Frankly, I think there has been a large degree of intransigence on both
sides. The free font advocates have refused to identify the fonts that they
want to be considered and why they should be considered other than the fact
that they are free, and the designers have refused to take any initiative
on considering free fonts. The free fonts that I know have been considered
* DejaVu Serif. Conclusion: Widely installed, but horribly ugly and looks
nothing like the style desired by the designers.
* Nimbus Roman No9 L. Conclusion: Basically a clone of Times. Most Linux
systems map Times to Nimbus Roman No9 L, so there is no advantage to
specifying "Nimbus Roman No9 L" rather than "Times" (which also maps
fonts on Windows and Mac).
* Linux Libertine. Conclusion: A well-designed free font that matches the
look of the Wikipedia wordmark. Unfortunately, it is not installed by
default on any systems (as far as anyone knows) but is bundled with
LibreOffice as an application font. If MediaWiki were using webfonts, this
would likely be the serif font of choice rather than Georgia, but since we
are relying on pre-installed fonts, it would be rather pointless to list it.
* Liberation Sans. Conclusion: Essentially a free substitute for Arial.
Like Nimbus Roman, there is no advantage to specifying "Liberation Sans"
instead of "Arial" (which is at the bottom of the sans-serif stack) since
Linux systems will map to Liberation Sans anyway, while other systems will
As to proving the quality of Georgia and Helvetica Neue, I don't think the
designers have done that, but I also haven't seen any evidence from the
free font advocates concerning the quality of any free fonts. So in my
view, both sides of the debate have been delinquent.
On Sat, Feb 15, 2014 at 4:16 PM, Greg Grossmeier <greg(a)wikimedia.org> wrote:
<quote name="Steven Walling"
date="2014-02-15" time="16:08:41 -0800">
On Sat, Feb 15, 2014 at 3:59 PM, Greg Grossmeier
> <quote name="Federico Leva (Nemo)" date="2014-02-15"
> > And surely, before
WMF/"MediaWiki" tell the world that no free fonts
> > of good quality exist, there will be some document detailing exactly
> > why and based on what arguments/data/research the numerous free
> > alternatives were all rejected? Free fonts developers are an
> > invaluable resource for serving Wikimedia projects' content in all
> > languages, we shouldn't carelessly slap them in their face.
> I just skimmed the entire thread again, and yes, this has been
times but no one from the WMF Design team has responded with that
analysis (or if would respond with an analysis). The first time it was
requested the person was told to ask the Design list, then the next
message CC'd the design list, but no response on that point.
I don't see much on https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Typography_refresh
nor it's talk page. Nor
There wasn't an answer because the question is a fundamental
misunderstanding of the way CSS works and options that are within our
reach. The question isn't "are there good free fonts?" the question is
we deliver good free fonts to all users?".
I'll try to help the UX team
document the answer better.
I may be part of the misunderstanding-of-how-things-work-in-font-land
contingent. Advice/clarity appreciated.
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