[MPEG-OTSPEC] near-term OT spec work

Levantovsky, Vladimir Vladimir.Levantovsky at monotype.com
Mon Oct 5 04:05:36 CEST 2020

On Saturday, October 3, 2020 4:55 AM Caleb Maclennan wrote:

On Sat, Oct 3, 2020 at 1:23 AM MURATA Makoto <eb2m-mrt at asahi-net.or.jp<mailto:eb2m-mrt at asahi-net.or.jp>> wrote:
> I think that synchronization with OT should not be mentioned in
> this AHG.

Why not? It seems quite relevant to me. Even if I don't *like* the
current process and the black-box stages it involves, the current
defacto way the MOFF (MPEG Open Font Format) spec actually gets
updated is through tracking changes to MSOT (Microsoft OpenType).
They are still (rightfully) in a position to do whatever they want
with their own spec for internal use and pragmatically speaking the
most effective way we have to get things fixed in OFF is by appealing
to M$ as a benevolant dictator that can actually change their own
spec and pretty significant weight to get their changes rubber
stamped into OFF (since keeping them in sync is kind of the deal).

I think it’s universally true that anyone who is a major implementer of the OFF/OpenType spec is also in a position to innovate and “do whatever they want”, which includes doing something new as a proof of concept, before one is in position to make a proposal for spec amendment to be considered. However, saying that the de-facto way the OFF spec actually gets updated is through tracking changes to MSOT is inaccurate – for many years this has been a two-way street. Many times, a proposal was brought to the AHG list that ended up being incorporated in both specs, or made its way into OFF and then to OT. I don’t need to dig deep to find examples – these recent issues filed in the MSOT GitHub repo speak about changes being part of the last OFF amendment published in January 2020:

However bad this state of affairs is and however silly it is for M$
to try to keep their cake and eat it too — as long as this is the
state of things I'd much rather hear about work they are doing
internally on their MSOT spec through this AHG than have the topic
be made off limits. The inevitable result of that would be for the
entire end-to-end process to happen in closed groups that many in
the industry don't have access to even audit!

I believe that the spec progress is inconceivable without work first being done internally – this is where new proposals come from (COLRv1 is a good example, and the most recent). Folks don’t come here simply because they woke up one day with a great idea, they internalize it first. And yes, anyone who comes here with a proposal that is rooted in the work done internally makes a valuable contribution to this joint effort and potentially benefits from having their ideas reviewed in discussed by this community of experts.

Now, I do agree that having two different specs describing the same technology isn’t ideal and may be confusing, especially because they use two different names due to trademark. However, there is also a pragmatic convenience to it – having one spec publicly available online is a convenience that ISO OFF simply doesn’t offer – it’s publicly available, but only as a massive PDF file. For as long as we have a clear understanding that our goal is to keep these two in sync [which has been the case until now, even if this sync mechanism is rather elastic] – I agree that we should continue this effort and that this discussion should not be off limits in this AHG.


In short it seems very relevant to me for the sync process from
MSOT→OFF to be mentioned in this AHG list. Even if some of the
steps are still off limits to plebians, the fact that some of the
steps are closed doesn't seem like a good reason to close off all
of the process.

Why do you think the OT→OFF synchronization that is both currently
and historically a significant part of what the OFF is should be
off limits for disccussion in this AHG?

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