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Web Open Font Format backed by Mozilla, type foundries (ars technica)

ars technica looks at Web Open Font Format (WOFF), which has come about from a collaboration of two separate web font efforts. Mozilla's Jonathan Kew and two type designers, Tal Leming and Erik van Blokland, had both been working on font formats for the web. They have now joined forces on WOFF. "WOFF combines the work of Leming and Blokland had done on embedding a variety of useful font metadata with the font resource compression that Kew had developed. The end result is a format that includes optimized compression that reduces the download time needed to load font resources while incorporating information about the font's origin and licensing. The format doesn't include any encryption or DRM, so it should be universally accepted by browser vendors—this should also qualify it for adoption by the W3C."
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Web Open Font Format backed by Mozilla, type foundries (ars technica)

Posted Nov 2, 2009 18:23 UTC (Mon) by nim-nim (subscriber, #34454) [Link]

Note that the main motivation for WOFF was to create a web font format incompatible with desktop apps (so woff fonts can't be used in normal apps by design, unlike .png/.jpg/.mp3 etc that work fine everywhere). This was to appease proprietary font foundries that feared web fonts would enable widespread piracy (of course you can type "free fonts" in Google now and find thousands of them, and not the FSF-free kind).

There is little in woff you can not achieve today with normal ttf/otf fonts and a compressing web server such as Apache. Of course, this is illegal if you don't use fonts that allow it, but Mofo never spent a thousandth of the marketing efforts they now expend on woff to promote all the fine free/libre fonts that exist today (and can be used in @font-face without woffing). This is in stark contrast with their position on video codecs. (Is it less worthwhile to support someone that spends hours of hard work to create a fine floss digital font file, than to support someone that spends hours of hard work to create a fine floss digital code file?)

Also early trends show people will often rename fonts while converting them to woff, so Linux users are going to have their browser download megs of floss fonts already available on their system, because they'll be renamed by a random web site as part of woff conversion (so the system does not recognizes them), and it'll be cheaper for most site to use floss fonts than buy expensive proprietary fonts.

Web Open Font Format backed by Mozilla, type foundries (ars technica)

Posted Nov 2, 2009 19:10 UTC (Mon) by nim-nim (subscriber, #34454) [Link]

(Note that it's totally cool MoFo is sponsoring Jonathan Kew, except they gave him strange priorities)

Web Open Font Format backed by Mozilla, type foundries (ars technica)

Posted Nov 2, 2009 21:01 UTC (Mon) by kfiles (subscriber, #11628) [Link]

nim-nim wrote:
Also early trends show people will often rename fonts while converting them to woff, so Linux users are going to have their browser download megs of floss fonts already available on their system, because they'll be renamed by a random web site as part of woff conversion (so the system does not recognizes them), and it'll be cheaper for most site to use floss fonts than buy expensive proprietary fonts.
Huh? That conclusion doesn't make a lot of sense to me. The primary reason to use WOFF is to be able to distribute proprietary fonts in a manner compliant with some "webfont-only license." If you have a floss font, you'd use OTF as format for your @font-faces (probably with Apache mod_deflate, as you suggest). Are you suggesting that all web design workflow tools in the future will support WOFF alone? And that therefore, they'll re-encode OTF fonts to WOFF by default? I'm not sure I see that coming to pass. I expect proprietary font foundries will distribute WOFF-format fonts to their users when they purchase a shiny new web-distribution license.

Web Open Font Format backed by Mozilla, type foundries (ars technica)

Posted Nov 2, 2009 21:12 UTC (Mon) by nim-nim (subscriber, #34454) [Link]

kfiles,

Just read the articles on woff that get published every week. All of them seem to imply woff is the only way to do web fonts. Most of them use floss fonts as examples (often with renaming). Even when people are aware woff is not necessary, you see pushes for woff 'just in case ie needs it' (ie does not do @font-face with woff of without it today).

It got to such ridiculous levels someone asked the Open Font Library project to woff-isize all its fonts (all of which are supposed to be floss in the first place)

Web Open Font Format backed by Mozilla, type foundries (ars technica)

Posted Nov 2, 2009 21:18 UTC (Mon) by johill (subscriber, #25196) [Link]

Maybe they should then ... so at least everybody will have just a single copy of each font.

