Should MediaWiki CSS prefer non-free fonts?

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Re: [Design] Should MediaWiki CSS prefer non-free fonts?

Ryan Kaldari-2
Frankly, I think there has been a large degree of intransigence on both
sides. The free font advocates have refused to identify the fonts that they
want to be considered and why they should be considered other than the fact
that they are free, and the designers have refused to take any initiative
on considering free fonts. The free fonts that I know have been considered
are:
* DejaVu Serif. Conclusion: Widely installed, but horribly ugly and looks
nothing like the style desired by the designers.
* Nimbus Roman No9 L. Conclusion: Basically a clone of Times. Most Linux
systems map Times to Nimbus Roman No9 L, so there is no advantage to
specifying "Nimbus Roman No9 L" rather than "Times" (which also maps to
fonts on Windows and Mac).
* Linux Libertine. Conclusion: A well-designed free font that matches the
look of the Wikipedia wordmark. Unfortunately, it is not installed by
default on any systems (as far as anyone knows) but is bundled with
LibreOffice as an application font. If MediaWiki were using webfonts, this
would likely be the serif font of choice rather than Georgia, but since we
are relying on pre-installed fonts, it would be rather pointless to list it.
* Liberation Sans. Conclusion: Essentially a free substitute for Arial.
Like Nimbus Roman, there is no advantage to specifying "Liberation Sans"
instead of "Arial" (which is at the bottom of the sans-serif stack) since
Linux systems will map to Liberation Sans anyway, while other systems will
apply Arial.

As to proving the quality of Georgia and Helvetica Neue, I don't think the
designers have done that, but I also haven't seen any evidence from the
free font advocates concerning the quality of any free fonts. So in my
view, both sides of the debate have been delinquent.

Ryan Kaldari


On Sat, Feb 15, 2014 at 4:16 PM, Greg Grossmeier <[hidden email]> wrote:

> <quote name="Steven Walling" date="2014-02-15" time="16:08:41 -0800">
> > On Sat, Feb 15, 2014 at 3:59 PM, Greg Grossmeier <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
> >
> > > <quote name="Federico Leva (Nemo)" date="2014-02-15" time="22:52:31
> +0100">
> > > > And surely, before WMF/"MediaWiki" tell the world that no free fonts
> > > > of good quality exist, there will be some document detailing exactly
> > > > why and based on what arguments/data/research the numerous free
> > > > alternatives were all rejected? Free fonts developers are an
> > > > invaluable resource for serving Wikimedia projects' content in all
> > > > languages, we shouldn't carelessly slap them in their face.
> > >
> > > I just skimmed the entire thread again, and yes, this has been
> requested
> > > a few times but no one from the WMF Design team has responded with that
> > > analysis (or if would respond with an analysis). The first time it was
> > > requested the person was told to ask the Design list, then the next
> > > message CC'd the design list, but no response on that point.
> > >
> > > I don't see much on https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Typography_refresh
> > > nor it's talk page. Nor
> > > https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Foundation_Design/Typography
> > >
> >
> > There wasn't an answer because the question is a fundamental
> > misunderstanding of the way CSS works and options that are within our
> > reach. The question isn't "are there good free fonts?" the question is
> "can
> > we deliver good free fonts to all users?". I'll try to help the UX team
> > document the answer better.
>
> Thanks.
>
> I may be part of the misunderstanding-of-how-things-work-in-font-land
> contingent. Advice/clarity appreciated.
>
> Greg
>
>
> --
> | Greg Grossmeier            GPG: B2FA 27B1 F7EB D327 6B8E |
> | identi.ca: @greg                A18D 1138 8E47 FAC8 1C7D |
>
> _______________________________________________
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> [hidden email]
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/design
>
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Re: [Design] Should MediaWiki CSS prefer non-free fonts?

Ryan Kaldari-2
Now that I've blamed everyone except for myself, I would like to suggest
that we stop pointing fingers and get down to brass tacks.

My question for both the designers and the free font advocates is: Are
there any free fonts that are...
1. widely installed (at least on Linux systems)
2. easily readable and not distractingly ugly
3. would not be mapped to by the existing stack anyway (i.e. are not simply
clones or substitutes for popular commercial fonts)

If so, I think they deserve at least as much consideration as Georgia and
Helvetica Neue.

