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151 comments

Uhhh well, shit. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41497317)

Never thought I had dyslexia, never imagined I had problems reading, but holy crap reading a page in anti-dyslexia fonts like this one http://www.pixelscript.net/gilldyslexic/ is like all the words leap off the page making sudden sense in an instant.

*random expression of surprise at finding something new at age 44*

Re:Uhhh well, shit. (4, Interesting)

alvinrod (889928) | about 2 years ago | (#41497337)

Interesting. I think that this font also makes it easier for me to read more quickly, but I wouldn't consider myself dyslexic as I've never felt as though I've had difficulties reading almost any font and read quite frequently. Maybe I'm just thinking that I can read that font more quickly, but for some reason it does seem easier to read. Perhaps it's something that's true for people in general. I'd be curious to see if there have been any studies to determine if this font also improves reading speed for people who haven't been diagnosed or probably wouldn't be diagnosed as dyslexic. All that aside, stuff like this is really awesome. Even though a lot of people like to say or think that the world is going to shit, it's also getting better in a lot of ways for a lot of people.

Re:Uhhh well, shit. (3, Insightful)

Dins (2538550) | about 2 years ago | (#41497509)

Actually, it seems to be a little harder to read than normal for me. I've never thought I had dyslexia, though.

Uhhh well a different view... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41497885)

Who out there think that the whole dislexia thing is an excuse? Sort of like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Re:Uhhh well a different view... (5, Informative)

VVrath (542962) | about 2 years ago | (#41497937)

Probably replying to a troll, but anyway:

As a teacher, I can tell you that dyslexia is definitely not "an excuse". A pupil with dyslexia has been a member of my tutor group for the last four years. He struggles with reading, although use of a reading ruler [thedyslexiashop.co.uk] is of tremendous help. His handwriting is difficult to decipher, and contains many mirrored letters (e.g. b/d, p/q, backwards s). However that difficulty aside he is one of the most intelligent and articulate 16-year-old's I have had the pleasure of teaching.

Re:Uhhh well a different view... (-1, Troll)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#41498379)

However that difficulty aside he is one of the most intelligent and articulate 16-year-old's I have had the pleasure of teaching.

I sure hope you're not in charge of teaching him English.

Re:Uhhh well a different view... (4, Insightful)

flimflammer (956759) | about 2 years ago | (#41498405)

I've always wondered why people feel the need to post shit like this. It's as though suggesting you have anything to do with teaching forces a bunch of random pricks to analyze every character you write, desperately looking for any grammatical mistakes just so they can point out "herp derp hope you don't teach English!"

We're not in class, and your response is old and tired.

Re:Uhhh well a different view... (-1, Flamebait)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#41498451)

It's as though suggesting you have anything to do with teaching forces a bunch of random pricks to analyze every character you write, desperately looking for any grammatical mistakes just so they can point out "herp derp hope you don't teach English!"

It only seems that way if you make a lot of very stupid assumptions. One is that I'm the only one who's looking at this comment; there are many eyes. Another is that I'm just waiting for an opportunity like this, but the truth is that I am simply appalled by the poor grammar skills exhibited by people who really ought to do better.

We're not in class, and your response is old and tired.

So is seeing people who are teaching our children fail to understand how the apostrophe works.

Re:Uhhh well a different view... (4, Insightful)

VVrath (542962) | about 2 years ago | (#41499179)

I am not an English teacher, although of course all teachers have a responsibility for incorporating literacy into their lessons. Strangely enough, I take far more care over my lessons than I do with Slashdot comments.

Just in case you ever do consider teaching as a career, can I recommend that you look to improve your method of giving feedback? A snarky comment is humorous, but does not maximise the potential for learning. It would be much better to write something along the lines of:

"That was a good post, and expressed your point clearly. However, you have missed a comma and used an apostrophe unnecessarily in your final sentence. Please re-write the sentence with the grammar corrected below."

This sort of formative assessment rewards the learner (with praise) for their achievement as well as providing guidance on how to improve in the future.

Re:Uhhh well a different view... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41499247)

Probably replying to a troll, but anyway:

As a teacher, I can tell you that dyslexia is definitely not "an excuse". A pupil with dyslexia has been a member of my tutor group for the last four years. He struggles with reading, although use of a reading ruler [thedyslexiashop.co.uk] is of tremendous help. His handwriting is difficult to decipher, and contains many mirrored letters (e.g. b/d, p/q, backwards s). However that difficulty aside he is one of the most intelligent and articulate 16-year-old's I have had the pleasure of teaching.