Web Open Font Format backed by Mozilla, type foundries (ars technica)

Posted Nov 2, 2009 21:35 UTC (Mon) by nim-nim (subscriber, #34454) [Link]

People would still need the non-woff copy for normal apps (inkscape, openoffice.org, etc). Using woff is like bastarizing theora or vorbis in the hope a different web-only version of them you can't use in a normal video player would be more palatable to MS and the RIAA.

Web Open Font Format backed by Mozilla, type foundries (ars technica)

Posted Nov 2, 2009 21:48 UTC (Mon) by johill (subscriber, #25196) [Link]

Right, but at least not multiple woff copies.

Web Open Font Format backed by Mozilla, type foundries (ars technica)

Posted Nov 2, 2009 22:02 UTC (Mon) by nim-nim (subscriber, #34454) [Link]

Except the woff copies are not needed at all. Using the .ttf/.otf files in @font-face with work just as well (as long as you use a deflate-aware web server such as apache)

And when you don't do funny conversion/renaming tricks on font files the browser can actually notice it's already available on-system and use the system version

Web Open Font Format backed by Mozilla, type foundries (ars technica)

Posted Nov 3, 2009 7:04 UTC (Tue) by johill (subscriber, #25196) [Link]

I realise that, but as you pointed out many people who will end up using them will not. Since educating them all seems a lost cause due to all the "tutorials" that already exist (I haven't checked, just going from what has been said here) it just seemed to me that it'd be good to, in effect, standardise that renaming.

Web Open Font Format backed by Mozilla, type foundries (ars technica)

Posted Nov 2, 2009 21:26 UTC (Mon) by nim-nim (subscriber, #34454) [Link]

Or to put it another way: Mofo is very happy to use floss fonts to promote various kinds of web font downloads. It never spent that kind of effort to help its users find and fonts on their systems (that didn't require writing any code and that would have made the fonts available to other apps). They "discovered" Gentium and al when they needed examples to promote @font-face

And what's the main difference between transparent font download and installing fonts on system? The second one means you have to promote unencumbered fonts, the first one is necessary if you don't give a crap about font licensing.

And just in case you argue it's not the business of a browser team to choose and promote fonts, the "standard" MS fonts everyone knows where spread by the ie team as part as its "fonts for the web initiative" (but free as in beer only)

Web Open Font Format backed by Mozilla, type foundries (ars technica)

Posted Nov 5, 2009 9:14 UTC (Thu) by renox (subscriber, #23785) [Link]

>It got to such ridiculous levels someone asked the Open Font Library project to woff-isize all its fonts (all of which are supposed to be floss in the first place)

This is a good idea: if the floss fonts are already packaged as woff fonts *without* renaming then the browser may be able to avoid downloading those fonts again.
If someone else do the convertion then, there is the risk that they rename the fonts..

Web Open Font Format backed by Mozilla, type foundries (ars technica)

Posted Nov 5, 2009 9:46 UTC (Thu) by johill (subscriber, #25196) [Link]

Thank for you putting that differently, I think nobody really understood me :)

Web Open Font Format backed by Mozilla, type foundries (ars technica)

Posted Nov 5, 2009 9:48 UTC (Thu) by nim-nim (subscriber, #34454) [Link]

BTW, for people who want to know the non-angelic part of the WOFF story, read that: http://typophile.com/node/63778

1. WOFF is only "needed" to appease proprietary foundries (and Microsoft)
2. WOFF is being deployed in Firefox before any actual commitment to support it IE-side by Microsoft
3. People push for WOFF-ization of FLOSS fonts so they can bury the direct (non woffed) font linking already implemented by every major browser except IE¹ (and the IE team has not even committed to WOFF support)

4. And they do not do this because they care about FLOSS fonts, quite the contrary, but because they do not want to be at competitive disadvantage to FLOSS fonts (the messages speak for themselves)

So it's a "let's neuter non-IE browsers and degrade support for FLOSS fonts, if we do this maybe eventually someday Microsoft and proprietary foundries will accept to play ball too" story.