Ryan Kaldari


On Sat, Feb 15, 2014 at 9:07 PM, Ryan Kaldari <[hidden email]>wrote:

> Frankly, I think there has been a large degree of intransigence on both
> sides. The free font advocates have refused to identify the fonts that they
> want to be considered and why they should be considered other than the fact
> that they are free, and the designers have refused to take any initiative
> on considering free fonts. The free fonts that I know have been considered
> are:
> * DejaVu Serif. Conclusion: Widely installed, but horribly ugly and looks
> nothing like the style desired by the designers.
> * Nimbus Roman No9 L. Conclusion: Basically a clone of Times. Most Linux
> systems map Times to Nimbus Roman No9 L, so there is no advantage to
> specifying "Nimbus Roman No9 L" rather than "Times" (which also maps to
> fonts on Windows and Mac).
> * Linux Libertine. Conclusion: A well-designed free font that matches the
> look of the Wikipedia wordmark. Unfortunately, it is not installed by
> default on any systems (as far as anyone knows) but is bundled with
> LibreOffice as an application font. If MediaWiki were using webfonts, this
> would likely be the serif font of choice rather than Georgia, but since we
> are relying on pre-installed fonts, it would be rather pointless to list it.
> * Liberation Sans. Conclusion: Essentially a free substitute for Arial.
> Like Nimbus Roman, there is no advantage to specifying "Liberation Sans"
> instead of "Arial" (which is at the bottom of the sans-serif stack) since
> Linux systems will map to Liberation Sans anyway, while other systems will
> apply Arial.
>
> As to proving the quality of Georgia and Helvetica Neue, I don't think the
> designers have done that, but I also haven't seen any evidence from the
> free font advocates concerning the quality of any free fonts. So in my
> view, both sides of the debate have been delinquent.
>
> Ryan Kaldari
>
>
> On Sat, Feb 15, 2014 at 4:16 PM, Greg Grossmeier <[hidden email]>wrote:
>
>> <quote name="Steven Walling" date="2014-02-15" time="16:08:41 -0800">
>> > On Sat, Feb 15, 2014 at 3:59 PM, Greg Grossmeier <[hidden email]>
>> wrote:
>> >
>> > > <quote name="Federico Leva (Nemo)" date="2014-02-15" time="22:52:31
>> +0100">
>> > > > And surely, before WMF/"MediaWiki" tell the world that no free fonts
>> > > > of good quality exist, there will be some document detailing exactly
>> > > > why and based on what arguments/data/research the numerous free
>> > > > alternatives were all rejected? Free fonts developers are an
>> > > > invaluable resource for serving Wikimedia projects' content in all
>> > > > languages, we shouldn't carelessly slap them in their face.
>> > >
>> > > I just skimmed the entire thread again, and yes, this has been
>> requested
>> > > a few times but no one from the WMF Design team has responded with
>> that
>> > > analysis (or if would respond with an analysis). The first time it was
>> > > requested the person was told to ask the Design list, then the next
>> > > message CC'd the design list, but no response on that point.
>> > >
>> > > I don't see much on https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Typography_refresh
>> > > nor it's talk page. Nor
>> > > https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Foundation_Design/Typography
>> > >
>> >
>> > There wasn't an answer because the question is a fundamental
>> > misunderstanding of the way CSS works and options that are within our
>> > reach. The question isn't "are there good free fonts?" the question is
>> "can
>> > we deliver good free fonts to all users?". I'll try to help the UX team
>> > document the answer better.
>>
>> Thanks.
>>
>> I may be part of the misunderstanding-of-how-things-work-in-font-land
>> contingent. Advice/clarity appreciated.
>>
>> Greg
>>
>>
>> --
>> | Greg Grossmeier            GPG: B2FA 27B1 F7EB D327 6B8E |
>> | identi.ca: @greg                A18D 1138 8E47 FAC8 1C7D |
>>
>> _______________________________________________
>> Design mailing list
>> [hidden email]
>> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/design
>>
>
>
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Re: [Design] Should MediaWiki CSS prefer non-free fonts?

Steven Walling-3
On Sat, Feb 15, 2014 at 11:52 PM, Denis Jacquerye <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Maybe I haven't looked in the right place, but why aren’t webfonts being
> considered?
>
> Webfonts would mean the same fonts can be delivered everywhere, relying on
> installed font only as a last resort.
> There are more options than just the 4 fonts mentioned (DejaVu Serif,
> Nimbus Roman No9 L, Linux Libertine, Liberation Sans): PT Sans/PT Serif,
> Droid Sans/Droid Serif and likes (Open Sans, Noto), the other Liberation
> fonts and likes (Arimo, Tinos), Source Sans, Roboto, Ubuntu, Clear Sans, if
> you just want hinted fonts and household names.
>
> I’ll also point out that Georgia is a great font originally designed for
> small size, and Helvetica Neue/Helvetica/Arial was originally designed for
> display. When it comes to language coverage both are lacking but that
> cannot be fixed easily.
>

To add on to what Jared said...

On webfonts: it's not just that it would take "more research". We have
already tried webfonts and failed miserably so far.
UniversalLanguageSelector is an example of how even the most
well-intentioned efforts in this area can face serious setbacks. Keep in
mind also that this typography work is largely being done with volunteer or
side project time from myself, the developers, and most of the designers.
We are simply not prepared to implement and test a webfonts system to work
at Wikipedia scale.

There are many gorgeous, well-localized free fonts out there... but few
that meet our design goals are delivered universally in popular mobile and
desktop operating systems. We can't get a consistent and more readable
experience without delivering those as webfonts, and webfonts are not
practically an option open to us right now. Maybe in the future we will get
(as Jared says) a foundry to donate a custom free font for us, or maybe
we'll just use a gorgeous free font out there now, like Open Baskerville or
Open Sans.