I wonder if dyslexia is like ADHD -- *everyone* has a little bit of it, and officially "having it" merely means that one has it beyond a clinically significant level.
Kinda like being a few pounds heavier than one would wish but still within the "normal" range versus not, or a blood pressure a bit high versus one that they need to treat because it is "too" high. If true, something that helps dyslexia helps everyone to some extent.

As to the 16-year old and handwriting, there is no rule that he can't co-mingle capitol and lower-case letters, and hence the "obnoxious foursome" -- p,q, d, b -- can all be written as capitols (P, Q, D, B) where none of them look alike. Then when you add in "A" & "O" you have eliminated six letters that are damn near identical if you are dyslexic -- "p, q, d, b, a, o" -- and this font doesn't even make a "Palmer script" "a" -- which says something too.

Re:Uhhh well a different view... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41498267)

Accusing people of making excuses is just an excuse.

Re:Uhhh well a different view... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41498319)

Who out there think that the whole dislexia thing is an excuse? Sort of like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

You forgot to sign your post:

Sincerely,

Mitt Romney

Re:Uhhh well a different view... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41498619)

You forgot to sign your post. "I. M. a stupid brainwashed liberal moron".

Re:Uhhh well a different view... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41498711)

You forgot to sign your post, "I. M. a butthurt Romney supporter with no sense of humor. Boo Hoo! Pity me!"

Re:Uhhh well a different view... (1)

tsa (15680) | about 2 years ago | (#41498399)

I often have the impression that people who don't spell well use dyslexia as an excuse. I am very much aware that dyslexia is a real thing and a big burden to many people, but I have seen too many university students who just are too lazy to check their spelling and then use the dyslexia excuse. So I think you have a point here, Anonymus Cow person. Having a hard time reading and spelling or being too lazy to invest time and effort into that does not make you dyslectic per se.

Re:Uhhh well a different view... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41498407)

Who out there think that the whole dislexia thing is an excuse?

Well it's a bit obvious that you personally are just using it as an excuse.
But the fact that dumb people make dumb excuses for their dumb actions doesn't in any way mean the conditions dumb people claim to have do not actually exist.

I once met a person who claimed he could never add numbers, that 1+1 is in fact 3 and a bunch of other such statements. He blamed it on heart burn. Yes Heartburn!

Just because it is painfully obvious that heart burn was not in any way related to his (many) problems, does not mean heart burn does not exist.

Re:Uhhh well a different view... (1)

Snaller (147050) | about 2 years ago | (#41498635)

Go stand in the corner with The Earth is Flat society, and global warming deniers.

Re:Uhhh well, shit. (1)

StripedCow (776465) | about 2 years ago | (#41497815)

It would also be interesting to study if certain letter-combinations can be optimised (e.g., specialized ligatures). Or perhaps optimizations at the word-level.

Re:Uhhh well, shit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41499213)

Recently a study somewhere suggested that "grotesk" fonts took 10% longer to read than humanist ones.

I may not be accurately citing the study but, it goes along the lines as this dyslexic font that less symmetrical fonts are easier to read.

Re:Uhhh well, shit. (5, Interesting)

DigMarx (1487459) | about 2 years ago | (#41497353)

I tend to read by seeing an entire line at a time. The page you referenced sort of forced me to read left to right, parsing as I go. I'm not dyslexic either, but I can see how the font may help people by encouraging a "normal" cadence.

Re:Uhhh well, shit. (4, Funny)

dgatwood (11270) | about 2 years ago | (#41497443)

The last time I saw a web page with a narrow enough column width that I could read a line at a time was... well, do you remember Netscape Mosaic?

Re:Uhhh well, shit. (0)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#41498383)

The last time I saw a web page with a narrow enough column width that I could read a line at a time was... well, do you remember Netscape Mosaic?

Hold the control key, and press plus or roll the mouse wheel upwards. HTH, HAND...

I learned to speed-read with a speed-reading machine in elementary school. I apparently automatically focus on a few words at a time, but not a whole line.

Re:Uhhh well, shit. (1)

yotto (590067) | about 2 years ago | (#41498473)

Check out http://readability.com/ [readability.com]

It's made the web readable again for me.

Re:Uhhh well, shit. (4, Informative)

ballpoint (192660) | about 2 years ago | (#41497503)

Eulexics prefer simple and clean sans-serifs over the spectrum from serifs to ornamental. This font distracts by its irregular features (especially noticeable in g and p).

