Universal themes: a proposal
Liam R E Quin
liam at holoweb.net
Sat Apr 10 10:54:50 PDT 2010
On Sat, 2010-04-10 at 17:15 +0200, François Revol wrote:
> Again, it makes sense for OSes that do have centralized package
What you need is font configuration, not package management.
Try running fc-list on your system.
If you go including fonts in themes, you'll find there aren't
all that many worthwhile fonts that allow it, and most of those
have only the old Adobe Basic Latin glyph complement.
Probably what you need to specify is a place where applications should
look for fonts - e.g. ~/.fonts - and a way to include a set of fonts
(a single font for all of Unicode is technically possible, but runs
into difficulties when you intermix e.g. Korean and Chinese, where the
same Unicode character (code-point) must map into different font/glyphc
choices depending on languages). Then a "universal theme installer"
could check to see if you already had the font, for example, on the
system. Fonts are often 50 megabytes or more even for one language,
and a theme that deserved the name "universal" would obviously not
be just for one language or language group.
A standard mechanism to identify when two fonts are "the same" is
needed here, not only based on font name and glyph coverage.
> Remember we are talking about Themes, which are supposed to be applied
> to the whole desktop itself (mostly)
I'm not sure why you're so worried about people running a themable
desktop on systems without package management. This is 2010. Yes,
sure, there are a few hobbyists building their own distributions, but
they'll enjoy the work of making themes work! Maybe i'm just grumpy
before morning coffee, but it seems to me that supporting all _people_
(including crazy people) is far more important than supporting all
possible crazy operating systems! Maybe i'm just grumpy before
morning coffee :-)
Let's all work together to make desktops that work on systems that
have known properties, though, before worrying about SunOS 4.1 or
OS/360, or embedded Linux. It's true that the "Macintosh Way" is
closer to having each application include its own fonts, as is
the "Windows Way" - but I don't think those systems have desktops
that adhere to XDG specs by default.
> (I hate skinned apps cause the
> break GUI consistency, but desktop themes are not the same).
But isn't that a matter of personal preference?
I like to use a different typeface when I'm writing than when I'm
browsing the Web, for example.
While you're about it, shouldn't there be support for background
music (mp3, ogg) and full-screen video files? Such things are not
currently part of desktop themes in most environments, although
sound clips are. This raises the question of wanting to install
only certain components of a theme, or of a theme downloader that
lets you choose components.
By the way, Microsoft did not invent @font-face -- it's part of CSS.
They just made the first Web browser to support it. They did, however,
use a proprietary font format, exactly because their customers wanted
to use fonts on the Web that can't just be copied or given away.
There's now a W3C Working Group for agreeing on an open font format that
can be used by all browsers (probably based on "woff"), and it's very
likely that any work done on fonts in themes should take this into
account. The idea of using a wrapper format around a font is that people
can't just download a font from someone's Web server and use it on their
desktop without converting it, so that they get a chance to see the
There's also work on encouraging the creation of fonts that can be
shared freely - see www.openfontlibrary.org for example, and
www.libregraphicsmeeting.org - and although that work is progressing
fairly slowly, it is moving forward.
Liam Quin - XML Activity Lead, W3C, http://www.w3.org/People/Quin/
Pictures from old books: http://fromoldbooks.org/
Ankh: irc.sorcery.net irc.gnome.org www.advogato.org
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