Also even if IE did implement some form of WOFF, there is zero way to know today their WOFF support would not be partial or unuseable in the field as had happened all too often in the past.

¹ http://people.mozilla.org/~jdaggett/AdvancingWebTypograph... page 44

Web Open Font Format backed by Mozilla, type foundries (ars technica)

Posted Nov 3, 2009 1:16 UTC (Tue) by roc (subscriber, #30627) [Link]

> "There is little in woff you can not achieve today with normal ttf/otf
> fonts and a compressing web server such as Apache."

Great. No-one's making you use WOFF. Normal TTF/OTF fonts work in Firefox today and will always work in the future.

> Mofo never spent a thousandth of the marketing efforts they now expend on
> woff

We're not really spending any marketing efforts on WOFF, just a few blog posts. People are excited about it, so word spreads, but we're not buying ads in the New York Times.

> This is in stark contrast with their position on video codecs.

We believe that people should be able to produce and use video on the Web using free software and without paying royalties. That's forced us to take a hard line against the dominant patent-encumbered (and patent-litigated!) codecs. We believe the same thing for fonts, but font formats are mostly free of patent taint. For sure, if WOFF or something like it was patent-encumbered --- especially if those patents were being actively licensed and litigated --- we wouldn't touch it with a ten-foot pole.

Web Open Font Format backed by Mozilla, type foundries (ars technica)

Posted Nov 3, 2009 3:16 UTC (Tue) by roc (subscriber, #30627) [Link]

Let me clarify a bit more.

It's super-important that all Web font and video (and other) *formats* be royalty-free and can be implemented in (legally redistributable) free software.

On the other hand, it's not necessary that all Web *content* (including videos, fonts, etc) be free.

Web Open Font Format backed by Mozilla, type foundries (ars technica)

Posted Nov 3, 2009 6:44 UTC (Tue) by nim-nim (subscriber, #34454) [Link]

How do you play a video without the appropriate content? You can't.
How to you display text without fonts? You can't.

Fonts are not content they are a technical component used to render info just like codecs. (this is so true many minority groups have to pirate fonts just to display their language on floss systems, because entities like Mofo are putting zero efforts on font creation and floss fonts are lagging. And @font-face is not solving this problem it's hiding it server-side just like flash is not solving the video problem but hiding it plugin-side.)

You can't have a free web without free fonts.

Web Open Font Format backed by Mozilla, type foundries (ars technica)

Posted Nov 3, 2009 7:02 UTC (Tue) by nim-nim (subscriber, #34454) [Link]

(I used info because this is what you mean by content, except code vs content is a terminology that confuses concepts and tends to imply the tools used to render info are produced by coders only)

Video could have been treated just like fonts: just define a platform-neutral bytecode format (with sandboxing browser-side to avoid security problems), and html/css code so sites can point browsers to a codec blob in this format server-side.

Doesn't look too palatable isn't it? Well @font-face is nothing else.

Web Open Font Format backed by Mozilla, type foundries (ars technica)

Posted Nov 3, 2009 7:37 UTC (Tue) by boudewijn (subscriber, #14185) [Link]

No minority group has to "pirate" fonts. They can just download fontforge and create a free font for their script, they don't have to wait until someone from the latin world gets interested enough to do it for them.

Web Open Font Format backed by Mozilla, type foundries (ars technica)

Posted Nov 3, 2009 8:35 UTC (Tue) by nim-nim (subscriber, #34454) [Link]

Thank you for writing plainly the message sent by the two most recent Mofo initiatives: we don't care if our free web does not extend to minority groups, they can go support themselves alone, we care about yourtube western users.

(of course I know that was not what was intended, that's just how it reads, and you've just confirmed it)

Web Open Font Format backed by Mozilla, type foundries (ars technica)

Posted Nov 3, 2009 9:25 UTC (Tue) by boudewijn (subscriber, #14185) [Link]

And why shouldn't people start supporting themselves? And get involved and scratch their itch, provide for themselves? What is wrong with asking that of people?

