Should MediaWiki CSS prefer non-free fonts?

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Re: Should MediaWiki CSS prefer non-free fonts?

Steven Walling
On Sun, Oct 27, 2013 at 12:44 PM, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:

> OK ... and the tradeoff of the designer assuming the non-free font,
> and it just happening to look like garbage with any free font?
>

David, you should ask the designers why they chose the stack in VectorBeta,
rather than assuming they ignored free/open platforms. If you look, you'll
notice that they took the time on MobileFrontEnd and in VectorBeta to
examine what fonts were most widely available and look good on free
platforms, and specify them.
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Re: Should MediaWiki CSS prefer non-free fonts?

Daniel Friesen-2
In reply to this post by Steven Walling
On 2013-10-27 12:37 PM, Steven Walling wrote:

> 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.
I hereby open the bikeshedding on whether we should call our new font
"MediaWiki" or "WikiMedia".

~Daniel Friesen (Dantman, Nadir-Seen-Fire) [http://danielfriesen.name/]


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Re: Should MediaWiki CSS prefer non-free fonts?

David Gerard-2
In reply to this post by Steven Walling
On 27 October 2013 19:47, Steven Walling <[hidden email]> wrote:
> On Sun, Oct 27, 2013 at 12:44 PM, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:

>> OK ... and the tradeoff of the designer assuming the non-free font,
>> and it just happening to look like garbage with any free font?

> David, you should ask the designers why they chose the stack in VectorBeta,
> rather than assuming they ignored free/open platforms. If you look, you'll
> notice that they took the time on MobileFrontEnd and in VectorBeta to
> examine what fonts were most widely available and look good on free
> platforms, and specify them.


That's ... precisely evading the question.


- d.

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Re: Should MediaWiki CSS prefer non-free fonts?

Brion Vibber-4
Saying that the people who picked the font stack should be able to defend
their selection of font stack and their ability to design for all customers
with it isn't avoiding the question; it's sending the question to the ONLY
people who can sensibly answer it.

Keep in mind that a) the design team don't spend a lot of time on this
mailing list other than Brandon, and b) it's the weekend, most of them
probably aren't even aware you've asked a question yet.

Please have a little patience, and assume good faith.

-- brion


On Sun, Oct 27, 2013 at 12:56 PM, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 27 October 2013 19:47, Steven Walling <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > On Sun, Oct 27, 2013 at 12:44 PM, David Gerard <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
>
> >> OK ... and the tradeoff of the designer assuming the non-free font,
> >> and it just happening to look like garbage with any free font?
>
> > David, you should ask the designers why they chose the stack in
> VectorBeta,
> > rather than assuming they ignored free/open platforms. If you look,
> you'll
> > notice that they took the time on MobileFrontEnd and in VectorBeta to
> > examine what fonts were most widely available and look good on free
> > platforms, and specify them.
>
>
> That's ... precisely evading the question.
>
>
> - d.
>
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Re: Should MediaWiki CSS prefer non-free fonts?

Erwin Dokter
In reply to this post by Steven Walling
On 27-10-2013 20:37, Steven Walling wrote:
>
> 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.

Those FOSS communities distribute software such as operating systems;
you cannot compare them to websites like Wikipedia. The MediaWiki
software generate those websites. So I think the comparison is not acurate.

Whould MediaWiki commision it's own font? No; too expensive/time
consuming. Could we possibly use an existing free (web) font? Possibly,
but it will cost extra bandwidth serving them. That leaves using fonts
that are available on readers' systems.

Whoever said that typography is not important, is totally wrong; it is
an inseparable part of web design. Avoiding proprietary fonts is just as
pointless as avoiding proprietary web browsers.

Met vriendelijke groet,
--
Erwin Dokter


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Re: Should MediaWiki CSS prefer non-free fonts?

MZMcBride-2
In reply to this post by Steven Walling
Steven Walling wrote:
>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.

Why is this a key fact? Will we soon be allowing users to opt in to
Facebook "like" buttons, Google Analytics, and "all rights reserved"
copyright for their contributions? I don't think making something optional
somehow makes it a better idea.

In the case of MediaWiki, by using sans-serif, aren't we specifically not
dictating to users what to use? I don't follow your logic here.

