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Re: Announcing new font compression project

From: Thomas Phinney <tphinney@cal.berkeley.edu>
Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2012 11:53:26 -0700
Message-ID: <CAO6Fj1VxvHePNKfXiYpDs5rMFOY3sYnkpxGu9Pw__52NK1gkEQ@mail.gmail.com>
To: rfink@readableweb.com
Cc: www-font@w3.org
On Thu, Mar 29, 2012 at 10:40 AM, Richard Fink <rfink@readableweb.com> wrote:

> I don't think anyone doubts that had Monotype not had the method patent on MTX, cross platform tools to make compressed EOT's would have been generally available.

I doubt it. Possible, but not certain. There was already a tool to
make compressed EOTs freely available. The problem 14 years ago was
not a lack of fabulous EOT-making tools, it was:

- bandwidth was lower, hardly anybody had broadband outside of work

- web browsers were using proprietary unpublished formats (EOT was
still private, as was TrueDoc PFR)

- not all browsers supported any web font format at all

- IIRC (and I could be wrong) to make/use PFR files cost money.

All these factors caused most web developers and designers to ignore
web fonts. Having better EOT-making tools would not have changed this.

But on the side, I think everybody is almost agreeing on why MT didn't
release the MTX patent earlier. There were costs to doing so—primarily
legal and also just the organizational time sink to make it happen. So
they didn't want to put in the effort unless they could be guaranteed
it would be used. This was a little irksome in that it created a
chicken-and-egg problem, but perfectly understandable. It's not like
Monotype was unclear about any of this, either.

In the end, as John says, patent issues were just one of multiple
reasons EOT was not adopted. Besides the reasons he cited, I think
that in at least some quarters, some folks did not want to adopt a
formerly proprietary MS technology as a standard—either out of general
distaste, or because it would give IE a leg up in the marketplace of
browsers, as IE had been shipping EOT support for so many years.



“Why shouldn't truth be stranger than fiction? Fiction, after all, has
to make sense.”
 —Mark Twain
Received on Thursday, 29 March 2012 18:54:19 UTC

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