Discussion of features in Mozilla Firefox
On Windows, all current Web browsers - that is to say, Firefox 1.5, Internet Explorer 6.0 and 7.0, Netscape Browser 8.0, and Opera 9.0 - support Embedded OpenType (.eot) fonts which allow you to display custom fonts on any Website. On the Mac, however, Firefox does _not_ support .eot fonts. I wonder why this important feature is not implemented in the Mac version of Firefox.
Are there any plug-ins for the Mac version of Firefox which add this functionality? Are there any known plans to implement .eot fonts support in Firefox for Mac OS X?
Firefox and Netscape have never supported Embedded OpenType. if they did, this would be available on the Mac.
There's nobody currently working on it. There's no font embedding solution which works in Firefox, on any platform.
I am puzzled by your message stating that Firefox and Netscape never supported Embedded OpenType fonts. In fact, Firefox versions 1.0 and 1.5 for Windows display Embedded OpenType (.eot) fonts correctly. The same is true for the Windows version of Netscape Browser 8.0. I know because I run a Web site which makes heavy use of a custom .eot font. Point your Web browser at http://abbreviationes.net/ and have a look at the demos.
Unfortunately, the Mac versions of these Web browsers do not support .eot fonts. Hence my inquiry.
I see nothing labeled "demos" on this page. Please give a direct link.
I can assure you that none of Mozilla, Firefox or Netscape 6+ (using the Gecko backend) support Embedded OpenType on any platform (Netscape 8 supports eot only when using the Internet Explorer renderer). I've been doing Mozilla support for several years now and have a site which uses eot myself. If you're seeing embedded fonts it means they're installed on your machine as well.
Thank you for the additional information. Maybe my Windows XP machine has tricked me into believing that Firefox supports eot fonts. I will run some tests shortly. However, it seems that I need to use GlyphGate which promises to be a font embedding technology for all current Web browsers, including Firefox. For details, have a look at http://www.glyphgate.com/. Thanks again for your help.
Of course. You have the font installed on your computer. But anyone else who doesn't have the font installed won't see it. Have you tested with any computers other than your own?
You "need" to? You don't "need" special fonts - if the font is your message, then your content sucks (unless you're running a "font" website, in which case you should be using images to show the rendered fonts). And this Glyphgate is a really poor solution for usability:
OK, so they do a browser sniff and send images instead of text? Forgetting the server load it'll generate, have you considered the usability and accessibility implications of this? This is a really, really bad idea.
Anyone who tells you that layout will be "identical" is either blowing smoke or doesn't understand web pages.
Thank you for your comments. I am not in a position to judge how good or bad GlyphGate actually is in everyday use. But GlyphGate seems to be the _only_ solution for Web browsers such as Firefox that do not support Embedded OpenType fonts. I would be more than happy if the Firefox community would come up with an open source Web font solution.
Sure you are. You need to judge whether it's appropriate for your site to use in the first place.
But why does your site require that I see a particular font in the first place? What do you do about browsers that do support EOT, but the user has disabled them via a user stylesheet (and IE has been able to do this for at least 6 years)? GlyphGate won't know that this override has happened, and the user still won't see your special font even though their browser supports it.
Again, unless the font is the message (which in 99.9999% of cases, it's not), I have a hard time buying arguments of "users must see my site with the font I specify."
Thank you for the additional information concerning Embedded OpenType compliant Web browsers.
As far as your question is concerned, I do not require a custom font for typographical reasons. I am dealing with medieval Latin abbreviations, which contain many glyphs that are not (yet) covered by Unicode. The Medieval Unicode Font Initiative (http://gandalf.aksis.uib.no/mufi/) has proposed a well defined inventory of medieval characters to the Unicode standard. But even if these characters will become part of the Unicode standard sometime in the future, Unicode will not cover all glyphs which you come across in medieval manuscripts (and early pre-1500 prints).
Then I think you're best off using images in the first place, for all browsers, for these manuscripts. You'll be better off there than hoping for the spotty support for anything else.
EOT support in FF is probably not going to happen. It is a Microsoft technology, implemented back in IE4, and it has some security holes in it I think (the fonts can be stolen somehow? I'm no expert. Just writing what I've read). This feature has been asked for more than a few times though. I found 4 bugs on it at least, all with dozens of dupes filed inside them (please don't post comments in these bugs unless you're prepared to write the code to fix them):
So people have been asking for this feature since July of 2000, and it still hasn't been implemented. Conclusion: It's probably not going to be done anytime soon. If you really really want it you're going to have to write your own code, or find a plugin that allows EOT to be shown in Gecko.
Using pictures of manuscripts (if this is what you mean) is a bad idea for three reasons: (1) Ordering microfilms of manuscripts is costly and time-consuming. (2) The libraries own the copyright and must give their permission for every single picture, strictly speaking. (3) Sending pictures across the network consumes a lot of bandwidth.
Hence, it seems to be a much better idea to use a custom Web font with all the required glyphs. Too bad that there is no open source alternative to (or implementation of) Embedded OpenType (.eot) fonts.
Too bad. I would love to see an open source alternative to (or implementation of) Embedded OpenType (.eot) fonts. Unfortunately, I am not in a position to write my own Firefox plugin.
There is an opensource alternative. Its TrueDoc. They've even offered the sourcecode up for free. Someone just has to implement it and convince the Moz foundation that its worth the extra weight in Gecko. Your other alternatives are using pics or SVG I think.
There might be a way to check if a user has a font installed, and then put up an error message with a link if they don't. MathML does something like that, but I'm not sure how. You could also just put a link to a working font on your website, right?
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