Note: I'm not involved in any initiative at all -- but I do know that it's pretty easy to make fonts for minority scripts because I've created about a dozen or so myself, about twenty years ago, with primitive tools like Corel Draw.

Nowadays there are excellent free tools available so there is no excuse. If you've got a computer, you can create the fonts you need. It's your language, your script, so why not get active and support it? Why depend on others?

Web Open Font Format backed by Mozilla, type foundries (ars technica)

Posted Nov 3, 2009 11:24 UTC (Tue) by nim-nim (subscriber, #34454) [Link]

It is not that simple to create fonts. Modern "smart" vector fonts are complex beasts, font creation is under-documented, and many minority scripts are way more complex than basic latin to support (see indic and cjk scripts). You do not have a tenth of the infrastructure or tools that exists to help someone with no formation to start churning out code. Go search the internet for relevant specs and figure out how to use fontforge yourself is not really a winning proposition.

Also, even if it was dead-easy (it is not today), people are just not aware they could do it. They know they can localize the UI because they see it localized in other languages. They'll quickly find lots of pointers to tools to help them do so. But since Mofo never made any effort to promote FLOSS fonts (and even focused on getting it out of the picture altogether with stuff like @font-face), many minority users are not even going to be aware it is possible, and assume it's some sort of black magic only Microsoft, Apple, or proprietary foundries can achieve.

Lastly, this is a chicken-and-egg problem. When you have no font for a script you have few users for this script. When you have few users you have few contributors. And if you wait till it's perfectly supported by proprietary platforms, well, few people are interested with working with you at this point. Your stuff is the uninteresting stuff which does not properly support the locale, it is very strange someone adopted it in other countries.

Web Open Font Format backed by Mozilla, type foundries (ars technica)

Posted Nov 3, 2009 13:11 UTC (Tue) by boudewijn (subscriber, #14185) [Link]

Waiting for someone else to do it for you isn't a winning proposition
either. And I know there are many complex scripts: I have learned to read
and write about half a dozen myself. Since I'm no longer active as a Sino-
involved myself and I've got other projects to spend my time on these
days.

But I think it's wrong to assume that the those who have a need cannot be
expected to get involved and do the work, while it's of course perfectly
reasonable to demand that others create fonts and infrastructure for
scripts they don't know or need. (Not that western youtube watchers who
love fonts and understand scripts should be barred from working on these
issues, of course. But to make it their responsibility?)

Web Open Font Format backed by Mozilla, type foundries (ars technica)

Posted Nov 3, 2009 13:30 UTC (Tue) by nim-nim (subscriber, #34454) [Link]

boudewijn, Firefox is an international project. I don't think it's wrong to expect it to shoulder part of the effort to properly support the web in all languages via free components. Last I've seen it didn't claim to support western users only.

Also I do not think it is wrong to expect western people to help groups in other areas, given western people often have a lot more material means at their disposal, and inherited the software work done on western languages by previous generations (so they usually can't claim they did the work for their language, so others should too).

Which does not mean local people should not get involved and contribute, but washing your hands on them is not right.

PS. You seem to assume I'm asking for myself. I don't. I have the chance of being born in a western country, and not in a minority group. And that never stopped me from giving a hand to people who were not that lucky.

Web Open Font Format backed by Mozilla, type foundries (ars technica)

Posted Nov 3, 2009 13:53 UTC (Tue) by boudewijn (subscriber, #14185) [Link]

"You seem to assume I'm asking for myself. I don't. "

Er, I'm not sure where you get that from.

Web Open Font Format backed by Mozilla, type foundries (ars technica)

Posted Nov 3, 2009 8:36 UTC (Tue) by roc (subscriber, #30627) [Link]

> Fonts are not content they are a technical component used to render info
> just like codecs.

OK, there are two kinds of Web font usage:
1) fonts that render characters you probably already have fonts for on your system, but with the particular "look" the Web author wants
2) fonts that render characters you probably don't have fonts for on your system

The current interest in Web fonts, both from font vendors and authors, is overwhelmingly about case #1. That is what I mean by "content".

