Web fonts - foundries allowing sIFR, FLIR, cufón, @font-face, etc.


is anywhere a table showing which foundry supports and allows which webfont technology? I couldn't really find anything close to what I mean, so I put together quickly this draft: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Pepa007/Foundries_allowing_web_fonts

Is there something like this already? Or should I publish it and kindly ask you to help me with adding more foundries?

Thank you


Thomas Phinney's picture

@Richard: It may have been a simple mistake as well. I agree it's misleading, but it could be easily corrected.

Like John, I don't assume that offering Web FontFont licensing directly (from which FontShop gets all the revenue, and owns the customer relationship) is intended by FontShop as a bait-and-switch to get customers to sign up in a paying relationship with TypeKit (in which FontShop gets some smaller cut of revenue, and somebody else owns the customer relationship).

The direct Web licensing of fonts, with a one-time fee and a sliding scale of that fee based on volume, is simply a different model than web font service rental. The web font biz is in a wild west frontier mode right now, where people are trying to set up new settlements all over the place, and we don't know which ones will attract settlers. In 50 internet years (7 real years), will it be Deadwood, Los Angeles or San Francisco that becomes the thriving metropolis? Quite probably multiple things will succeed, and almost certainly not all of them will.



corymawhorter's picture

> My solution will be to require that the obfuscated font be used for FLIR.

Before you do that, let me release an updated version that prevents direct access to the fonts folder with an .htaccess file. This will mean that no file will be able to be downloaded from anything in that folder (even if you can guess the filename). The user will receive a "Forbidden" message when trying. Let me know if this is not satisfactory, because I'd be happy to change to make it so.

I'm not sure why a randomly generated filename for font-face is a better solution. I can just parse the stylesheet and find out the exact filename? Unless I'm missing something?

> The price for use on a single domain is exactly the same price as a regular font license so it should be okay.

I applaud this. Thank you.


What is the point of WOFF? It really seems like a joke from where I'm standing. It looks like a fancy gzip compression library with a bit of easily breakable DRM thrown in to make you guys feel good.

WOFF is to the web font world, what taking your shoes off while passing through airport security does for making flights more secure here in the states. It makes for good theater and gives you a warm feeling inside, but it doesn't actually do anything.

Anyone who is determined enough to get a font will be able to break WOFF, just like they'd be able to break any other method. The problem is that at some point, the font has to return to a font to be used by the OS, and it is at this point that it can be grabbed, saved, and reused -- whether it be from a cache file, RAM, or specially crafted software.

If typeface designers are looking to WOFF, EOT or any other of these technologies as being the holy grail for getting their fonts embedded in a safe way on the web, then they are sadly mistaken.

If history has taught us anything, DRM is pointless. Someone is going to break it, and then release a program to make it easy for others to do the same. The only thing DRM does is make it more difficult for legit users to use your product. This is the inherent problem with DRM. In order for the enduser to use it, some bit of software has to turn it from DRM'd file -> Regular file, and if one program can do it, some other program can and save the data locally in the process. Even the movie industries with all their might cannot release a DVD with DRM that isn't easily broken.

I am going to say with a certainty -- right now, and forever -- that there is absolutely no way to protect your IP from theft. Period. The only thing you are doing by pursuing these technologies is making it more difficult for legit users to implement your fonts. And the more difficult it is, the less likely it is that I am going to do it -- and I'm happy to not buy your fonts, and make my life easier.

John Hudson's picture

Cory, the key benefit of WOFF (or any wrapper format for web fonts) is that it makes a distinction at the licensing and deliverable level between a desktop font and a web font.

...with a bit of easily breakable DRM thrown in to make you guys feel good.

If you'd followed the W3C font list discussion, you'd know that there is explicitly no DRM at all in WOFF, so talking about WOFF in terms of DRM makes no sense at all. What there is in WOFF is optional metadata. There is no obligation on browser agents to do anything with this data; hence, it doesn't constitute anything like DRM. You would also know that none of the font makers who support WOFF have ever imagined that this wrapper protected their IP against deliberate theft and unlicensed exploitation. Rather, the wrapper protects against casual misuse of web fonts as desktop fonts and provides mechanisms, including use of metadata, to help font vendors and their customers who do want to respect licenses.

