W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-font@w3.org > April to June 2009

Re: restarting discussion

From: Håkon Wium Lie <howcome@opera.com>
Date: Tue, 30 Jun 2009 02:17:23 +0200
Message-ID: <19017.22931.532926.851735@opera.com>
To: Thomas Lord <lord@emf.net>
Cc: www-font <www-font@w3.org>
Also sprach Thomas Lord:

 > > The W3C specification must remain format-agnostic: any attempt to
 > > favor a certain format will lead to uproar from one camp or the other.
 > Where do you think there would be uproar against:
 >   1. Defining the wrapper I've described.
 >   2. Requiring that if a UA support font format X,
 >      it must support X-within-that-wrapper
 >   3. Saying UAs MUST support OT and/or TT, and 
 >      consequently MUST support the wrapped version
 >      of same.
 > I can see that it isn't a "done deal" but I see
 > cautious warming to the idea, not uproar.  Where
 > do you see uproar?

The uproar would be against saying, normatively, that UAs must support
format X. I would certainly scream out if EOT was favored in any way.

 > >  > On the one hand, you are in effect calling for a
 > >  > "mod_font" plugin for Apache that autoconverts to 
 > >  > EOT if it guesses the UA is IE.  
 > > That's a decent way of dealing with the fact that there's roughly a
 > > billion IE browsers out there, and that other browsers support TT/OT
 > > linking.
 > It is a detriment to W3C's standing if that's the
 > result we get stuck on.  That's part of what I mean 
 > by "adults in the room".   The "mod_font" solution is not
 > decent if you think about how it multiplies and distributes
 > labor costs and diminishes the quality of the result.

The labor costs of mod_font is negligible compared to the cost of
creating, debugging, and deploying a new font format.

 > > One <link> element is all that must be added to use
 > > webfonts this way. We dealt with PNG in its introductory phase, and
 > > fonts seem easier: no content is lost if the font can't be reached.
 > I wonder about what the next Donal Knuth might
 > think of that.


 > >  > There should be no normative language that requires
 > >  > display of the meta-data ("SHOULD", not "MUST").  
 > > Even so, I'm afraid the courts may rule differently.
 > Can you substantiate that fear or is it purely
 > your own issue?  Should *anyone* share that fear
 > for good reason?  If so, what reason?

W3C specs have, AFAIK, no legal binding under any jurisdiction. I
doubt a W3C Rec would trump DMCA (or similar laws in other
jurisdictions). So, yes, I think there's a chance that courts may rule
differently. Of course, you don't know until the answer until the
court has ruled, and the appeals have been made etc.

 > >  > By convention it can be used for licensing data but by no means
 > >  > does the presence or absence of the data or its presentation
 > >  > comprise an enforcement mechanism or its circumvention.
 > > Would I feel safe going through US immigration with this assurance?
 > > Probably not.
 > Your comment is inappropriate to the forum, even
 > if it is politically astute in drawing attention
 > to the alarming level of infringements upon civil rights
 > that we see in the security apparatus of the US, not 
 > least at airport and immigration security.  In other 
 > words, I'm not sorry you said that but it was formally
 > wrong of you to say it here, in this forum, in this context
 > and so I won't directly respond to it.

The problem isn't limited to the US, and I think it's fair to mention
it as it will factor into the decision-making of software developers.
For some people, even in Norway, it has been very real:


              Håkon Wium Lie                          CTO °þe®ª
howcome@opera.com                  http://people.opera.com/howcome
Received on Tuesday, 30 June 2009 00:18:14 UTC

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