I think you're focused on case #2. I agree that's an important case, and that it's a bit like video codecs, but this has nothing to do with WOFF.

You seem to be arguing that Mozilla is obligated to invest in the creation of free fonts to cover all Unicode characters for which free fonts don't already exist. I don't see why we're *obligated*. It might be a good thing to do, but flaming us for not doing it isn't the best way to present your request.

Given there are organizations already working on free font creation, if they sent a grant proposal our way we'd probably look at it...

Web Open Font Format backed by Mozilla, type foundries (ars technica)

Posted Nov 3, 2009 8:57 UTC (Tue) by nim-nim (subscriber, #34454) [Link]

> The current interest in Web fonts, both from font vendors and authors, is
> overwhelmingly about case #1. That is what I mean by "content".

IIRC when the w3c consulted about eot, web fonts and @font-face the response they got from FLOSS users is that they wanted it for i18n (your case 2). And not because it was a good solution, but because no one was investing in FLOSS fonts, so they were not complete, and even when someone was creating a good floss font, users didn't know about it, because browser creators (proprietary and floss alike) studiously ignored them and made no effort to make web site authors of web site users aware of them.

Also the "look" part is oversold by foundries, there are maybe a score of basic font design (ignoring fantasy fonts, but fantasy can be handled by images just fine because no one sane uses for long runs of text), all the rest are variations on them, and most users would be hard pressed to find differences between some of those basic designs. (that's why font classifications are possible BTW, you have thousands of fonts, but most of them are just slight variations few care about)

> Given there are organizations already working on free font creation, if > they sent a grant proposal our way we'd probably look at it...

That's nice to know and the communication would probably have been clearer if it had been stated from the start up.

Web Open Font Format backed by Mozilla, type foundries (ars technica)

Posted Nov 3, 2009 19:27 UTC (Tue) by roc (subscriber, #30627) [Link]

Actually, it turns out that Mozilla *is* financially supporting free font creation. We're a patron of the Open Font Library.
http://openfontlibrary.fontly.org/patrons

So, what exactly is the complaint here, nim-nim?

Web Open Font Format backed by Mozilla, type foundries (ars technica)

Posted Nov 3, 2009 21:25 UTC (Tue) by nim-nim (subscriber, #34454) [Link]

The Open Font Library is a good project, but so far it's been better at collecting hobbyist fonts and convincing their authors to re-license than at creating the kind of wide-unicode fonts needed to support minority groups.

Also Firefox has an huge public footprint (which is being used for woff right now), and some of this influence (in the form of public referals for example) would be worth a lot to many font projects.

Web Open Font Format backed by Mozilla, type foundries (ars technica)

Posted Nov 3, 2009 6:14 UTC (Tue) by pabs (subscriber, #43278) [Link]

What would stop desktop apps from supporting WOFF? Couldn't the very same WOFF support be ripped out of Mozilla and munged into freetype?

I for one will be turning off WOFF support where possible, simply because I have limited bandwidth, prefer that the web used my desktop fonts and care about the content of the web rather than its presentation.

Web Open Font Format backed by Mozilla, type foundries (ars technica)

Posted Nov 3, 2009 6:51 UTC (Tue) by nim-nim (subscriber, #34454) [Link]

if someone pushed woff support Freetype-side that would put us all back where we were before woff was invented, only with one more font format (that was not even technically needed) for apps to support (and more font support code to debug). Remember that major desktop apps loke OO.o have not even pushed support for .otf fonts in a public version yet.

And I suppose MoFo would be quite angry that this someone ruined the "use my special font format, joe user won't pirate your fonts since they only work in my browser" proposition.

Web Open Font Format backed by Mozilla, type foundries (ars technica)

Posted Nov 3, 2009 8:23 UTC (Tue) by roc (subscriber, #30627) [Link]

> if someone pushed woff support Freetype-side that would put us all back
> where we were before woff was invented

Nope. When this possibility was raised on the www-font list, it was pretty clear that font vendors won't care if free platforms support WOFF as a desktop format. They basically only care about Mac and Windows. In this case, that's a good thing.