>   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:
>   https://blog.wikimedia.org/2012/10/24/wikipedia-mobile-gets-a-new-look/

This makes no sense to me. Why should we be following mobile's trends? The
mobile site currently intentionally disables anonymous editing (a direct
violation of core Wikimedia principles). It also contains a number of
other questionable design decisions, much as its predecessors did.

Would you say we abandoned the tradition of allowing anonymous editing
simply because of the mobile team's questionable design decision? Again, I
have difficulty following your logic here.

I think when people say "traditionally," they mean "with the exception of
the mobile team, which doesn't seem to care about adhering to Wikimedia or
MediaWiki design philosophies." Yes, you can find plenty of other examples
of the mobile team doing things like this, but that hardly seems like a
good reason to import those choices into desktop.

MZMcBride



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Re: Should MediaWiki CSS prefer non-free fonts?

Steven Walling
On Sun, Oct 27, 2013 at 4:23 PM, MZMcBride <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Steven Walling wrote:
> >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.
>
> Why is this a key fact? Will we soon be allowing users to opt in to
> Facebook "like" buttons, Google Analytics, and "all rights reserved"
> copyright for their contributions? I don't think making something optional
> somehow makes it a better idea.
>
> In the case of MediaWiki, by using sans-serif, aren't we specifically not
> dictating to users what to use? I don't follow your logic here.
>

Brad's original email failed to point out that the VectorBeta patch isn't a
"direction we're going in" for all of Vector or all of MediaWiki. It's an
opt-in preference for users on Wikimedia projects, where the BetaFeatures
extension is to be deployed. The patch he brought up is essentially no
different than a skin like Cologne Blue setting a different font stack, for
users who choose it.


>
> >   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:
> >
> https://blog.wikimedia.org/2012/10/24/wikipedia-mobile-gets-a-new-look/
>
> This makes no sense to me. Why should we be following mobile's trends? The
> mobile site currently intentionally disables anonymous editing (a direct
> violation of core Wikimedia principles). It also contains a number of
> other questionable design decisions, much as its predecessors did.
>
> Would you say we abandoned the tradition of allowing anonymous editing
> simply because of the mobile team's questionable design decision? Again, I
> have difficulty following your logic here.
>
> I think when people say "traditionally," they mean "with the exception of
> the mobile team, which doesn't seem to care about adhering to Wikimedia or
> MediaWiki design philosophies." Yes, you can find plenty of other examples
> of the mobile team doing things like this, but that hardly seems like a
> good reason to import those choices into desktop.


Sorry if you don't like MobileFrontend's design, but it's clearly not an
opinion universally shared among readers and editors on the mobile version
of Wikimedia projects. It's nearing 20% of our overall traffic every month,
and growing like weeds.[1] Thousands of people a month are editing via
mobile too. Neither of those things would be happening if your logic was
correct, and their divergent choices from the rest of MediaWiki were really
so awful for users. The way MobileFrontend is designed is highly effective
for people on mobile devices, and I think there's no reason to block an
experiment to let people opt-in to its style of typography on desktop.

1. http://reportcard.wmflabs.org/graphs/pageviews_mobile
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Re: Should MediaWiki CSS prefer non-free fonts?

Brian Wolff
>
> Sorry if you don't like MobileFrontend's design, but it's clearly not an
> opinion universally shared among readers and editors on the mobile version
> of Wikimedia projects. It's nearing 20% of our overall traffic every
month,
> and growing like weeds.[1] Thousands of people a month are editing via
> mobile too. Neither of those things would be happening if your logic was
> correct, and their divergent choices from the rest of MediaWiki were
really
> so awful for users. The way MobileFrontend is designed is highly effective
> for people on mobile devices, and I think there's no reason to block an
> experiment to let people opt-in to its style of typography on desktop.
>
> 1. http://reportcard.wmflabs.org/graphs/pageviews_mobile

MZ primarily said the design choices of mobile differ significantly from
mediawiki core, and hence don't really represent a precedent in core. This
is a statement I agree with. Whether or not these choices are good ones is
debatable and probably the grounds for a flamewar. However I think that's
besides the point for this conversation.

-bawolff
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Re: Should MediaWiki CSS prefer non-free fonts?

