RE: New work on fonts at W3C

On Tuesday, June 23, 2009 6:15 PM James Elmore wrote:
> Hello, All,
> This discussion is progressing, but I have a tangential question I
> wish to pose:
> If the font vendors believe that special handling is necessary for
> their products when used on the web, why do *they* not do something
> about it?
> Adobe produced "Reader" and provided it freely to allow the use of
> their product on the web. If fonts are special, then allow the font
> vendors to produce a plug-in or special encryption code for browsers.
> Of course, in the case of special code, it would have to be GPL-
> compatible so Mozilla would incorporate it.
> If they are willing to 'put their money where their mouths are' it
> would be a wonderful experiment, comparing the use of 'free' fonts
> vs. 'paid' fonts. 

And I believe that fonts vendors have already done exactly what you
suggested. Monotype Imaging contributed its patented font compression
technology and agreed to make it available on GPL-compatible terms, free
for all. This compression can be applied equally well for both
commercial and free fonts. 
I would expect that browser vendors should make a step forward from
their entrenched positions and implement (with our help, if necessary) a
technology that is widely seen to be a very good thing for all web

> The winner, of course would be the users (both
> designers and readers), but if the font foundries are correct in
> their suppositions that high-quality fonts are worth the money, then
> they would also win. 

I absolutely agree.

> If the supposition is incorrect, no one --
> except the font vendors -- would be out anything. This would solve
> the question of 'DRM' or 'free', at least for fonts, once and for all.
> I would love to see this experiment carried out, and believe it would
> have interesting results. (Unguessable, but interesting, results,
> however it ends.)
> On Jun 23, 2009, at 2:49 PM, Levantovsky, Vladimir wrote:
> >> A touchstone question might be:  how does that conversion
> >> step benefit users?
> >
> > I see your point. In my opinion, by introducing this simple
> > conversion step we address the concerns of the font vendors and, in
> > turn, it would benefit web users by making large collection of high-
> > quality fonts available to them. As a result web users will also
> > benefit from high quality typography and worldwide language support
> > on the web.
> >
> My proposal would address the concerns of the vendors, as they would
> provide their own solution. It would also address the concerns of
> those who create the standards (written and UA implementations), that
> licensing and other social interactions should not affect the rest of
> the web -- unless an actual use case can be demonstrated. It would
> also allow the vendors to significantly speed up the (sometimes
> glacial) standards process and get their products in the marketplace
> rapidly (if they are willing to pay for it).
> </James>

Received on Tuesday, 23 June 2009 22:39:08 UTC