> And I suppose MoFo would be quite angry that this someone ruined the "use
> my special font format

No, it won't matter to us at all.

Anyway, once a lot of fonts are out there on the Web in WOFF format, the cat's out of the bag. Font vendors can't revoke licenses they've already issued.

Web Open Font Format backed by Mozilla, type foundries (ars technica)

Posted Nov 3, 2009 8:36 UTC (Tue) by nim-nim (subscriber, #34454) [Link]

I hope you realise many floss apps that use freetype also run on Windows or OSX...

Web Open Font Format backed by Mozilla, type foundries (ars technica)

Posted Nov 3, 2009 8:37 UTC (Tue) by roc (subscriber, #30627) [Link]

I do, and I'm sure the font vendors don't care about those apps either.

Web Open Font Format backed by Mozilla, type foundries (ars technica)

Posted Nov 3, 2009 8:48 UTC (Tue) by rahulsundaram (subscriber, #21946) [Link]

What problem is this specification solving? It seems to rely on the fact that woff support is not yet implemented in operating systems at a more core level instead of just within the browser. It doesn't really prevent unauthorized copying of fonts except in a very superficial way. Someone can easily rip off the code from Mozilla or implement a separate library that reads fonts in the woff format and makes them available for any application in any operating system.

Web Open Font Format backed by Mozilla, type foundries (ars technica)

Posted Nov 3, 2009 9:46 UTC (Tue) by roc (subscriber, #30627) [Link]

> It seems to rely on the fact that woff support is not yet implemented in
> operating systems at a more core level instead of just within the
> browser.

Font vendors are relying on that, yes. Apart from that, the main feature of WOFF is that it supports per-table compression, so you can download and decompress just the tables you want --- e.g., the CMAP table to figure out which characters the font supports before you download all the glyph data.

It's certainly true that WOFF doesn't do very much. But that's OK, because it's trivial to support.

> It doesn't really prevent unauthorized copying of fonts except in a very
> superficial way.

Correct. If it attempted real DRM, it would be unacceptable.

> Someone can easily rip off the code from Mozilla or implement a separate
> library that reads fonts in the woff format and makes them available for
> any application in any operating system.

Yep.

Web Open Font Format backed by Mozilla, type foundries (ars technica)

Posted Nov 3, 2009 10:46 UTC (Tue) by rahulsundaram (subscriber, #21946) [Link]

"Font vendors are relying on that, yes."

This seems rather short sighted and a losing strategy to me. Mozilla cannot keep inventing new font formats everytime an existing format gets wider adoption to cater to the whims of font vendors. What happens when woff becomes non-browser isolated? Have Mozilla *or* the font vendors thought about that?

Web Open Font Format backed by Mozilla, type foundries (ars technica)

Posted Nov 3, 2009 19:00 UTC (Tue) by roc (subscriber, #30627) [Link]

> Have Mozilla *or* the font vendors thought about that?

Yes.

It's up to the font vendors to pressure desktop OSes and apps to not support WOFF directly. They'll probably be mostly successful for on Windows and Mac. If they fail, that's their problem. The cat will be out of the bag, I don't think they'll walk away from the Web once that revenue stream is flowing, nor can they revoke licenses already issued.

Web Open Font Format backed by Mozilla, type foundries (ars technica)

Posted Nov 3, 2009 8:19 UTC (Tue) by roc (subscriber, #30627) [Link]

> What would stop desktop apps from supporting WOFF?

Nothing.

> Couldn't the very same WOFF support be ripped out of Mozilla and munged
> into freetype?

WOFF is so trivial you can implement it from scratch in no time. See
http://people.mozilla.com/~jkew/woff/woff-spec-latest.html
(most of that spec just describes metadata you can ignore).

Web Open Font Format backed by Mozilla, type foundries (ars technica)

Posted Nov 3, 2009 14:11 UTC (Tue) by foom (subscriber, #14868) [Link]

> What would stop desktop apps from supporting WOFF?

