyright.
> >I would be extremely hesitant to build the technology that would allow
> >trivial transmission and use of fonts with todays copyrights.
> >
> >As you know the browsers are barley able to use downloaded fonts in a
> >crippled way.
> >This is not sufficient for a real program.
> >
> >With the new "web" old style proprietary fonts are as crippling as
> >Microsoft controlling
> >all web browsers.
> >
> >The   only answer in my opinion is to develop a new free font
> >technology in Java.
> >With  "fonts" represented by serialized objects.
> >
> >The creation of a "Font" object is font file/Tool  dependent but after
> >that it is trivial to
> >simply serialize the font objects.  One simply has to use freely
> >available fonts.
> >
> >Bitmap fonts are easy. I have not  yet worked on "outline" fonts but
> >they are also
> >quit doable. You just have to come  up with a serialization scheme.
> >And since the object knows how to recreate itself this scheme need not
> >be standard.
> >There are tons of free fonts out there so there is nothing preventing
> >you from creating
> >enough to satisfy basic programing needs.
> >
> >These serialized objects can be read by "c" programs if  you had too.
> >
> >Its actually fairly trivial the only real problem is in the beginning
> >you will have to avoid
> >all the copywrited  fonts until they become irrelevant.  Adobe  won't
> >change its
> >copyright policy  until consumers demand it.
> >
> >
> >This is the way to break the "Font" monopoly IMHO.
> >
> >Just do it : )
> >
> >
> >Mike
> >
> >mike@jmaca.com
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
Received on Monday, 9 February 1998 13:59:45 UTC

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