RE: New work on fonts at W3C

On Wednesday, June 17, 2009 2:56 AM Patrick Garies wrote:
> 1. There are free fonts out there and they will likely become more
> prevalent with support for TrueType and OpenType fonts on the Web.

Yes, it's likely that there will be more free fonts available. 
However, the technology like EOT does not preclude the use of free fonts - it will facilitate their use in exactly the same way that it will enable the use of commercial fonts. 
The bottom line is that "EOT-like" web font solution: 
- empowers web designers to make their own choices of fonts, regardless whether it's free or commercial;
- enables high-quality typography on the web;
- puts the freedom of choice in the hand of the web designer with many different options (both free and for pay) available for them to choose.
To the contrary, the raw TrueType / OpenType solution is very limited and deprives the web designers of this freedom.

> 2. These "high-quality fonts" will only be available to "billions of
> [W]eb users" that pay for them.

The high-quality fonts will be available to millions of web designers who'd choose to pay for them. The billions of web users will benefit as a result from the rich typography that the Web will have to offer. They [web users] will get a new, friendly and readable web, at no cost to them.

> 3. In gaining this "freedom" to purchase licenses, you are sacrificing
> freedom with formats like EOT which, apparently, are patent-encumbered.

The use of patented technology does not require sacrificing any freedom, especially if the patent holder makes a commitment to make the IP available for worldwide use, freely and without any discrimination. In fact, the use of patented technology brings you more freedom even if one needs to pay for it. Digital video and audio are heavily patented technologies, yet in just a few years they transformed the world. Patent protection is the driving force behind many technological breakthrough - it makes it worthwhile for companies to invest in R&D and be able to recover their investments and to profit from them. Everybody benefits as a result - the world wouldn't have HDTV, iPod and iPhone (and many other gadgets that we *love* paying for) without patents. EOT doesn't make you pay for fonts, it enables web designers who would love to do it do exactly what they love. Everybody else will benefit from their work free of charge.

> 4. Much of the problem with being unable to render certain languages on
> the Web reliably will be mitigated by being able to download fonts—any
> font—with the glyphs necessary to display the characters. This doesn't
> require a particularly high-quality font.

Web users who rely on downloadable fonts to render certain languages are likely to have slow and unreliable internet connections - they would definitely benefit from downloadable fonts being as small as possible. This is where efficient compression becomes most valuable, and it does not discriminate - it will compress equally well a font that you've got for free, or the one that you chose to pay for.
As far as quality is concerned - you are free to choose to use a free font of poor quality or pay a few bucks for a font that is high-quality. It's your website and nobody shall deny you this freedom of choice.


Received on Thursday, 18 June 2009 19:59:32 UTC