The Open Screen Project and Fonts

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Top Typographer
Top Typographer
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The Open Screen Project and Fonts

Post by William » Thu May 08, 2008 7:58 am

I was looking at the Adobe blogs and saw the following. ... oject.html

This linked to the following page.

Clicking on the link labelled Learn about Open Screen Project for designers and developers leads to the following page.

A paragraph about The SWF file format specification has a link to the following page.

On that page is a link to download the following pdf.


It is 1.9 Megabytes.

On page 11 of that pdf is the following, referring to the design goals of the SWF file format used by Flash.
File independence—The files display without dependence on external resources such
as fonts.
Chapter 13, which starts on page 181 is entitled Fonts and Text.

On page 181 is the following.
The SWF file format supports two kinds of text: glyph text and device text. Glyph text works by embedding character shapes in the SWF file, while device text uses the text rendering capabilities of the playback platform.
There is mention of TrueType fonts and their conversion to SWF glyphs.

The page has the following text.
The Open Screen Project is dedicated to driving consistent rich Internet experiences across televisions, personal computers, mobile devices, and consumer electronics.
It seems to me that a fundamental issue with that aim is that, in order to get the best displays, that fonts are needed to be embedded in swf files that go to televisions, personal computers, mobile devices and consumer electronics devices.

Once again there is the issue that arises with pdfs. That is, the licensing of fonts in relation to embedding. Some commercial font foundries (most? nearly all?) limit embedding of fonts within pdfs to situations of sending the pdf to a printer, not allowing it in relation to embedding in a pdf which is to be published on the web.

So, is the spread of typographic designs with Flash across televisions, personal computers, mobile devices and consumer electronics devices to be greatly limited by issues of font licensing?

What is to be done?

William Overington

8 May 2008

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