[K12OSN] OT: universal font for HTML

James P. Kinney III jkinney at localnetsolutions.com
Wed Jul 25 13:27:53 UTC 2007

For reasons of general insanity you can't do what you are trying to do.

Here's why: every machine has a different font list. Unless you _know_
that Uncle Fred hasn't tinkered with his windows box and dumped a font
(or been hit with a virus that renames them) each iteration of windows
has slightly different fonts. (I've seen things change with a security
patch update on that train-wreck of an OS).

Windows has font list "A", Mac has "B" and Linux has "C" and Solaris...

Because of the licensing issues with fonts, insanity reigns supreme.

So what do you do?

If it MUST look consistent across all platforms you must use an image.

Hmm. But that won't work as a vcard extension doesn't support graphics.

So the last option is to lower the standards a tad and accept the
inevitable that it's the CONTENT of the text that matters. If you use a
generic font style like SAN-SERIF and set the size at 10pt the end user
will always see the system default SANS-SERIF font at 10pt.

Unless they have set their system set to only use their defined fonts in
which case there is nothing you can do! I once saw a secretary who had
set her pc to use a weird semi-script, semi-scrawled font. She loved it.
I could barely read it. When the first web page came in that forced a
font that was different, I got the support call to come fix the fonts on
the browser.

So the final short answer is this: if identical appearance is a
requirement across multiple versions of multiple platforms, HTML is not
the format to use. PDF is the correct format as it support embedding the
fonts for absolute layout perfection. Until there is a freely available
font source on the web that can be referenced for accessing a web-page
designated font, there will be no way for HTML to be look and feel
consistent across multiple versions of multiple platforms. So just make
it look acceptable across your test platforms and that's the best you
can do.

On Wed, 2007-07-25 at 08:59 -0400, Rob Owens wrote:
> I don't know who else to ask, so I'm asking you guys...
> I'm trying to create an HTML email signature for my company (their idea,
> not mine).  I've been struggling to pick a font that looks good on
> all/most computer systems.  So far anything I've tried looks
> significantly different on my 3 test systems:  Windows XP, K12LTSP 5.0EL
> w/ the font forge package, and Xubuntu 6.10.
> Any suggestions?  I'm using Nvu to edit the HTML, and I am by no means
> an expert.
> -Rob
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James P. Kinney III          
CEO & Director of Engineering 
Local Net Solutions,LLC        

GPG ID: 829C6CA7 James P. Kinney III (M.S. Physics)
<jkinney at localnetsolutions.com>
Fingerprint = 3C9E 6366 54FC A3FE BA4D 0659 6190 ADC3 829C 6CA7
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