Tim Starling-2
In reply to this post by Brad Jorsch (Anomie)
On 27/10/13 03:43, Brad Jorsch (Anomie) wrote:
> I came across Gerrit change 79948[1] today, which makes "VectorBeta"
> 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
> can?

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.

The font-family lists in question seem to be:

@content-font-family: "Helvetica Neue", "Helvetica", "Nimbus Sans L",
"Arial", "Liberation Sans", sans-serif;
@content-heading-font-family: Georgia, "DejaVu Serif", serif;

Now, it seems to me that very few users will have both free and
non-free fonts installed. So the order is mostly irrelevant. It could
instead be:

@content-font-family: "Nimbus Sans L", "Liberation Sans", "Helvetica
Neue", "Helvetica", "Arial", sans-serif;
@content-heading-font-family: "DejaVu Serif", Georgia, serif;

And probably nobody would ever notice the difference. That seems like
a better choice to me, since it would make the FOSS advocates feel
more warm and fuzzy.

There is the separate issue that on my Linux laptop, Nimbus Sans L
looks worse than the font my browser will choose for sans-serif. That
is because I have customised Firefox to use the Ubuntu font for
sans-serif, which is very readable. I find all the Arial clones to be
too narrow for comfortable reading.

-- Tim Starling


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Re: Should MediaWiki CSS prefer non-free fonts?

Isarra Yos
On 28/10/13 02:32, Tim Starling wrote:
> There is the separate issue that on my Linux laptop, Nimbus Sans L
> looks worse than the font my browser will choose for sans-serif. That
> is because I have customised Firefox to use the Ubuntu font for
> sans-serif, which is very readable. I find all the Arial clones to be
> too narrow for comfortable reading.
>
> -- Tim Starling

That reminds me of something of a point folks tend to forget - generally
the system font is chosen in part just because it renders well with the
system font renderer, so overriding that can have unexpected side
effects in terms of legibility. How the same font (or its clone) renders
can vary significantly across systems, so even if a font type looks good
on a mac, for instance, it may look bad on windows or even be downright
unreadable on linux with a fontconfig which simply wasn't written with
the specific font in mind.

I found this to be a good part why arial was so damn unreadable on my
linux setup, for instance, though even with it rendering properly now
it's still narrower than I find comfortable as well. Perhaps this is
just because I'm used to wider, but going against what people are used
to (and thus have effectively trained their brains upon), or especially
what they might have specifically customised (in particular large or
dyslexic fonts come to mind as a specific usability issue here), also
seems like an odd move.

And yes, I know it's a standard move that websites tend to make. It's
still odd, and I can't say I like that folks are trying to take
mediawiki/wikimedia in a similar direction, even without the question of
whether or not the specifics are free or not.

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Re: Should MediaWiki CSS prefer non-free fonts?

Faidon Liambotis
In reply to this post by Tim Starling-2
On Mon, Oct 28, 2013 at 01:32:30PM +1100, Tim Starling wrote:
>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"

$ fc-match Arial
LiberationSans-Regular.ttf: "Liberation Sans" "Regular"

$ fc-match "Courier New"
LiberationMono-Regular.ttf: "Liberation Mono" "Regular"

$ fc-match INVALID
DejaVuSans.ttf: "DejaVu Sans" "Book"

This effectively means that, for Linux, having the free fonts at the end
of the CSS font selection is probably[1]  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. It
will be an educated guess and possibly do the right thing but it won't
be what the web designer intended.

This basically strengthens your point: free fonts should be first in the
list.

Regards,
Faidon

[1]: I say "probably", because I vaguely remember the interactions
between Firefox & fontconfig to be complicated. Maybe they're being
smarter -- someone should test :)

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Re: Should MediaWiki CSS prefer non-free fonts?

Derk-Jan Hartman
There are other considerations. For instance, default fonts usually have
been chosen to provide the maximum amount of glyphs of all the fonts.
Making changes here can have unintended consequences with either missing
glyphs (mostly on Windows), or inconsistent rendering of words due to font
fallback for glyphs (mac and linux).

On en.wp we actually removed a math font from our font list for math
elements, because the math elements would render with half the letters in
an equation using this font, and the other half of the glyphs using a
fallback font that looked totally different.

And this is once again one of those areas on en.wp that has seen a lot of
combativeness, so I'd be careful no matter what.