Richard Fink's picture

I know that you're wrong, so you must have missed something fundamental.
How do you know I'm wrong. You have not refuted a single fact I put forth. Representatives of the Fontshop are perfectly free to post here and bolster their sales claims. Where are they?
They can come here and explain how many web designers of sound mind they expect to license their WOFF and EOT files when it means the fonts will not show up in Safari, Chrome, Opera, or Firefox 3.5.
I'd love to hear it. And since you are standing up as proxy for them, perhaps you can explain it.
Please explain it.



John Hudson's picture

Rich, you accused FontShop with Typekit of a deliberate bait-and-switch marketing scheme, as if somehow FontShop's refusal to license their unwrapped desktop fonts for web serving were some kind of ploy to push customers to using a service like Typekit's. As Tom pointed out, that doesn't make a shred of financial sense for FontShop, since they would make more money from licensing the naked fonts direct to customers than they would from having those same customers go to Typekit.

They can come here and explain how many web designers of sound mind they expect to license their WOFF and EOT files when it means the fonts will not show up in Safari, Chrome, Opera, or Firefox 3.5.

And your solution to this is that FontShop should give in and license naked desktop fonts to be served on the web? Should font makers bow to as yet non-existent customer pressure rather than continuing to exert their own, so-far-so-successful pressure on the non-IE browser makers to support a mutually acceptable wrapper format? Sorry, Rich, but to me it looks like a no-brainer. You don't surrender when you've already won the first battle and the next opposing army hasn't actually arrived on the field yet.

dberlow's picture

>Should font makers bow to as yet non-existent customer pressure...

Is "as yet non-existent pressure", a double negative? or entertainment?


Richard Fink's picture

@john hudson

And your solution to this is that FontShop should give in and license naked desktop fonts to be served on the web?

No, that is not my solution. Don't put words in my mouth, please. My solution is straighforwardness and honesty of approach. Tell it like it really is. Tell your customers what you're really selling. Tell them that they won't be able to reach 90% of browser users that it's more like 75% max. Tell them they won't reach Safari, Chrome and Firefox 3.5 users. And thell them the reason they can't is because they won't be provided with the TTF needed to do so. And so therefore, they must turn to Typekit. Like I said, it's OK by me. (I'll keep saying it, but it doesn't seem to be sinking in.)

I am absolutely stunned by your answer. You haven't denied that the situation is exactly as I've described it. But you've said that it's OK because as long as it involves IP, less than straightforward marketing is perfectly justified. Fontshop belongs to a privileged class that justifies low ethical standards in its business practices.

I really wish you hadn't made that argument, John. It's very, very twisted.
To borrow a line from a Marx Bros. movie - How much do you charge to *not* come to someone's defense?



John Hudson's picture

Rich, maybe I missed some place where FontShop were claiming that their webfonts supported 90% of browsers. Isn't that a typical advertising over-estimation, kind of like claiming that your EOTfast tool renders all others obsolete?

Seriously, I don't think FontShop are being deliberately misleading and I don't think they're setting a low ethical standard. I think they are introducing a new product into an emerging market with no precedence, and will probably make some mistakes in the process. If you disagreed with the information that they presented, did you write to them and suggest how it might be improved or clarified? Or did you just jump straight in with the public accusations that they are being unethical and performing a perverse bait-and-switch operation?

If you are genuinely interested in straightforwardness and honesty, enough with the ‘absolutely stunned’ and ‘very, very twisted’ hyperbole. We're having a conversation, and your over-excitability is making it very difficult.

dberlow's picture

> How much do you charge to *not* come to someone's defense?

...an interesting question from someone publishing a DMCA-violating "product".

How much you got? Or should we wait to go after your "clients"?

Heads I win, tails you lose?


Chris Dean's picture

From 24 October, 2009:


Not sure if there is any place/person here that keeps a running list of this as it grows. Interesting times to say the least.

Richard Fink's picture

Ahh, just for the fun of it:

...an interesting question from someone publishing a DMCA-violating "product".