The same applies on a larger scale where eulexics prefer undecorated text over the highlighted, underscored, colored and fontful, and a white sheet over magazine style.

Apparently dyslexics need variety, while eulexics prefer uniformity. Interesting.

Re:Uhhh well, shit. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41497635)

Yeah, that font actually slowed me down. Maybe it helps on average, with a bigger sample on the side of dyslexic

Re:Uhhh well, shit. (2)

korgitser (1809018) | about 2 years ago | (#41497927)

Can you give me a link or something on eulexia? Googling it does not seem to give results. But I have been feeling like a white crow because of my dislike of serifs...

Re:Uhhh well, shit. (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about 2 years ago | (#41499021)

You are not alone.

Down with serifs!

Re:Uhhh well, shit. (1)

tomhath (637240) | about 2 years ago | (#41498447)

I found the same thing, had to read each word one at a time instead of scanning the line. I suspect part of the reason is because the font size is so big, I tried making it smaller but that made the letters blend together. Hopefully this will help some people but I'll stick to regular sans serif fonts for now.

It's Groovy, Man (1)

istartedi (132515) | about 2 years ago | (#41499227)

This font makes me wonder if some of the Sixties and Seventies [microsoft.com] poster designers were dyslexic.

Maybe it's just the vocabulary... (3, Insightful)

Sanians (2738917) | about 2 years ago | (#41497637)

I notice that when I find myself having a difficult time reading, it's because I'm reading text written by some idiot who likes to use every uncommon word in his vocabulary as often as possible. I imagine that what is going on is that one part of my brain is just scanning my eyes across the text, snapping little photos under the high-res portion of my retina, then passing them along to the next stage in the pipeline. With common language, that next stage can largely guess what a lot of things are, and so it works with lower quality data which allows me to read faster. Then suddenly I start reading text from an author who likes to use uncommon words and that stage of the pipeline suddenly needs more data. Usually when you read, you don't look at the letters, you just recognize the whole words, sometimes even just the shapes of the words. ...but when you encounter new words you don't see often, those letters aren't in the cache, and you have to back up and examine the letters more closely. ...and if it's a word you've never seen before, you'll need to look even closer if you want to guess how to pronounce it, or you just do as I tend to do and commit the word shape to your memory and surprise yourself six months later when someone uses it in conversation and you find that the smudge of sounds you've been using for that word in your mind as you read aren't even remotely similar to the actual pronunciation. So I wouldn't be so sure it's the font that is allowing you to read more easily. It might just be that he didn't include any text on the page written by some overeducated jackass.

Re:Maybe it's just the vocabulary... (4, Funny)

commlinx (1068272) | about 2 years ago | (#41497673)

Interesting, I often find the same reading things not succinct and broken into paragraphs.

I typed newlines... (1)

Sanians (2738917) | about 2 years ago | (#41497823)

I typed newlines, but apparently Slashdot decided to eat them. I thought it was just a bug with the preview as I've seen it do that before, with the newlines showing up in the final post, but apparently I no longer have any choice but to use <br> tags if I want newlines.

Re:I typed newlines... (1)

jafiwam (310805) | about 2 years ago | (#41498107)

It's your settings.

If you have "post in HTML" (or something like that) enabled, you have to put a paragraph in front of each paragraph to get a new line. Line breaks work too.

As often as I use P r e and boldface or whatever here, I should set mine back... but I code HTML a lot for work so banging out yet another paragraph tag is fast and I don't have to think about it.

Re:Uhhh well, shit. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41497751)

Well, I'm going to make sure that my support group DAM (Mothers Against Dyslexia) hears about this.

Re:Uhhh well, shit. (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 2 years ago | (#41497789)

Never thought I had dyslexia, never imagined I had problems reading, but holy crap reading a page in anti-dyslexia fonts like this one http://www.pixelscript.net/gilldyslexic/ [pixelscript.net] is like all the words leap off the page making sudden sense in an instant.

I wonder how much simply the font weight (line thickness) affects here. For example, on Windows, try how much the "semi-bold" variant (included in the font) of Segoe UI makes it nicer to read.

Re:Uhhh well, shit. (1)

excelsior_gr (969383) | about 2 years ago | (#41497827)

The letters seem to be somewhere between a true serif and a sans serif font and the typesetter took it easy on the kerning too. I also find it amazingly easy to read, especially because it takes the "straightness" (I don't really know how to describe this) away from most of the letters, especially noticeable in the lowercase "i" and the "l". I have the feeling I can use less brain cycles on deciphering the lettering and I can focus more on the meaning. It looks ugly, and I wouldn't use it for a billboard or anything, but text passages are written to bring a message through and this font seems to be very good at that.

