font proposal bogosities

Two general sets of ideas seem to show up in the
font discussion that I think can be persuasively 
argued against as general categories.

These ideas are:

1. Requirements that browsers sometimes
   refuse to render with a font that is
   at hand to the browser.

2. New formats whose rationale is to be 
   different from existing font formats.


1. A requirement that a browser simply 
   decide to not render with a given font
   has the fatal flaw that it contributes 
   nothing at all to interoperability.

   Consider a hypothetical world in which EOT
   is Recommended and UAs "MUST" not render if
   the root string is mis-matched.

   In that world, consider a browser which,
   nevertheless, renders the font in such a circumstance.

   Interoperability is not broken.

   Indeed, refusing to render a font in cases
   like that is a bug:  programs can not accurately
   decide whether or not the user has the legal right
   to render with the font.

   And that bug is a bad bug: it can present a 
   threat to life and limb when a life critical 
   resource goes un-rendered in a time of desparate

2. A new format whose sole purpose is to be different
   from existing formats has, as its rationale, the
   goal of *breaking* interoperability between 
   Web UAs and other desktop programs.  Additionally, 
   it creates a new format that some desktop programs
   will use and others refuse to use, damaging document
   exchange interoperability generally.

   It would be an absurdity for a W3C Recommendation to 
   be formed for the goal, and with the effect of damaging
   interoperability among other programs.

On that basis, I think (as do others, I'm sure) that
EOT is not appropriate and that the suggestion of modifying
TT or OT by "XORing a few bits" is a non-starter.


Received on Friday, 26 June 2009 19:41:13 UTC