You must have me confused with the Mozilla Foundation, or Apple, or Google. Can't you keep us titans of the industry straight?


Here's the sales copy from Fontshop - anybody tuning in can use their own built-in BS detector and judge for themselves:

They work on most major browsers. Web FontFonts are delivered in EOT Lite and WOFF, the two formats supported by the most commonly used browsers: Internet Explorer® and Firefox®, covering more than 90% of all web visitors. We expect other browsers to join in implementing WOFF soon. A free Typekit hosting option extends compatibility to Safari® and Chrome® users.

Nice weasels. Couldn't do better myself. Now, if this isn't meant to create the impression that Fontshop is providing, with those two files, a solution that covers 90% of all web visitors, well I'll be darned. Caveat emptor.

As has been noted already - even at a stretch - one in four "web visitors" will not get the fonts using those two files. If their copy read "most web visitors", I would have nothing to say. But they know 90% is innacurate. And that the true number is unacceptable to prospective customers. This leaves Typekit as the product. (Unless they're hoping to do a Berlow and waiting to see if the customer will convert the WOFF into a TTF and then put the screws to them.)

The notion that those two formats are a complete solution is bolstered by the following on the 'how it works' page:
Both formats are delivered with every Web FontFont purchase and can be used without relying on any third-party service.

Is it a bait and switch? Absolutely.

In the final analysis, there's no getting around one thing: they're selling a product - meaning the EOT and WOFF files - that don't meet any ordinary customer's expectations.

If you want to parse sentences and make excuses, go ahead.

There's more I could point out, but I'm past the point where it's interesting.
Besides, some of it is technical, and I'll deal with that elsewhere.

dberlow's picture

Rich, I'm surprised you are not clear on this.

Your product's sole purpose is DMCA violation. Your user's use is copyright and TM violation.
Users who convert from web to desktop format, we'll get to a in a bit.


John Hudson's picture

Rich: …the true number is unacceptable to prospective customers.

Is it? You reckon its 75% at best; I reckon it is currently likely to be quite a lot less than that, since FireFox users will need to be running the latest version. Yes, FontShop's ‘more than 90% of all web visitors’ (which, note, is not quite the same thing as 90% of browsers) is well premature. [Again, did you think to contact them about this, or did you jump straight in with the public accusations of unethical and possibly illegal behaviour?] Whatever the actual current percentage, I question your assertion that the true number is unacceptable to prospective customers. x% (easily more than 50% and most likely increasing) is surely better than 0%, and if web designers aren't aware and capable of the need for and provision of reasonable font fallback in browsers that do not support the licensed formats, well, they aren't web designers.

Si_Daniels's picture

Related to WOFF market share - Mozz will be pushing 3.6 on users.


Also just announced IE9 Developer preview...


For those interested in how IE9 will render type.

Cheers, Si

sergeym's picture

Yes, please take a look at IE9 developer preview. I promised screenshots some time ago, but when I came around to prepare some it was too close to mix to steal the show from Dean. Tell us what you think.


Si_Daniels's picture

Side by side of an unhinted font in IE8 and the preview of IE9...

From this old EOT demo I made 12 years ago... http://www.microsoft.com/typography/web/embedding/demos/9/demo9.htm

John Hudson's picture

Si, do you have any demos that show black text on a white background?

It would also be nice to see a comparison of CFF rendering in IE8 and IE9.

Si_Daniels's picture

Not CFF - but a couple of other examples...

sergeym's picture

This is Garamond Pro, D2D vs. GDI:

apankrat's picture

This is really impressive.

If it only were a Firefox renderer... :)

Si_Daniels's picture

Firefox announced that they would likely be moving to DWrite just ahead of ATypI last year, and I think its implemented in recent minefield builds.

Cheers, Si

John Hudson's picture

Thanks, Si and Sergey.

Si, in your ‘Daring Direball’ example, is that still GDI on the left and DW on the right? If so, that's the first example I've seen where the DW rendering is considerably worse than the GDI: very fuzzy and lots of colour artefacts. Of course, some of this can be attributed to differences between how the screenshot appears on my screen vs. looking at the live rendering, but I wonder what other factors might be involved re. the particular font, choice of background colour, etc?

dberlow's picture

Let's hope sergeym's got it right with DW2 on the left, and getting darker. The way John showed it on his specimens looked a lot like the refrain from a famous Procol Harum song.


dezcom's picture

a whiter shade of pale, indeed.

