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Tech: paging John in Kansas re: font support

Bill D 31 Jan 10 - 12:38 PM
JohnInKansas 31 Jan 10 - 06:10 PM
JohnInKansas 31 Jan 10 - 06:15 PM
Bill D 31 Jan 10 - 06:34 PM
Bill D 31 Jan 10 - 06:45 PM
Bill D 31 Jan 10 - 06:53 PM
Bill D 31 Jan 10 - 06:58 PM
Bill D 31 Jan 10 - 07:03 PM
Bill D 31 Jan 10 - 07:27 PM
JohnInKansas 31 Jan 10 - 07:55 PM
Bill D 31 Jan 10 - 09:07 PM
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Subject: Tech: paging John in Kansas re: font support
From: Bill D
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 12:38 PM

John..(or anyone else who understands...Max?)

I had hear for years about plans to make a variety of fonts available for use that would not depend on what you had installed.

Now I find pages such as this

and this one

which show how it is possible to designate fonts for display that you do NOT have installed, but which will be downloaded by the browser for, I gather, temporary use.

One of those pages says that "either Firefox or IE is supported", but the other notes that "Opera intends to support it in version 10"....and indeed, I am viewing those pages in Opera 10.10, and I do see fonts actually displayed that are not just 'images'.

Now...my question: Does this depend totally on the website designing it's display and configuration (style sheets?) so the the webmaster can do clever things with fonts within the actual site?

Or...(and here is the crux of the question).. is there any way that, within the Mudcat forum for example, a poster could specify a font, like we do now for the limited number of fairly universal installed fonts? Or is this even theoretically possible with this new @fontface trick?

Would Max have to configure things? And would he be the only one who could use the system?

I suspect I know the answer, but a knife to cut thru the jargon would be nice.


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Subject: RE: Tech: paging John in Kansas re: font support
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 06:10 PM

An excellent explanation of the situation is at Technology Review: A Note on the Type

BUT - it's an archived back issue (Novemeber-December 2009) and you probably won't be able to access it without registration; and I don't know of an inexpensive way to register.

I'll leave the link in case anyone else might have access.

Basically, quoting:

Web designers and type designers have been planning a better future for at least 11 years, ever since the technical foundation was laid for browsers to load fonts stored on remote servers rather than on a computer's own hard drive. For the first time, this prospect feels tantalizingly close. As of this past June, with the release of Mozilla
Firefox 3.5, all the major browsers finally support what's called the @font-facerule, a way to use the Cascading Style Sheets language to designate a remote font. As designers try to develop a format that delivers the fonts efficiently and securely, visions of the future are taking shape.

The question of which will be realized was debated at this summer's TypeCon, a conference of type and graphic designers. The answer will be determined by decisions made over the coming months
by browser makers, type designers, and Web designers, some in their capacity as representatives to the Web's international standards organization, the W3C.

[You might be able to find some info by searching at W3C and for the 2009 TypeCon conference.]

Twelve years ago, Microsoft released a format-called Embedded OpenType, or EOT-that was meant to launch the Web-font era. EOT, which was developed to embed fonts in Microsoft Officedocuments, worked as a "wrapper" for desktop font files. It compressed them for downloading, included instructions about how they might legally
be used; and allowed for the fonts to be encrypted. But Netscape, then a formidable competitor to Microsoft's Internet Explorer, chose a different format, leaving graphic designers with the choice of designing two versions of every Web page or leaving well enough alone. Web fonts never arrived.

Today, Microsoft is again promoting EOT at a time when its competitors have chosen another route. There would be two significant advantages to establishing EOT as the standard: first, the provisions for protecting and optimizing fonts, and second, the potential for swift change. Any solution that works immediately in Internet Explorer could eliminate years of waiting; IE users still represent about 65 percent of the market, and they take significantly longer to
upgrade than users of other browsers. ... Microsoft has tried
to answer objections from open-source advocates, including its largest competitor, Mozilla, by opening up the proprietary
components of EOT. But with no sign so far that other browser makers are willing to adopt Microsoft's standard and thus extend
its dominance, a format impasse could spell another long dry period for Web fonts.

All the browsers but Microsoft's, meanwhile, have embraced a technique called "naked" or "raw" font linking, which means
uploading ordinary desktop fonts onto servers. What if Microsoft, in the interest of guarding its diminishing share of the browser market, abandoned EOT in favor of this standard? Though it would take a few
years for IE users to upgrade, soon enough the Web would be typographically transformed.

But at a cost: in this new world,fonts would have no protection from piracy. After all,when your browser downloads a remote font onto your computer for temporary use (as it would have to), that font functions like any other on your hard drive. Who could blame you for thinking it was your property, no matter what the license might say?

Faced with the limitations of EOT and the risks of raw font linking, type designers and software engineers have been compiling a wish list for a brand-new built-from-scratch font format. This system would offer better file compression to accommodate low-memory environments
like mobile phones; and it would have a flexible metadata structure to embed information about permissions, but without turning
browsers into enforcers.

Such a format has actually been created: Web Open Font Format, or WOFF, the combined work of the type designers Tal Leming and Erik van Blokland and Mozilla's Jonathan Kew. A petition supporting WOFF began circulating in July ...

Mozilla and others are already testing code for WOFF (and also a less ambitious but backward-compatible format called EOT Lite). This option seems like the best hope for type designers, but since it might take time for all the browsers to implement it and for users to upgrade, it depends on the Web community's patience.