Re:Uhhh well, shit. (1)

chrismcb (983081) | about 2 years ago | (#41497963)

It is interesting, because when I read TFA (I assume in the font in question) it was VERY difficult to read. Gill was better, but the words just didn't come flying off the page. It is too bad, because it would be nice to have a good font that works for everyone.

Re:Uhhh well, shit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41498569)

I can definitely say I don't have dyslexia after reading that link. My eyes are still hurting from it.

Re:Uhhh well, shit. (2)

msauve (701917) | about 2 years ago | (#41498571)

Dyslexics of the World, Untie!

Re:Uhhh well, shit. (1)

Snaller (147050) | about 2 years ago | (#41498617)

Plus, you designed the font, eh? ;)

Re:Uhhh well, shit. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41498631)

Never thought I had dyslexia, never imagined I had problems reading, but holy crap reading a page in anti-dyslexia fonts like this one http://www.pixelscript.net/gilldyslexic/ is like all the words leap off the page making sudden sense in an instant.

*random expression of surprise at finding something new at age 44*

Never thought I had dyslexia, never imagined I had problems reading, but holy crap reading a page in anti-dyslexia fonts like this one http://www.pixelscript.net/gilldyslexic/ is like all the words leap off the page making sudden sense in an instant.

*random expression of surprise at finding something new at age 44*

Never thought I had dyslexia, never imagined I had problems reading, but holy crap reading a page in anti-dyslexia fonts like this one http://www.pixelscript.net/gilldyslexic/ is like all the words leap off the page making sudden sense in an instant.

*random expression of surprise at finding something new at age 44*

You don't need to pay ten bucks, there is a free, open version: http://dyslexicfonts.com/

Re:Uhhh well, shit. (2)

7-Vodka (195504) | about 2 years ago | (#41499633)

The FREE ONE [dyslexicfonts.com] that is the subject of the article is EVEN BETTER. I love it.

Wohoo! (2, Funny)

kh31d4r (2591021) | about 2 years ago | (#41497349)

No more comic sans? Please?

Re:Wohoo! (2)

_KiTA_ (241027) | about 2 years ago | (#41497373)

No more comic sans? Please?

Having said this, you'll be pleased to note that yes, there is a Comic Sans Dyslexic version, with the same "weighting" as Gill Dyslexic adds to Gill.

Internet Rule 135 -- Any sufficiently bad idea provided as an example of what not to do will be done by someone, if only to say someone did it.
Internet Rule 135, Corollary A -- This goes doubly true for MMORPG players.

Re:Wohoo! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41497859)

Comic sans is one of the best fonts to use for people learning English.

I'm not really sure why you're bitching about it, it's just a damned font.

Re:Wohoo! (2)

yotto (590067) | about 2 years ago | (#41498495)

I actually like the font, myself. The problem most people (myself included) have with it is that EVERYBODY* used it for about 3 years when setting up their first webpage.

That, animated gifs, and black backgrounds are completely ruined forever in many people's minds.

And auto-playing music, but that's inherently wrong** while the others are - in theory - possible to do correctly.

*Not actually everybody.
**I never speak in absolutes***, but auto-playing music the first time you visit a page is wrong. Always.
***oops!

Well, it doesn't work... (4, Interesting)

Gordonjcp (186804) | about 2 years ago | (#41497359)

I'm pretty severely dyslexic, and I just plain cannot read his website in that font. The weird shading from top to bottom makes it look like it's been printed on a daisywheel with the platen out of alignment.

It's so hard to read I had to turn off the stylesheet to make my way through the page.

Re:Well, it doesn't work... (-1, Troll)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 2 years ago | (#41497473)

What a shame the guy never thought to test it on any dyslexics, instead of making up a load of random shit about how he thought his font would work. I mean, that must be what happened, since you're dyslexic and you've declared that it doesn't work. And all dyslexics must all be the same, since you didn't just say "it doesn't work for me."

Re:Well, it doesn't work... (4, Insightful)

dreamchaser (49529) | about 2 years ago | (#41497803)

What a shame the guy never thought to test it on any dyslexics, instead of making up a load of random shit about how he thought his font would work. I mean, that must be what happened, since you're dyslexic and you've declared that it doesn't work. And all dyslexics must all be the same, since you didn't just say "it doesn't work for me."