For now, however, we get the following result from the Typography Refresh
beta feature:

   1. the vast majority of our 500 billion or more users get a more
   readable experience
   2. we unify the typography across mobile and desktop devices, which is a
   good thing for both Wikimedia and third party users of Vector/MobileFrontEnd
   3. individual users and individual wikis can still change their CSS as
   needed and desired
   4. we don't jeopardize Vector and MediaWiki's status as FOSS, by not
   distributing nor creating a dependency on any proprietary software
   *whatsoever*. Thank you, CSS font-family property and fallbacks.

That all sounds like a pretty good way to maintain freedom while improving
readability and consistency to me.

--
Steven Walling,
Product Manager
https://wikimediafoundation.org/
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Re: [Design] Should MediaWiki CSS prefer non-free fonts?

Gerard Meijssen-3
Hoi,
You say "we have failed miserably". Many fonts are mentioned and they are
all for the Latin script. Many fonts are mentioned and you fail to mention
the Open Dyslexic font.

I know from personal experience that Open Dyslexic makes a difference in
being able to read Wikipedia [1]. We know that many people who want to
write in their own language need web fonts and input methods to do this in
the internet cafes where they write their articles.

This proves the point that webfonts does what it is there for; provide an
ability where there is none.

This whole huha of providing font support for the Latin script is stupid
unless a font does NOT support the characters needed to show a particular
language and YES most fonts are incomplete when they are to support all of
the Latin script.

Working towards a more beautiful viewing experience is a secondary
objective. Primary is that our readers and editors can read and edit.

ULS is a huge success in doing what it was intended to do. I am afraid that
we have lost sight of what our primary objective is about.
Thanks,
      GerardM


[1]
http://ultimategerardm.blogspot.nl/2013/12/the-best-sinterklaas-gift-ever.html


On 16 February 2014 09:13, Steven Walling <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Sat, Feb 15, 2014 at 11:52 PM, Denis Jacquerye <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
>
> > Maybe I haven't looked in the right place, but why aren’t webfonts being
> > considered?
> >
> > Webfonts would mean the same fonts can be delivered everywhere, relying
> on
> > installed font only as a last resort.
> > There are more options than just the 4 fonts mentioned (DejaVu Serif,
> > Nimbus Roman No9 L, Linux Libertine, Liberation Sans): PT Sans/PT Serif,
> > Droid Sans/Droid Serif and likes (Open Sans, Noto), the other Liberation
> > fonts and likes (Arimo, Tinos), Source Sans, Roboto, Ubuntu, Clear Sans,
> if
> > you just want hinted fonts and household names.
> >
> > I’ll also point out that Georgia is a great font originally designed for
> > small size, and Helvetica Neue/Helvetica/Arial was originally designed
> for
> > display. When it comes to language coverage both are lacking but that
> > cannot be fixed easily.
> >
>
> To add on to what Jared said...
>
> On webfonts: it's not just that it would take "more research". We have
> already tried webfonts and failed miserably so far.
> UniversalLanguageSelector is an example of how even the most
> well-intentioned efforts in this area can face serious setbacks. Keep in
> mind also that this typography work is largely being done with volunteer or
> side project time from myself, the developers, and most of the designers.
> We are simply not prepared to implement and test a webfonts system to work
> at Wikipedia scale.
>
> There are many gorgeous, well-localized free fonts out there... but few
> that meet our design goals are delivered universally in popular mobile and
> desktop operating systems. We can't get a consistent and more readable
> experience without delivering those as webfonts, and webfonts are not
> practically an option open to us right now. Maybe in the future we will get
> (as Jared says) a foundry to donate a custom free font for us, or maybe
> we'll just use a gorgeous free font out there now, like Open Baskerville or
> Open Sans.
>
> For now, however, we get the following result from the Typography Refresh
> beta feature:
>
>    1. the vast majority of our 500 billion or more users get a more
>    readable experience
>    2. we unify the typography across mobile and desktop devices, which is a
>    good thing for both Wikimedia and third party users of
> Vector/MobileFrontEnd
>    3. individual users and individual wikis can still change their CSS as
>    needed and desired
>    4. we don't jeopardize Vector and MediaWiki's status as FOSS, by not
>    distributing nor creating a dependency on any proprietary software
>    *whatsoever*. Thank you, CSS font-family property and fallbacks.
>
> That all sounds like a pretty good way to maintain freedom while improving
> readability and consistency to me.
>
> --
> Steven Walling,
> Product Manager
> https://wikimediafoundation.org/
> _______________________________________________
> Wikitech-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l
>
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Re: [Design] Should MediaWiki CSS prefer non-free fonts?