Presumably they're hoping the various font-renderer upstreams will play ball with them and refuse to add such support. I'd say it's fairly likely for that to be the case. There's nothing to be gained by directly supporting WOFF fonts in freetype/osx/windows: that the font is in WOFF format should be a pretty reliable indicator that it is not intended for use as a desktop font.

Of course, there needs to be a workaround for those cases where you *are* licensed to use it as a desktop font but for whatever reason only have it in WOFF format. I have no doubt that a woff2sfnt program will be written (if it hasn't already). However, using an extra program to bypass restrictions is a step many people will not take.

Making it obvious that it's wrong for people to do something often does have the desired effect. E.g. the "embed" bit on truetype fonts seems to work out okay, despite being trivially bypassable.

Web Open Font Format backed by Mozilla, type foundries (ars technica)

Posted Nov 3, 2009 17:12 UTC (Tue) by farnz (subscriber, #17727) [Link]

Just expanding a little on your last paragraph, since this is something that's easy to forget in discussions of DRM.

There are two distinct classes of "infringers" (defined for the purposes of this post as people doing things the copyright holder doesn't want them to) that DRM is supposed to tackle:

  1. Accidental infringers, who don't realise that they're doing something they're not supposed to. WOFF is plenty good enough to protect against these people, even if a WOFF to real font tool is freely available.
  2. Deliberate infringers, who know that they're doing something they're not supposed to, but feel justified in doing it anyway.

Examples of the first group include the secretary who grabs a font they needs from the company website; if it wasn't available that way, they'd go through authorized routes to buy a font licence, or someone who uses a personal CD for the company promotional video.

Examples of the second group include not just the obvious pirates, but someone who takes an extract from a movie for teaching purposes, someone who bypasses software activation on something they bought, or someone who rips a movie from DVD to their hard disc in order to watch it on the plane without eating their laptop battery.

It's well understood in the techie community (albeit not in management) that all DRM can do is prevent the first group from infringing. Because the second group is doing it deliberately, they'll eventually find a way around the DRM; given this, there is no point making bypassing the DRM hard, as group 1 will discover that they're about to do something they shouldn't, and either obey, or make the decision that they wish to become part of group 2. Group 2 will actively try to bypass your DRM - if you make it easy to bypass it, there's a good chance that they'll leave it in place, where group 1 will face it.

On that note, the best DRM scheme I've ever seen was by a small software house, now sadly bought out by a bigger company. Their product used a network licensing scheme, and if the licence server didn't give you a licence for any reason, you were asked to type in "I know I do not have a license right now" before the program would start. On the few occasions I saw pirate copies, the DRM was still in there; given how easy it was to bypass, no-one had seen fit to remove it. And legitimate customers were rarely affected by the DRM - it didn't fail that often, when it did, you just entered the magic phrase, and phoned IT to tell them to sort it.

Web Open Font Format backed by Mozilla, type foundries (ars technica)

Posted Nov 2, 2009 22:16 UTC (Mon) by Kit (guest, #55925) [Link]

It does look like WOFF has some legitimate advantages for smaller/low bandwidth devices where bandwidth and memory is still on the limited side (as well as battery life while using wireless still a rather huge drain).

Web Open Font Format

Posted Nov 3, 2009 2:21 UTC (Tue) by ncm (subscriber, #165) [Link]

Look forward to a nightmare of unreadable web pages, with paragraphs rendered using faces that were intended for captions or titles. Oops, we have that already. So, watch for it to get worse.

Web Open Font Format

Posted Nov 3, 2009 17:18 UTC (Tue) by tzafrir (subscriber, #11501) [Link]

Here's a way to get it worse: create a family of fonts, say, "sans-a", "sans-b", ..., "sans-z", "sans-space" and whatever. In each such font all the glyphs will look the same as the character in the name of the font. I guess that this should get compressed rather well.

Now all you need to do is apply the required @font-face attribute to each letter. And thus you write:

white

but the reader will see it as:

black

Web Open Font Format

Posted Nov 4, 2009 21:12 UTC (Wed) by njs (guest, #40338) [Link]

Yeah, but now we'll have a checkbox on the View menu to turn them off, which doesn't work when people render their text as illegible images.


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