He more or less did say "it didn't work for me", so I fail to see why you'd treat him with sarcasm.

Re:Well, it doesn't work... (1)

WGFCrafty (1062506) | about 2 years ago | (#41498287)

Here here.

Re:Well, it doesn't work... (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 2 years ago | (#41498327)

It would be interesting to see results of blind testing of hundreds of dyslexics vs. control group, with that font and a normal one.

Re:Well, it doesn't work... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41498665)

Blind dyslexics will produce very interesting results.

Re:Well, it doesn't work... (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 2 years ago | (#41498931)

That might be hard, since part of the "blind" process should involve people not knowing which font they're looking at. The other part would be the experimenters not knowing if they're working with a dyslexic or a member of the control group, but a dyslexic is quite likely to be slower with either font (albeit quicker with the new one).

There are probably some objective ways of sorting it out - maybe some FMRI while you show words in either font will tell you how quickly the words are being understood by the subject.

Re:Well, it doesn't work... (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 2 years ago | (#41498909)

He more or less did say "it didn't work for me",

Look at the title and the tone of the post - it's typical of the attitude of a lot of posts around here. If an idea can't help them, it's useless. If they can't understand how something will work, it must be rubbish.

Re:Well, it doesn't work... (2)

jones_supa (887896) | about 2 years ago | (#41497809)

So what? He was only talking about his own experience.

Re:Well, it doesn't work... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41497919)

I did. A had a huge amount of help testing this.

What works for one set of people, doesn't always work for the other though. :(

Re:Well, it doesn't work... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41498007)

This got +5, Insightful? Sockpuppet much?

Re:Well, it doesn't work... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41498325)

Notice the weasel words in the post, claiming that the new font works on "some" dyslexics, but never tells us how small the population is. Is it 80% of the total or one 20th of one percent? Good luck finding that useful tidbit with google, because the hack writer also never bothers to tell us the name of the factor that distinguishes between those on whom it works and those whom it doesn't. In other words, intelligent readers are too stupid to understand a new buzzword, since only doctors can understand buzzwords. And while I'm on the topic of people who insult your intelligence by withholding specifics, let's add doctors to the list.

Re:Well, it doesn't work... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41498907)

What makes you think we know?
colours work for some but not others
a ruler works for some but not others
etc. etc....
and we do not really have much of an Idea why yet, so you have to test each treatment individually to work out how many it heps.
He made a font which helped him, and I assume some other dyslectics he knows, but not everyone, is this not good enough? Do you think he should pay for a large scale clinical trial type study out of his own pocket?

Re:Well, it doesn't work... (1)

ifiwereasculptor (1870574) | about 2 years ago | (#41497493)

Teh ehll you are ydslexic!

Re:Well, it doesn't work... (2)

rusty0101 (565565) | about 2 years ago | (#41497679)

He points out in the comments on his blog post that he has not tested the font completely on Windows browsers. Apparently different browsers in Windows are rendering the font differently though, and he's working on the issue when he has time available. A specific complaint was the appearance that the font is faded at the top for some readers.

The problem very well may be render-er specific though. The assumption that not all browsers on windows are using the windows font rendering feature. I suspect that this is the case for people reporting similar issues with PDF's using the font as well. Unless the PDF is of scanned documents, the rendering of text is done in the viewer rather than at the source of the text.

Re:Well, it doesn't work... (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | about 2 years ago | (#41497775)

I'm using Firefox 15 on Linux, so it's not a Windows issue.

Re:Well, it doesn't work... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41498141)

Non-windows in this case refers to OSX and other Apple products. Fonts have never looked good on Linux so your problem might still be there.

Re:Well, it doesn't work... (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 2 years ago | (#41497973)

well, the "secret sauce" in it _is_ the weird shading(making the letters thicker at bottom).

Re:Well, it doesn't work... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41497849)

Another severe dyslexic here and I also can't read this font at all. It's really not clear at all, it's like it's all bold (I hate bold and I genuinely can't read italics) and I can't see the gaps between letters. Adding weight to the base line does not help (I do have problems rotating letters, if you give me a lone b or d I can't tell which it is without thinking about it), just making text really clear does.

