On Sat, Oct 26, 2013 at 9:43 AM, Brad Jorsch (Anomie) <bjorsch(a)wikimedia.org
I came across Gerrit change 79948 today, which
use a pile of non-free fonts (with one free font thrown in at the end
as a sop). Is this really the direction we want to go, considering
that in many other areas we prefer to use free software whenever we
Looking around a bit, I see this has been discussed in some "back
corners" (no offense intended), but not on this list and I don't
see any place where free versus non-free was actually discussed rather
than being brought up and then seemingly ignored.
In case it helps, I did some searching through mediawiki/core and
WMF-deployed extensions for font-family directives containing non-free
fonts. The results are at
non-staff account intentional).
You're leaving out two key facts here:
1. The 'VectorBeta' change is to create an _opt-in_ beta for typography
changes, as part of the release of BetaFeatures extension. We'd only be
providing something to users who want to try this font stack. It's a choice
they get to make, and in that sense I think it's a little wrong for us to
dictate anything based solely on ideology.
2. This beta font stack for desktop is based primarily on our mobile
font stack, which is already the default seen by all mobile readers and
editors on Wikimedia projects. People keep saying "traditionally" we have
not specified a real font stack, but the truth is we abandoned that
tradition going back to October 2012:
other words: this is only new for desktop. This would only be applying
the mobile style font stack on desktop, for users who want to try it.
Other than that, I think Brion brings up some really good points to
consider. BTW, the bug related to your search in core etc. is
We have never and will never ship a proprietary font to users who do not
have one installed, and I think we should maybe make that an official
policy if it isn't already. However, specifying better font families for
users that already have them can and has improved the experience for
millions of readers. Wikimedia projects and MediaWiki seem like dinosaurs,
even within the FOSS community, by enforcing a standard of using whatever
random sans serif a user has, and nothing more.
Many FOSS communities have dealt with the trade off between great-looking
fonts and freedom by commissioning foundries to get their own free fonts.
See also: Ubuntu, Android, and more. I've talked to the design team about
this idea, including perhaps getting a foundry to donate a unique font
stack in exchange for the publicity they'd get. The trade-off is that it's
extremely time consuming and (if we don't get a donation) it's very
expensive. That doesn't mean it's not potentially worth it, but it's a big
undertaking for the design team. Not to mention the fact that we have very
little experience delivering webfonts to all users in a performant way.