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RE: Fonts WG Charter feedback

From: Sylvain Galineau <sylvaing@microsoft.com>
Date: Tue, 30 Jun 2009 00:47:25 +0000
To: Håkon Wium Lie <howcome@opera.com>, "Levantovsky, Vladimir" <Vladimir.Levantovsky@MonotypeImaging.com>
CC: "www-font@w3.org" <www-font@w3.org>
Message-ID: <045A765940533D4CA4933A4A7E32597E020BD019@TK5EX14MBXC111.redmond.corp.microsoft.com>
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Håkon Wium Lie [mailto:howcome@opera.com]
>Sent: Monday, June 29, 2009 4:22 PM
>To: Levantovsky, Vladimir
>Cc: Håkon Wium Lie; Sylvain Galineau; www-font@w3.org

>Subject: RE: Fonts WG Charter feedback
>Another point that hasn't been discussed much is how long it takes to
>charter, write, vote, implement, test, deploy, and bug-fix a new W3C
>Recommendation. We have some numbers here:
> - W3C released the PNG Recommendation in October 1996. It took exactly
>   a decade for all browsers to add full support for PNG images: IE7
>   was released in October 2006
> - CSS2 was released in 1998. This year, more than a decade later, we
>   reached a point where all major browsers supports all major CSS2
>   features (that survived the CSS 2.1 pruning efforts).
> - SVG 1.0 became a W3C Recommendation in September 2001, but is still
>   not supported by all major browsers.

So we should forgo the standard process because it takes too long and let browser vendors settle
the outcome through market forces ? Well Hakon, we're definitely living interesting times :) Can you elaborate on how though ?
We have, by your count, four vendors supporting a solution that currently limits font choice for users and one that supports
free fonts as well as commercial fonts licensed for web use.

Which means we effectively have two levels of market fragmentation: not only does a major browser support a different font
encoding but a very large catalog of fonts can only be licensed for use by that browser today.

So designers must either ignore a majority of their users or limit their font choice. For a solution that aims to bring rich typography to the web for all users,
that seems a pretty painful place to start from; since web designers will have to deal with this situation for several years whether we attempt to define a standard or not, I don't
think it should be factor in the decision.

Dealing with this problem on behalf of all our users should be the responsibility of browser and font vendors, as opposed to browser vendors choosing the cheapest course of action for themselves.

Lastly, we're not trying to specify anything as complex as SVG, or even PNG, nor are we aiming to create a new font file format. We are trying to agree on a way to encode
existing font formats in a way that will ensure maximum font choice across all browsers. The technical work is, imo, very narrow - I would expect the document to be at most as long as our EOT submission - and the potential long-term payoff well worth the effort.
Received on Tuesday, 30 June 2009 00:48:08 UTC

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