David Gerard-2
On 16 February 2014 08:54, Gerard Meijssen <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Working towards a more beautiful viewing experience is a secondary
> objective. Primary is that our readers and editors can read and edit.
> ULS is a huge success in doing what it was intended to do. I am afraid that
> we have lost sight of what our primary objective is about.


Indeed. What precisely was the problem with ULS? What consideration
did the designers give to non-Latin?


- d.

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Re: [Design] Should MediaWiki CSS prefer non-free fonts?

Steven Walling
On Sun, Feb 16, 2014 at 1:16 AM, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 16 February 2014 08:54, Gerard Meijssen <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
>
> > Working towards a more beautiful viewing experience is a secondary
> > objective. Primary is that our readers and editors can read and edit.
> > ULS is a huge success in doing what it was intended to do. I am afraid
> that
> > we have lost sight of what our primary objective is about.
>
>
> Indeed. What precisely was the problem with ULS?


From https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Universal_Language_Selector: "Universal
Language Selector has been disabled on 21-01-2014 to work out some
performance issues that had affected the Wikimedia sites." To my
understanding part of the major performance issues here related to issues
like loading the Autonym font via webfonts.

I probably should not have brought up ULS because feelings are still raw
about it and I'm not interested in rehashing its problems, but my point is
that it's an example of how delivering webfonts is not a trivial thing for
us. No one has offered to spend time on a highly performant webfonts system
that can deliver better typography reliably to all Wikimedia sites, and
we're certainly not going to officially task a team to do so when there's a
reasonable alternative that thousands of users are trying out right now in
beta mode.


> What consideration
> did the designers give to non-Latin?


The beta feature has involved lots of testing in non-Latin scripts. It's
not perfect yet but we certainly haven't ignored scripts that represent so
many users. (Remember we're not talking about something actually that new.
A very similar font stack has been in use for 100% of mobile users for more
than a year.)

Steven

P.S. Sorry for answering from a different account. My work address is not
subscribed to Wikitech.
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Re: [Design] Should MediaWiki CSS prefer non-free fonts?

Gerard Meijssen-3
Hoi,
Loading the Autonym stack was a solution to a much worse problem. When it
is still a problem, it can easily be disabled because having the Autonym
font is not essential. It is there to make things look good.

Having the OpenDyslexic font is essential.

Having the fonts for Hindi, Divehi, Tamil, Amharic is essential.

OpenDyslexic is easily the most used WebFont. It has the potential to serve
7% of a population.

When you indicate that the feelings are still high, you have to appreciate
that no recent changes lead to the disabling of primary functionality.
There may have been performance issues but they were there before. The
argument was not made that in order to save our infrastructure ULS had to
be disabled. The argument that was made was we want to improve the
performance of our site.

I do agree that this is important. It is not as important as providing
ability to read and edit. I do agree that delivering web fonts is not
trivial. However the non technical arguments have been trivialised.
Thanks,
       GerardM




On 16 February 2014 10:48, Steven Walling <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Sun, Feb 16, 2014 at 1:16 AM, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> > On 16 February 2014 08:54, Gerard Meijssen <[hidden email]>
> > wrote:
> >
> > > Working towards a more beautiful viewing experience is a secondary
> > > objective. Primary is that our readers and editors can read and edit.
> > > ULS is a huge success in doing what it was intended to do. I am afraid
> > that
> > > we have lost sight of what our primary objective is about.
> >
> >
> > Indeed. What precisely was the problem with ULS?
>
>
> From https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Universal_Language_Selector:
> "Universal
> Language Selector has been disabled on 21-01-2014 to work out some
> performance issues that had affected the Wikimedia sites." To my
> understanding part of the major performance issues here related to issues
> like loading the Autonym font via webfonts.
>
> I probably should not have brought up ULS because feelings are still raw
> about it and I'm not interested in rehashing its problems, but my point is
> that it's an example of how delivering webfonts is not a trivial thing for
> us. No one has offered to spend time on a highly performant webfonts system
> that can deliver better typography reliably to all Wikimedia sites, and
> we're certainly not going to officially task a team to do so when there's a
> reasonable alternative that thousands of users are trying out right now in
> beta mode.
>
>
> > What consideration
> > did the designers give to non-Latin?
>
>
> The beta feature has involved lots of testing in non-Latin scripts. It's
> not perfect yet but we certainly haven't ignored scripts that represent so
> many users. (Remember we're not talking about something actually that new.
> A very similar font stack has been in use for 100% of mobile users for more
> than a year.)
>
> Steven
>
> P.S. Sorry for answering from a different account. My work address is not
> subscribed to Wikitech.
> _______________________________________________
> Wikitech-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l
>
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Re: [Design] Should MediaWiki CSS prefer non-free fonts?

Federico Leva (Nemo)
In reply to this post by Ryan Kaldari-2
Ryan Kaldari, 16/02/2014 06:54:
> Now that I've blamed everyone except for myself, I would like to suggest
> that we stop pointing fingers and get down to brass tacks.

