Re: OpenType not for Open Communication?

From: John Hudson (
Date: Mon Dec 06 2004 - 14:35:47 CST

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    Peter R. Mueller-Roemer wrote:

    > wITH 'it' you refer to OpenType ? So OpentType are Type-faces= fonts
    > that are only open by leaving technical details unrestricted to
    > font-designers, text-processing-software?
    > Then it's name is another MISNOMER (the word Open can't be made
    > proprietary by itself, so it is not illegal) that a lot of customers
    > MISUNDERSTAND, and thus it is MISLEADING and unfair to your customers.

    OpenType is a trademark of Microsoft and a proprietary font format jointly developed by
    Microsoft and Adobe. It was originally developed by MS as TrueType Open, and the name was
    changed to OpenType after Adobe became involved and the format embraced PostScript outline
    data. In both cases, the 'open' in the name refers to the fact that the format is
    extensible in terms of the amount and kind of layout intelligence built into the font. It
    is open compared to the earlier sfnt font format (TrueType).

    'Open' in the OpenType name has never implied open in the sense of open source, a software
    phenomenon that only really became big news after the development of OpenType. I suspect,
    if the format were invented today, MS would have chosen some other name, since they are at
    pains to diassociate themselves from much open source software.

    > 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 is a text encoding standard. Fonts and other software implement the standard. The
    'openness' of the standard doesn't imply anything about the 'openness' of the software.

    > 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!

    Font developers are under no obligation to provide you with free fonts. Do you not charge
    for your work? If you want fonts to be freely available, you have to find some way to pay
    for their development, e.g. the model of the SBL Font Foundation, which is raising funds
    from partner organisations to pay for free fonts for Biblical scholarship.

    John Hudson

    Tiro Typeworks
    Vancouver, BC
    Currently reading:
    The Peasant of the Garonne, by Jacques Maritain
    Art and faith, by Jacques Maritain & Jean Cocteau
    Difficulites, by Ronald Knox & Arnold Lunn

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