On Mon, Feb 17, 2014 at 4:58 PM, Erik Moeller <erik(a)wikimedia.org> wrote:
So, what would be the downside of listing a font like
sans-serif and Libertine for serif first in the stack? While not
affecting the reader experience for a significant number of users, it
would still be a symbolic expression of a preference for freely
licensed fonts, and a conscious choice of a beautiful font for readers
that have installed it.
We basically tried the equivalent of this (placing relatively free fonts
unknown on most platforms first) which Kaldari talked about previously.
Ultimately that kind of declaration is useless for the vast majority of
users and we got very specific negative feedback about it on the Talk page.
These fonts are ignored by most systems when placed first or when placed
later in the stack. Systems match the first font they recognize, so using
something they don't recognize or putting it later is a largely just
The whole Arimo/Arial conundrum is largely a matter of the fact that
Windows users simply do not have a Helvetica-like font available on most
versions which is better than Arial, warts and all. Again, the best
solution is to deliver a webfont, which most people with good design sense
are doing these days, and we can't yet.