Brad's email was a bit caustic but IMHO it wasn't pointing fingers,
unlike yours (though you helpfully pointed fingers towards everyone). ;-)

>
> My question for both the designers and the free font advocates is: Are
> there any free fonts that are...
> 1. widely installed (at least on Linux systems)
> 2. easily readable and not distractingly ugly
> 3. would not be mapped to by the existing stack anyway (i.e. are not
> simply clones or substitutes for popular commercial fonts)

I'm sorry but this question to "the free font advocates" does not make
sense and I refuse to accept it, for two reasons:
1) is not a given or an immutable law of physics, it's the designers'
job to assess: if you really care for a specific font you serve it; if
you don't want to serve fonts, then design must adapt to availability
and not the opposite;
2) is again the designers' job, I have no idea how one assesses "easily
readable"* and I'd like us to banish personal opinions including
adjectives like "strange" or "ugly" from any and all design decision;**
moreover, if feedback had ever been desired on font choices, we would
have a document explaining what this mythical "style desired by the
designers" actually is, other than the superlunar ideal no human
MediaWiki commentator can sense and comment.

So again, I'm waiting for documentation. Whoever refrains from
publishing documentation, research, design documents etc. as soon as
they are produced prevents iterations and feedback from happening and
hence takes full personal responsibility of whatever outcome of the
process, begging to be personally blamed.

Nemo

(*) In my very biased and personal experience of a Latin alphabet
languages reader, "readable" equals "serif" so that I can tell I from l
etc., and DejaVu serif is the most beautiful font ever because it covers
so many characters.
(**) I'm really hearing them too often. They are suppressors of
discussion/rational discourse and polarise discussions unnecessarily.
Cf. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WP:IDONTLIKEIT>.

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Re: [Design] Should MediaWiki CSS prefer non-free fonts?

rupert THURNER-2
hi steven, ryan,

thank you so much for jumping in here. could you please elaborate a little
on and in a more structured way:

1. why a change is needed?
2. what are the problems with webfonts?
3. why "ubuntu" (or replace it with any other free font) is not good enough?
4. why there is no budget to solve it proper, is so many are concerned?
5. what are your design goals?
6. who are "the designers"?

references to some free fonts:
* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ubuntu_(typeface)
* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palatino (urw palladio l and descendants)
* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenDyslexic

best regards,

rupert



On Sun, Feb 16, 2014 at 11:07 AM, Federico Leva (Nemo)
<[hidden email]>wrote:

> Ryan Kaldari, 16/02/2014 06:54:
>
>  Now that I've blamed everyone except for myself, I would like to suggest
>> that we stop pointing fingers and get down to brass tacks.
>>
>
> Brad's email was a bit caustic but IMHO it wasn't pointing fingers, unlike
> yours (though you helpfully pointed fingers towards everyone). ;-)
>
>
>
>> My question for both the designers and the free font advocates is: Are
>> there any free fonts that are...
>> 1. widely installed (at least on Linux systems)
>> 2. easily readable and not distractingly ugly
>> 3. would not be mapped to by the existing stack anyway (i.e. are not
>> simply clones or substitutes for popular commercial fonts)
>>
>
> I'm sorry but this question to "the free font advocates" does not make
> sense and I refuse to accept it, for two reasons:
> 1) is not a given or an immutable law of physics, it's the designers' job
> to assess: if you really care for a specific font you serve it; if you
> don't want to serve fonts, then design must adapt to availability and not
> the opposite;
> 2) is again the designers' job, I have no idea how one assesses "easily
> readable"* and I'd like us to banish personal opinions including adjectives
> like "strange" or "ugly" from any and all design decision;** moreover, if
> feedback had ever been desired on font choices, we would have a document
> explaining what this mythical "style desired by the designers" actually is,
> other than the superlunar ideal no human MediaWiki commentator can sense
> and comment.
>
> So again, I'm waiting for documentation. Whoever refrains from publishing
> documentation, research, design documents etc. as soon as they are produced
> prevents iterations and feedback from happening and hence takes full
> personal responsibility of whatever outcome of the process, begging to be
> personally blamed.
>
> Nemo
>
> (*) In my very biased and personal experience of a Latin alphabet
> languages reader, "readable" equals "serif" so that I can tell I from l
> etc., and DejaVu serif is the most beautiful font ever because it covers so
> many characters.
> (**) I'm really hearing them too often. They are suppressors of
> discussion/rational discourse and polarise discussions unnecessarily. Cf. <
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WP:IDONTLIKEIT>.
>
>
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Re: [Design] Should MediaWiki CSS prefer non-free fonts?

K. Peachey-2
In reply to this post by Gerard Meijssen-3
On 16 February 2014 18:54, Gerard Meijssen <[hidden email]>wrote:

> ULS is a huge success in doing what it was intended to do. I am afraid that
> we have lost sight of what our primary objective is about.
> Thanks,
>       GerardM


TBH we probably lost most of that when everything was rolled into one
gigantic extensions, instead of separate tools that specialised in what
they were designed for.
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Re: [Design] Should MediaWiki CSS prefer non-free fonts?

