Re: OpenType not for Open Communication?

From: Doug Ewell (
Date: Mon Dec 06 2004 - 10:59:10 CST

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    Peter R. Mueller-Roemer <pmr at informatik dot uni dash frankfurt dot
    de> wrote:

    > The Unicode-Standard I hope is Open in the sense that any font that is
    > designed to this standard may call itself a unicode-font (complete or
    > partial ...).
    > Unicode has a great potential to remove the language-specific
    > boundaries from web-communication, but if allmost equivalent fonts (&
    > SW to read, write and print) are not freely available for private use,
    > than its accepance will not be so wide as is necessary to enable
    > multi-lingual communication!

    As far as I can tell, nothing in the Unicode Standard requires the use
    of particular font or display-engine technologies. This is an important
    point for me too.

    However, neither the Unicode Consortium nor WG2 has any control over the
    names, licensing restrictions, or prices that vendors give to their
    products that implement Unicode, even if those vendors are Consortium

    Fonts and display engines are supposed to do the best job they can of
    rendering Unicode text, and must not claim to support characters or
    features that they do not actually support. As long as I am free to
    choose (or invent) another technology that does this, I am under no
    obligation to use OpenType or AAT or Uniscribe or any vendor's IP in
    order to have a compliant Unicode system.

    As far as the word "open" is concerned, vendors are free to use ordinary
    English words to name their products, with very few constraints. (I
    think in the US, the word "new" can only be used to apply to a product
    that is one year old or less; that's one of the few exceptions.) I
    would suggest taking the word "open," as applied to software, about as
    literally as we currently take the phrase "user-friendly." It carries
    no binding promises, and vendors are not obligated to agree on what it

    -Doug Ewell
     Fullerton, California

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