While it remains to be seen if this ideal can be achieved, a startup called Small Batch is poised to launch an alternative with a service called Typekit. Small Batch (and also the startup Kernest) is offering to be a middleman: it would look after security issues for type designers and browser compatibility issues for Web designers,
who-instead of linking to fonts directly would use JavaScript to link to Typekit. The company would create a new business model, transforming fonts from goods into a service.

Rather than buying a font once and being able to use it indefinitely, Web designers (or their clients) would pay a recurring fee to buy access to one or more fonts in a library. (Typekit does offer some free fonts, too.) Users would lose access to the fonts when they stopped paying ...

[end quotes]

The article also notes that during the period when the US Patent Office declined to protect font designs (all you could do was © the name of the font) there was virtually no (competent?) design of new fonts (although there was a lot of plagiarism). Fonts can now be patented as software, and development has resumed.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: paging John in Kansas re: font support
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 06:15 PM

Sorry for the long post, and a couple of line breaks I missed clean up on, but even the highlights are rather lengthy.

The original document is two full pages in 3 columns of "magazine" setup.

I just hope I got enough to convey some meaning(?).

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: paging John in Kansas re: font support
From: Bill D
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 06:34 PM

Thanks, John.... it sort of answers that they are still playing with it, and are not nearly to 'uniformity' yet, but I still want to know the simple 'practical' answers to:

"Would Max have to configure things?"

" is there any way that, within the Mudcat forum for example, a poster could specify a font,.."

If I read that mess right: yes, it would be done ONLY by website administrators, and the 'owners' of many fonts would act like song copyright holders and refuse to allow their creations to be used without compensation....which would lead to substitutions of extremely similar fonts being used.
   Since there is 'almost' no way to keep fonts from being pirated, like songs, it would require some clever safeguards. (like fonts being available from carefully controlled sites)


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Subject: RE: Tech: paging John in Kansas re: font support
From: Bill D
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 06:45 PM

**reading this link**


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Subject: RE: Tech: paging John in Kansas re: font support
From: Bill D
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 06:53 PM

Yep...that link has other links to more articles, examples of it working..(I can see working examples just fine in Opera 10.10) and indications of problems to be solved.


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Subject: RE: Tech: paging John in Kansas re: font support
From: Bill D
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 06:58 PM

LOL... in a very nice, fancy font at this page, I found:

"The fonts you're allowed to embed legally aren't worth using; the fonts that are worth using aren't embeddable."

If your browser is enabled, you'll see the fancy ones.


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Subject: RE: Tech: paging John in Kansas re: font support
From: Bill D
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 07:03 PM

And here is a how-to-do-it page for web designers, based on one guy's allowing over 400 fonts to be accessed.


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Subject: RE: Tech: paging John in Kansas re: font support
From: Bill D
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 07:27 PM

And, at this page I see that Google Chrome not supports the @font format, so I got the upgrade, and indeed it does, (he said...posting FROM Chrome 4.0.249)


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Subject: RE: Tech: paging John in Kansas re: font support
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 07:55 PM

Bill D

The EOT embedded font method proposed by Microsoft allows the person who creates the website, or in the case of mudcat the person who creates the individual post, to purchase a license to use a font, and to embed the font in the post so that anyone can read the post in the font intended, but cannot (easily) re-use the font without purchasing a separate license to do so.

The Netscape alternate from the same era, simply gives the entire font to anyone who reads the post, without even informing them that it's a proprietary property of the font designer.

The WOFF method "tags" the font so that the person who reads the post gets a full copy of it, but "can tell where the font came from." Netscape/Mozilla brags that this allows the reader to discover what font is used; but they omit that it also reveals, to the font developer or other owner of the font, who is using their font illegally if another document containing their font appears anywhere that they can look at it; so it makes every web user liable for lawsuits (or at least billing claims) by the font foundries. As with multimedia DRMs, it's hard to tell who might be the "example" chosen for legal prosecutions.

The various "remote served" font providers require, with the exception of a few free fonts, that the web site (or each individual user) have a license for each and every proprietary font used by the site. This might be practical on a site where only the webmeister posts fancy stuff and can choose a few "special fonts" for site purposes, but is unlikely to be useful where, as on mudcat, individual persons might choose fonts that Max hasn't paid for. They won't work unless the specific font chosen has been bought (subscribed to) and paid for.

In addition, if Max forgets to pay the bill, or changes the selection of fonts covered by the site's subscription, (or the remote provider goes under) the fonts become unreadable (or at least default to something generic).

All of the remote served font systems I've seen thus far also require that each reader of posts using the fonts must permit JScript coding to access and retrieve the fonts (and to delete them when the post is closed) each and every time the document is read. JScript is used, possibly by most of us, but there are significant numbers of people here who avoid letting it run on their computers; and making Java a requirement to read the 'cat is likely to raise objections.

Trial versions of some of the newer subscription font services may be free now, but they won't remain that way once a customer base is established.

IMO, it's not ready for sites like mudcat, in any of the forms I've seen offered at this time. Some of our members who have their own sites might find one of the newer systems, like the ones you've linked, of some use; but they're unlikely to find "free fonts" that add much to the selections commonly available with most user setups.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: paging John in Kansas re: font support
From: Bill D
Date: 31 Jan 10 - 09:07 PM

I see now... one more case of "If no one pays, no one uses...even if it never gets used."

Ah well, it is 'interesting' to see the technology exists.

Thanks, John......


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