Gerard Meijssen-3
Hoi,
That may seem like a reasonable argument however, the functionality that
ULS provides is related. What is the point of providing input methods when
changes are that you can not read what you are about to write. What is the
point when you cannot select the language you want to use this font, input
method for?

Before ULS, in the bad old times, There was a need for both the font and
the input method.. Really, we are much better off with the ULS.
Thanks,
      Gerard

PS honest mistake I take it.


On 16 February 2014 11:35, K. Peachey <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 16 February 2014 18:54, Gerard Meijssen <[hidden email]
> >wrote:
>
> > ULS is a huge success in doing what it was intended to do. I am afraid
> that
> > we have lost sight of what our primary objective is about.
> > Thanks,
> >       GerardM
>
>
> TBH we probably lost most of that when everything was rolled into one
> gigantic extensions, instead of separate tools that specialised in what
> they were designed for.
> _______________________________________________
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> [hidden email]
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>
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Re: [Design] Should MediaWiki CSS prefer non-free fonts?

Gabriel Wicke-3
In reply to this post by Ryan Kaldari-2
On 02/15/2014 09:54 PM, Ryan Kaldari wrote:
> Now that I've blamed everyone except for myself, I would like to suggest
> that we stop pointing fingers and get down to brass tacks.
>
> My question for both the designers and the free font advocates is: Are
> there any free fonts that are...
> 1. widely installed (at least on Linux systems)
> 2. easily readable and not distractingly ugly
> 3. would not be mapped to by the existing stack anyway (i.e. are not simply
> clones or substitutes for popular commercial fonts)


I have been very happy with the crisp rendering and screen-optimized
shape of DejaVu Sans selected as the default sans-serif font on Debian
Linux. At a given size it is about as readable as Verdana while looking
(to my eyes at least) more elegant.

DejaVu Sans has a fairly good unicode coverage by itself, and in my
limited experience fontconfig picks good other fonts for rare scripts. I
have not seen any tofu on Linux in a long time.

The rendering of the font refresh beta on my Linux box seems to be
Helvetica without subpixel rendering (blurry), which is a real
regression from the status quo.

I am not entirely sure that there is actually a problem to solve on an
average Linux desktop installation, but am willing to be convinced
otherwise with a documentation of the issues encountered.

Some of the limitations you are trying to address seem to be
platform-specific. Could we address those in a targeted way without
making things worse for other platforms?

Gabriel

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Re: Should MediaWiki CSS prefer non-free fonts?

Brad Jorsch (Anomie)
In reply to this post by Ryan Kaldari-2
On Sat, Feb 15, 2014 at 4:31 PM, Ryan Kaldari <[hidden email]>wrote:

> That's not quite accurate. The new font stack is based on feedback from
> Linux users who preferred that we take advantage of the font-mapping built
> into Linux rather than trying to guess arbitrary fonts that may or may not
> be installed on their machine.


And ignoring the feedback from users who would rather see free fonts
explicitly supported?


> "Helvetica", "Times", etc. are not non-free
> software, they are names of well-established (non-copyrighted) typefaces
>

Considering that typefaces aren't eligible for copyright in the US,[1]
that's not saying anything.

 [1]:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intellectual_property_protection_of_typefaces


> We're trying to balance the requirements of the designers


I've been seeing a trend lately where the "requirements of the designers"
is brought up a lot in response to complaints about proposed changes.
Explanations as to what exactly these requirements usually have to be
repeatedly requested, and reasons why these requirements should override
other requirements are seldom given.

The two exceptions to this are the tops of the stacks:
>

So it's "Whenever possible, you get these non-free fonts we like. Then we
throw in some supposedly-generic names used by prominent non-free fonts
with the platitude that they're often mapped to free fonts on Linux".


On Sun, Feb 16, 2014 at 12:07 AM, Ryan Kaldari <[hidden email]>wrote:

> The free font advocates have refused to identify the fonts that they
> want to be considered and why they should be considered other than the
> fact that they are free,


"the fact that they are free" specifically is what we want to be considered.

As for specific fonts, my knowledge of fonts extends to "serif",
"sans-serif", and "monospace".


> * DejaVu Serif. Conclusion: Widely installed, but horribly ugly


{{citation needed}}. Sounds like someone's peronsal opinion to me.

I just checked,[2] and it turns out DejaVu Sans is what I've been reading
Wikipedia in all these years. Seems far from "horribly ugly" to me. Nicer
than Arial used in Gmail where "I" and "l" look the same, or the font that
my system uses as a fallback for Helvetica ("TeX Gyre Heros").

 [2]: In Firefox: Tools → Web Developer → Inspector, then choose Fonts in
the box on the right.


> and looks nothing like the style desired by the designers.
>

And why is this an overriding concern? I could as well state the designers
should desire a different style.

