On Sun, Oct 27, 2013 at 11:11 PM, Faidon Liambotis <faidon(a)wikimedia.org>wrote;wrote:
On Mon, Oct 28, 2013 at 01:32:30PM +1100, Tim Starling
Yes, we should prefer to use free software. We
should also strive to
ensure that our support for users on non-free platforms is optimal, as
long as that doesn't negatively impact on users of free platforms. So
I don't think it is a problem to specify non-free fonts in font lists.
It's a bit more complicated than that. Linux distros ship with fontconfig
(which is used by Cairo, which in turn is used by at least Firefox).
Fontconfig aliases fonts via a set of rules and the default rules map
popular non-free fonts to their free metric equivalents, or generics. e.g.
$ fc-match Helvetica
n019003l.pfb: "Nimbus Sans L" "Regular"
This effectively means that, for Linux, having the free fonts at the end
of the CSS font selection is probably a no-op: the browser will never
fallback via the CSS, but match the first font on the list to an equivalent
found on the system via fontconfig's fallback mechanisms.
Almost. fontconfig will use the first font in the font stack that has a
positive match. "Helvetica Neue" doesn't mean anything (so alone it would
give "Deja Vu Sans"), but the following "Helvetica" has a alias to
Sans L" with binding="same" in /etc/fonts/* , so Firefox uses that.
It will be an educated guess and possibly do the right
thing but it won't
be what the web designer intended.
For the 2012 Login and Create account form redesign, the web designer
(Munaf Assaf and others) intended Helvetica Neue for text and Georgia for
some numbers. fc-match lets free software get close to that intended look.
The right thing happens! (The Login and Create account forms looked good on
my Ubuntu for the time when they specified a font stack.[*]) Free OSes
sometimes improve their supplied fonts and matching rules, so it's possible
they'll later ship something that matches even better. For example Google's
new Roboto is a nice Helvetica Neue. Brave users can make the decision
themselves by hacking /etc/fonts/*.
This basically strengthens your point: free fonts should be first in the
Only if the free font looks better.
: I say "probably", because I vaguely remember the interactions between
Firefox & fontconfig to be complicated. Maybe
they're being smarter --
someone should test :)
Firefox works this way. It seems my Chromium prefers Nimbus Sans L even for
'sans serif'; it could be my setup, or
I would love to
know what Android tablets do.
[*] The local improvement to fonts on those forms made them inconsistent
with the rest of MediaWiki, so their font stack was removed. The VectorBeta
feature applies better typography everywhere. It's really nice IMO.
=S Page Features engineer