DJ



On Mon, Oct 28, 2013 at 7:11 AM, Faidon Liambotis <[hidden email]>wrote:

> On Mon, Oct 28, 2013 at 01:32:30PM +1100, Tim Starling wrote:
>
>> 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"
>
> $ fc-match Arial
> LiberationSans-Regular.ttf: "Liberation Sans" "Regular"
>
> $ fc-match "Courier New"
> LiberationMono-Regular.ttf: "Liberation Mono" "Regular"
>
> $ fc-match INVALID
> DejaVuSans.ttf: "DejaVu Sans" "Book"
>
> This effectively means that, for Linux, having the free fonts at the end
> of the CSS font selection is probably[1]  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. It will be an
> educated guess and possibly do the right thing but it won't be what the web
> designer intended.
>
> This basically strengthens your point: free fonts should be first in the
> list.
>
> Regards,
> Faidon
>
> [1]: I say "probably", because I vaguely remember the interactions between
> Firefox & fontconfig to be complicated. Maybe they're being smarter --
> someone should test :)
>
>
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Re: Should MediaWiki CSS prefer non-free fonts?

S Page-3
In reply to this post by Faidon Liambotis
On Sun, Oct 27, 2013 at 11:11 PM, Faidon Liambotis <[hidden email]>wrote:

> On Mon, Oct 28, 2013 at 01:32:30PM +1100, Tim Starling wrote:
>
>> 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[1]  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 "Nimbus
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
> list.
>

Only if the free font looks better.

[1]: 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
https://code.google.com/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=242046  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
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Re: Should MediaWiki CSS prefer non-free fonts?

liangent
btw. Be aware of internationalization issues: not to say that fonts are
usually tied to a (group of) alphabets. Even digits can be affected by the
language info of the context they live.

See [1]: this is the standard English Wikipedia signup screen, and [2]:
with ?uselang=zh-cn added.

[1] http://imagebin.org/275031
[2] http://imagebin.org/275032

-Liangent

On Mon, Oct 28, 2013, S Page <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Sun, Oct 27, 2013 at 11:11 PM, Faidon Liambotis <[hidden email]
> >wrote:
>
> > On Mon, Oct 28, 2013 at 01:32:30PM +1100, Tim Starling wrote:
> >
> >> 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[1]  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 "Nimbus
> 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
> > list.
> >
>
> Only if the free font looks better.
>
> [1]: 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
> https://code.google.com/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=242046  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
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Re: Should MediaWiki CSS prefer non-free fonts?

Brad Jorsch (Anomie)
In reply to this post by Steven Walling
On Sun, Oct 27, 2013 at 7:49 PM, Steven Walling
<[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Sun, Oct 27, 2013 at 4:23 PM, MZMcBride <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> Steven Walling wrote:
>> >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.
>>
>> Why is this a key fact? Will we soon be allowing users to opt in to
>> Facebook "like" buttons, Google Analytics, and "all rights reserved"
>> copyright for their contributions? I don't think making something optional
>> somehow makes it a better idea.
>>
>> In the case of MediaWiki, by using sans-serif, aren't we specifically not
>> dictating to users what to use? I don't follow your logic here.
>>
>
> Brad's original email failed to point out that the VectorBeta patch isn't a
> "direction we're going in" for all of Vector or all of MediaWiki. It's an
> opt-in preference for users on Wikimedia projects, where the BetaFeatures
> extension is to be deployed. The patch he brought up is essentially no
> different than a skin like Cologne Blue setting a different font stack, for
> users who choose it.

Where I come from, "beta" does mean "this is the direction we're
intending to go in, subject to testing and feedback before it's made
an official release". I'm not aware of anyone who uses a definition of
"this is an option, that we're always going to keep as a non-default
option".

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Re: Should MediaWiki CSS prefer non-free fonts?

Erik Moeller-4
On Mon, Oct 28, 2013 at 7:12 AM, Brad Jorsch (Anomie)
<[hidden email]> wrote:

> Where I come from, "beta" does mean "this is the direction we're
> intending to go in, subject to testing and feedback before it's made
> an official release".

That's right. There are two questions here:

- Do these style/typography changes represent an improvement for most
users, without significantly disadvantaging others?
- If so, how should they be implemented?

Making the change available as a beta feature helps us get input on
both questions. This thread is an example of exactly the kind of
feedback that we'd rather get during the beta stage than when
something's been made default.