Si_Daniels's picture

>Si, in your ‘Daring Direball’ example, is that still GDI on the left and DW on the right?

Yes all my samples are GDI (IE8) on the left and DWrite (IE9) on the right. We're certainly aware of places like this where text/background color combinations are producing interesting results, and the CT team are looking into this.

Ivo's picture

@ R.Fink
Representatives of the Fontshop are perfectly free to post here and bolster their sales claims. Where are they?

So we have to follow all discussions about our products in the web? Will you pay the staff? Sometimes we are following the threads on Typophile, sometimes not. If you want to make sure you will get an answer, please ask us directly (in one of our blogs for instance, as you already did when you wanted to know why we don’t use EOTFAST …)

They can come here and explain how many web designers of sound mind they expect to license their WOFF and EOT files when it means the fonts will not show up in Safari, Chrome, Opera, or Firefox 3.5. I'd love to hear it.

We expect quite a few. We offer a solution that will work for most web site visitors at the latest in a couple of months hopefully (WOFF/EOT). We also offer a solution that works now for most web site visitors (TK). I think this is great. And quite a few customers already thought so too.

dberlow's picture

>...a whiter shade of pale, indeed.
You know that it was written for a girl named Claire Schrift?

And I was wrong, Sii is right, serif fonts are getting lighter, sans are getting bold.

I have this theory, that someone is so sick of type,
it'll just getting lighter and lighter until one day pffffffzzzzzt!
not quite that loud, but all the Windows serif type under 12 point will be gone.
then a few years later, the sans. They'll keep Comic Sans and that
De Vinci thing just to taunt aging readers. ;)


dezcom's picture

God! Then even Squeeze and Boulder will become wimps :-(

John Hudson's picture

Note that Si's and Sergey's illustrations are inconsistent: Si has the GDI on the left and the DW on the right; Sergey has it the other way around.

CFF fonts will almost always get heavier with DW rendering, as Sergey shows, since GDI CFF rendering is notoriously skinny.

dberlow's picture

So Procol Harum is bumped from the top of the charts by the old union song "Which Are You On" ;)

But what's the point of CFF? I note that none of the examples, except for the "Daring Fireball", are intended for reading on screen, being either too big or the type selection is too weird. Is someone out to improve wysiwyg performance?

The readable "Daring Fireball" is most assuredly not a comparison of CFF being rendered, is it? The left is way too good for CFF, it looks like a live web site. The right is 1/2 way from the left side towards Quartz, (i.e. wilderness training for readers).

Is there a place in the machine I can kick the side and get it a little darker?

Also, not just rendering changes are hap'nin, in John's blowups of Sergey's, there is a huge difference between the forms of m in the regular on either side. Different fonts. Is this the same data, the same size and untampered? Also note, the left's word "dolore" the conflict between l.c. o's vs. between the two o's on the right. This signals the need for a White Paper on it's hinting interpretation, or is it just y hints now?

It's probably waaaaaay too late for scientific testing, but if you want to see what it'll look like, you've got a browser, are willing to set de browser to Actual Size, forsaking html scaling for my neat little buttons — you can always bounce it off perfection in all possible weights to the 1/2 pixel ;)


Si_Daniels's picture

>I note that none of the examples, except for the "Daring Fireball", are intended for reading on screen, being either too big or the type selection is too weird. Is someone out to improve wysiwyg performance?

First example was the only one I had handy to show an unhinted font - second two were in response to John's request (which i initially read as white on black, hence the DF grab) - I could have just said "download IE9 and look for yourself" but I'm not that rude.

dberlow's picture

Thanks for all you help Sii, I thought this was still in the incubator.


Vlad Levantovsky's picture

WebFonts Working Group is approved by W3C!

The announcement went out yesterday to all W3C members, and the public announcement is coming soon to the News section of the W3C website. For detailed information about the group and how to join (if you are interested to participate) please see the announcement on www-font list.


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