Re: Web font linking progress summary

On Thu, Jul 9, 2009 at 9:26 AM, Ben Weiner<> wrote:
> Hi,
> Here's my reading of the state of play. It might be useful.
> There is not a need for a new /font/ format. Nobody thinks it is a good idea
> - there are enough issues working with operating systems, applications, and
> TTF/OTF - let alone bitmaps, old-school Type 1s ...
> There /is/ a need for a wrapper. Tom Lord made the original case and there
> is acknowledgement that this proposal stands with other related work outside
> of typography, such as Creative Commons' Mozilla plug-in
> (, that express the rights and
> attributions of original content to web users.

For our (authors) purposes, a wrapper *is* a new font format.  It's
equally useless to us for the next half-decade or so.

> There /is/ a need to find a way to express the rights of use which allow the
> users of a web page to enjoy the enrichment of linked media. When they use
> linked media, publishers are currently unable to use machine-readable means
> to credit the contributory work of others or give any indication that it is
> not in their authority to let others make free use of it. They thus gag
> people like photographers and type designers, whether or not those people
> wish to share their work at second hand. This is an online culture issue,
> not a type issue, and it will snowball unless browser developers and the web
> development community agree that they should start to express those rights
> in a sensible way.

It is still not clear that expressing license rights in a
machine-readable fashion is necessary or even desirable.  Several
browser vendors have expressed that they have no interest in
attempting to enforce such schemes.

> I think we are all slowly coming to see that the question of people
> downloading the font files to the desktop and disregarding any licensing
> terms is a total red herring. What we want is to express rights, promoting
> the people who did the original work and fostering a co-operative online
> culture, rather than wasting energy trying to stop people being naughty.

I disagree.  Most foundries are still in a pre-filesharing mentality,
where stopping people from using webfonts on the desktop *is* a
priority.  While I may personally disagree with this, I also
personally disagree with any real effort at embedding rights within a
file, as I find them equally useless.

> In any case I think the discussion so far has been excellent. In particular
> we have already destroyed:
> - slicing up fonts into bits
> - changing font names
> - shunting font table data around
> - the original EOT proposal from way back when.

As Francois pointed out, the EOT proposal is far from dead.  It's
still an excellent idea for using fonts *right now*, or at least much
sooner than other solutions.


Received on Thursday, 9 July 2009 18:01:52 UTC