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Re: Fonts WG Charter feedback

From: John Hudson <tiro@tiro.com>
Date: Mon, 06 Jul 2009 15:29:10 -0700
Message-ID: <4A527AB6.5080906@tiro.com>
To: Thomas Lord <lord@emf.net>
CC: karsten luecke <list@kltf.de>, www-font@w3.org, kl@kltf.de
Thomas Lord wrote:

> 1) Standardize only TTF/OTF for web fonts.
> 2) Standardize only some other format for web fonts.
> 3) Standardize both.

> Some font vendors and Microsoft have objected to 
> (1) on the grounds that they do not wish to legally
> permit the presence of their restricted license fonts
> on the web in TTF/OTF format for fear of rampant 
> unauthorized use.

> Several parties, notably most browser implementers,
> have objected to (2) on the basis of existing TTF/OTF
> support in many browsers and concerns about interoperability.

> Strong arguments in favor of (3) have been put forward
> yet these have met indications of refusal from Microsoft
> and the font vendors.  No rationale has been offered for 
> that refusal and so we are left to speculate.   In speculating,
> we look at what difference (3) makes and the exclusion of
> competition seems to be the largest difference.   Thus,
> I (and I'm apparently not alone) begin to think that that
> exclusion is the motivation for refusing (3).

I can't speak for Microsoft, who in terms of browser market dominance 
may, for all I know, be motivated as you suppose. It seems to me though, 
that for font vendors, the objection to (3) is basically the same as the 
objection to (1). TTF/OTF is fundamentally problematic for font vendors, 
and adding a second format doesn't make the first format less 
problematic. This is especially true when the only tool to determine 
whether a given font should be used on the web in a one format rather 
than the other is the license agreement, and the browser makers are 
telling us that they don't want to pay any attention to license 
information in the font.

By the way, I think the majority of font developers are no great fans of 
EOT. Indeed, Microsoft is only succeeding in selling EOT to some font 
makers now on the basis that 'It's not as bad as raw TTF/OTF'; whereas, 
for most of the past decade the complain from the font makers has been 
'It's almost as bad as raw TTF/OTF'.

Received on Monday, 6 July 2009 22:29:57 UTC

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