Prioritizing freely licensed fonts while also explicitly naming the
preferred non-free fonts seems like an easy fix.

Erik

--
Erik Möller
VP of Engineering and Product Development, Wikimedia Foundation

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Re: Should MediaWiki CSS prefer non-free fonts?

S Page-3
On Mon, Oct 28, 2013 at 10:20 AM, Erik Moeller <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Prioritizing freely licensed fonts while also explicitly naming the
> preferred non-free fonts seems like an easy fix.
>

Again, this is already done for us by fontconfig when presented with the
ASCII sequence "H e l v e t i c a". There's no reason for our font stack to
do it unless some freely-licensed font looks better than the non-free font;
also it will work against the brave and few who follow steps like
http://www.binarytides.com/gorgeous-looking-fonts-ubuntu-linux/ to adjust
the appearance of those well-known names.

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Re: Should MediaWiki CSS prefer non-free fonts?

Faidon Liambotis
On Mon, Oct 28, 2013 at 02:56:42PM -0700, S Page wrote:

>On Mon, Oct 28, 2013 at 10:20 AM, Erik Moeller <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> Prioritizing freely licensed fonts while also explicitly naming the
>> preferred non-free fonts seems like an easy fix.
>>
>
>Again, this is already done for us by fontconfig when presented with the
>ASCII sequence "H e l v e t i c a". There's no reason for our font stack to
>do it unless some freely-licensed font looks better than the non-free font;
>also it will work against the brave and few who follow steps like
>http://www.binarytides.com/gorgeous-looking-fonts-ubuntu-linux/ to adjust
>the appearance of those well-known names.

The problem with relying on fontconfig instead of being explicit about
your choices, is that it's basically undefined behavior. On my system
fontconfig chooses Liberation Sans, on yours it might choose Roboto,
etc.

Maybe the designer doesn't care about which font is used as long as it's
Sans Serif, but in this case why would the CSS say "Helvetica" instead
of "sans-serif"? IOW, if one wants to be explicit about their font
choices, they might just as well be explicit across platforms.

(I don't know much about web design though, I could be wrong :)

Regards,
Faidon

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Re: Should MediaWiki CSS prefer non-free fonts?

Matthew Flaschen-2
In reply to this post by Steven Walling
On 10/27/2013 03:37 PM, Steven Walling wrote:
> 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.

Do we really need our own, or are there already quality free fonts we
can list?  Has the design team taken a good look at the existing free fonts?

My general position is that it is not a violation of our principles to
list a proprietary font in the stack.  However, we should never
*distribute* such a font.

I would prefer that free fonts appear first, and that is more workable
if we can find good free fonts that suit our design needs.  We should
also ensure that the interface does not look worse in the future than it
does today, when using free fonts.

Also, remember that font-matchers may substitute a free font when they
are given a proprietary font name.

Matt Flaschen

CCing design

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Re: Should MediaWiki CSS prefer non-free fonts?

Quim Gil-2
In reply to this post by Chad
As one that started of participated in this discussion in many "back
corners"...

On 10/27/2013 09:50 AM, Chad wrote:
> Our ideologies are far more important than typography.

We bet on free licenses for all the content and software we produce,
even if sometimes potentially superior "free as in beer" alternatives
are available. We systematically bet on free as in freedom content, file
formats and programs not only because they are free, but also because by
using them we contribute to their promotion, consolidation and success.

I personally don't see a reason to sacrifice this consistency in order
to use and advertise a proprietary typeface because it looks better
today in certain displays.

> I agree with Kaldari and Brandon earlier: serif, sans-serif, monospace.

+1.

And if we want to specify any fonts in our works, they should be free.
Why would we need to start our own foundry from scratch? There are many
free typefaces, more and better every year. Google has done a big
investment and as a result Android ships with free fonts only, and they
host a huge repository of free webfonts. Even Adobe publishes pretty
decent free fonts these days. The trend is clear, we are not in 2003
anymore. I don't see why we have to go in a different direction instead
of supporting the trend of free fonts explicitly or, at least, stay
neutral (serif, sans-serif, monospace).

--
Quim Gil
Technical Contributor Coordinator @ Wikimedia Foundation
http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/User:Qgil

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