* Nimbus Roman No9 L. Conclusion: Basically a clone of Times. Most Linux
> systems map Times to Nimbus Roman No9 L, so there is no advantage to
> specifying "Nimbus Roman No9 L" rather than "Times" (which also maps to
> fonts on Windows and Mac).
>

OTOH, there's no disadvantage to specifying Nimbus Roman No9 L with "Times"
as a fallback for Windows and Mac users.


> * Linux Libertine. Conclusion: A well-designed free font that matches the
> look of the Wikipedia wordmark. Unfortunately, it is not installed by
> default on any systems (as far as anyone knows)


Why does this matter? If Libertine is a good font, why not use it and fall
back to other choices for people who don't have it?


> * Liberation Sans. Conclusion: Essentially a free substitute for Arial.
> Like Nimbus Roman, there is no advantage to specifying "Liberation Sans"
> instead of "Arial" (which is at the bottom of the sans-serif stack) since
> Linux systems will map to Liberation Sans anyway, while other systems will
> apply Arial.
>

Again, there's no also disadvantage to specifying Liberation Sans with
"Arial" as a fallback for unfortunate users who only have non-free fonts
distributed with their OS.
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Re: Should MediaWiki CSS prefer non-free fonts?

Jon Robson
Brad since you work for the for the foundation and seem to have a lot of
expertise in this area and seem to have been one of the more vocal
supporters of free fonts have you reached out to your work colleagues over
video conferencing or similar to understand the problems being hit and
helped them work through them? Email doesn't seem to have been an effective
method of communication in this situation as you have pointed out. Maybe
you can help with documenting these issues and helping people like yourself
understand the problems and why this change was reverted?

Many people actually complained on the talk page about the rendering of
free fonts. Should we also ignore them?

On a side note software is never final. It is not like we are transitioning
from a free font to a non free font.

Just my 2 cents on this subject.
(written as a volunteer not a WMF employee)
On Sat, Feb 15, 2014 at 4:31 PM, Ryan Kaldari <[hidden email]>wrote:

> That's not quite accurate. The new font stack is based on feedback from
> Linux users who preferred that we take advantage of the font-mapping built
> into Linux rather than trying to guess arbitrary fonts that may or may not
> be installed on their machine.


And ignoring the feedback from users who would rather see free fonts
explicitly supported?


> "Helvetica", "Times", etc. are not non-free
> software, they are names of well-established (non-copyrighted) typefaces
>

Considering that typefaces aren't eligible for copyright in the US,[1]
that's not saying anything.

 [1]:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intellectual_property_protection_of_typefaces


> We're trying to balance the requirements of the designers


I've been seeing a trend lately where the "requirements of the designers"
is brought up a lot in response to complaints about proposed changes.
Explanations as to what exactly these requirements usually have to be
repeatedly requested, and reasons why these requirements should override
other requirements are seldom given.

The two exceptions to this are the tops of the stacks:
>

So it's "Whenever possible, you get these non-free fonts we like. Then we
throw in some supposedly-generic names used by prominent non-free fonts
with the platitude that they're often mapped to free fonts on Linux".


On Sun, Feb 16, 2014 at 12:07 AM, Ryan Kaldari <[hidden email]
>wrote:

> The free font advocates have refused to identify the fonts that they
> want to be considered and why they should be considered other than the
> fact that they are free,


"the fact that they are free" specifically is what we want to be considered.

As for specific fonts, my knowledge of fonts extends to "serif",
"sans-serif", and "monospace".


> * DejaVu Serif. Conclusion: Widely installed, but horribly ugly


{{citation needed}}. Sounds like someone's peronsal opinion to me.

I just checked,[2] and it turns out DejaVu Sans is what I've been reading
Wikipedia in all these years. Seems far from "horribly ugly" to me. Nicer
than Arial used in Gmail where "I" and "l" look the same, or the font that
my system uses as a fallback for Helvetica ("TeX Gyre Heros").

 [2]: In Firefox: Tools → Web Developer → Inspector, then choose Fonts in
the box on the right.


> and looks nothing like the style desired by the designers.
>

And why is this an overriding concern? I could as well state the designers
should desire a different style.

* Nimbus Roman No9 L. Conclusion: Basically a clone of Times. Most Linux
> systems map Times to Nimbus Roman No9 L, so there is no advantage to
> specifying "Nimbus Roman No9 L" rather than "Times" (which also maps to
> fonts on Windows and Mac).
>

OTOH, there's no disadvantage to specifying Nimbus Roman No9 L with "Times"
as a fallback for Windows and Mac users.


> * Linux Libertine. Conclusion: A well-designed free font that matches the
> look of the Wikipedia wordmark. Unfortunately, it is not installed by
> default on any systems (as far as anyone knows)


Why does this matter? If Libertine is a good font, why not use it and fall
back to other choices for people who don't have it?


> * Liberation Sans. Conclusion: Essentially a free substitute for Arial.
> Like Nimbus Roman, there is no advantage to specifying "Liberation Sans"
> instead of "Arial" (which is at the bottom of the sans-serif stack) since
> Linux systems will map to Liberation Sans anyway, while other systems will
> apply Arial.
>

Again, there's no also disadvantage to specifying Liberation Sans with
"Arial" as a fallback for unfortunate users who only have non-free fonts
distributed with their OS.
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Re: Should MediaWiki CSS prefer non-free fonts?

David Gerard-2
On 16 February 2014 18:04, Jon Robson <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On a side note software is never final. It is not like we are transitioning
> from a free font to a non free font.


There's been a serious camel's-nose effect of late, with Foundation
developers *really heavily* pushing non-free fonts, formats, etc.

Let's get to the deeper issue. What's up with this?


- d.

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Re: Should MediaWiki CSS prefer non-free fonts?

Brian Wolff
In reply to this post by Jon Robson
On Feb 16, 2014 2:04 PM, "Jon Robson" <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Brad since you work for the for the foundation and seem to have a lot of
> expertise in this area and seem to have been one of the more vocal
> supporters of free fonts have you reached out to your work colleagues over
> video conferencing or similar to understand the problems being hit and
> helped them work through them? Email doesn't seem to have been an
effective
> method of communication in this situation as you have pointed out. Maybe
> you can help with documenting these issues and helping people like
yourself
> understand the problems and why this change was reverted?
>

I've seen setiment like this (discuss in person, in hangout, or otherwise
privately) pop up recently (e.g on [1]). I think attitudes like that are a
real problem. Supposedly we are an open community. People should be
entirely prepared to explain their reasoning for doing anything on a public
mailing list no matter if the request comes from a wmf staffer like Brad,
or if it comes from somebody you have never heard of before. In fact i
would argue that the criteria and results of evaluations should be public
on the wiki from the get go, without anyone even asking for it.

[1] https://bugzilla.wikimedia.org/show_bug.cgi?id=57659
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Re: Should MediaWiki CSS prefer non-free fonts?

Steven Walling
On Sun, Feb 16, 2014 at 2:00 PM, Brian Wolff <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I've seen setiment like this (discuss in person, in hangout, or otherwise
> privately) pop up recently (e.g on [1]). I think attitudes like that are a
> real problem. Supposedly we are an open community. People should be
> entirely prepared to explain their reasoning for doing anything on a public
> mailing list no matter if the request comes from a wmf staffer like Brad,
> or if it comes from somebody you have never heard of before. In fact i
> would argue that the criteria and results of evaluations should be public
> on the wiki from the get go, without anyone even asking for it.
>

I would like to ask if people want to discuss side issues like whether to
use a mailing list or not, or David's suspicions about a growing trend of
preferring non-free software :P, or ULS history, you start a new thread and
not hijack this one. This conversation is heated and complex enough.
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Re: Should MediaWiki CSS prefer non-free fonts?

David Gerard-2
On 16 February 2014 22:28, Steven Walling <[hidden email]> wrote:

> or David's suspicions about a growing trend of
> preferring non-free software :P


No, I'm not in fact joking.


- d.

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Re: Should MediaWiki CSS prefer non-free fonts?

David Gerard-2
On 16 February 2014 23:16, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:
> On 16 February 2014 22:28, Steven Walling <[hidden email]> wrote:

>> or David's suspicions about a growing trend of
>> preferring non-free software :P

> No, I'm not in fact joking.


I'm not sure it's so much "preferring" as "not giving a damn", so
please don't put words in my mouth.


- d.

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Communication of decisions (was Re: Should MediaWiki CSS prefer non-free fonts?)

Greg Grossmeier-2
In reply to this post by Brian Wolff
<quote name="Brian Wolff" date="2014-02-16" time="18:00:29 -0400">

> On Feb 16, 2014 2:04 PM, "Jon Robson" <[hidden email]> wrote:
> >
> > Brad since you work for the for the foundation and seem to have a lot of
> > expertise in this area and seem to have been one of the more vocal
> > supporters of free fonts have you reached out to your work colleagues over
> > video conferencing or similar to understand the problems being hit and
> > helped them work through them? Email doesn't seem to have been an
> effective
> > method of communication in this situation as you have pointed out. Maybe
> > you can help with documenting these issues and helping people like
> yourself
> > understand the problems and why this change was reverted?
> >
>
> I've seen setiment like this (discuss in person, in hangout, or otherwise
> privately) pop up recently (e.g on [1]). I think attitudes like that are a
> real problem. Supposedly we are an open community. People should be
> entirely prepared to explain their reasoning for doing anything on a public
> mailing list no matter if the request comes from a wmf staffer like Brad,
> or if it comes from somebody you have never heard of before. In fact i
> would argue that the criteria and results of evaluations should be public
> on the wiki from the get go, without anyone even asking for it.

See also: The general rule among many engineering departments at WMF is
"If it didn't happen on the list (or somewhere similarly public and
indexable) it didn't happen."

The team I most recently heard champion that rule was the Mobile Team.

Greg

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