For a dyslexic friendly font that actually looks like it was designed with input from dyslexic people try Dislexie http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dyslexie

Re:Well, it doesn't work... (1)

sehrgut (1180305) | about 2 years ago | (#41499035)

For a dyslexic friendly font that actually looks like it was designed with input from dyslexic people try Dislexie http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dyslexie [wikipedia.org]

Sock puppet much? Dyslexie is the closed-source font OpenDyslexic is based on (which you'd find if you actually read through the original link).

Re:Well, it doesn't work... (1)

Provocateur (133110) | about 2 years ago | (#41497969)

That can only mean one thing: You're CURED!

Torn (2)

_KiTA_ (241027) | about 2 years ago | (#41497367)

I'm torn on this. On the one hand, the OpenDyslexic guy specifically states he intended his project to infringe on the other Dyslexic fonts.

On the other hand, This Christian Boer guy comes across as having tried to stake a claim on the very idea of using a weighted font to combat Dyslexia.

On the, er, foot, the comparison image [apathyonline.net] that Boer shows off does have quite a few similarities. And beyond merely the "well duh, they're the same letters" level of similarities.

On the er, other foot, Holy cow, did not know that you cannot copyright a font. That explains all those $10 CDs with 5000 fonts on them and the like. I presume this means I can go find a copy of WildWord for free online instead of having to pay $TEXAS to replace the old digital download files I lost back in the day?

US: fonts not protected / font files are (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41497419)

see, that's were the misunderstanding lies: wikipedia summarises quite well:

Under U.S. law, typefaces and the characters they contain are considered to be utilitarian objects whose utility outweighs any merit that may exist in protecting their creative elements. Typefaces are exempt from copyright protection in the United States (Code of Federal Regulations, Ch 37, Sec. 202.1(e); Eltra Corp. vs. Ringer). However, this finding was limited in Adobe Systems, Inc. v. Southern Software, Inc., wherein it was held that scalable computer fonts, i.e., the instructions necessary to render a typeface, constitute a "computer program" for the purposes of copyright law and hence are subject to protection. Hence the computer file(s) associated with a scalable font will generally be protected even though the specific design of the characters is not.

So in the US I would assume Boers has not claim, but you still can not distribute those CDs :)

Re:US: fonts not protected / font files are (2)

_KiTA_ (241027) | about 2 years ago | (#41497425)

see, that's were the misunderstanding lies: wikipedia summarises quite well:

Under U.S. law, typefaces and the characters they contain are considered to be utilitarian objects whose utility outweighs any merit that may exist in protecting their creative elements. Typefaces are exempt from copyright protection in the United States (Code of Federal Regulations, Ch 37, Sec. 202.1(e); Eltra Corp. vs. Ringer). However, this finding was limited in Adobe Systems, Inc. v. Southern Software, Inc., wherein it was held that scalable computer fonts, i.e., the instructions necessary to render a typeface, constitute a "computer program" for the purposes of copyright law and hence are subject to protection. Hence the computer file(s) associated with a scalable font will generally be protected even though the specific design of the characters is not.

So in the US I would assume Boers has not claim, but you still can not distribute those CDs :)

Ah, so you can get around this copyright by simply downloading a PNG (or some form of open Vector format file) of the font, and then converting that to an actual font file?

Re:US: fonts not protected / font files are (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41497447)

I think it means that the vector description of the scalable glyphs is software. There is some justification to that, as vector drawings consist of paths that are made up of very basic instructions: start here, go there in a straight line, curve to that there using these two control points, end here.

Re:US: fonts not protected / font files are (3, Interesting)

dgatwood (11270) | about 2 years ago | (#41497455)

As I understand it, basically, yes, so long as all you start with is the shape of the font at some size and not the specific set of points that define the lines and curves. You'll also have to choose all the kerning, tracking, and leading values, though, so it isn't quite as trivial as you seem to be suggesting. That said, some tools such as Fontographer can do a halfway decent job of guessing those values....

Re:US: fonts not protected / font files are (4, Insightful)

Improv (2467) | about 2 years ago | (#41497461)

Fonts are a lot more complicated than you think. You're not going to easily be able to convert a given imagefile into a font.

Re:US: fonts not protected / font files are (1)

Vintermann (400722) | about 2 years ago | (#41497757)

But if you do, with all the hard work it entails, you're good to go (in the US) even if the font is pixel-identical on all sizes to a proprietary font.

Let me clarify (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41497457)

The typeface design isn't copyrightable, the specification of that typeface *is* copyrightable. This is like saying a classical piece of music isn't copyrightable, but a recording of the BBC Symphonic Orchestra playing the classical piece *is*.

So if you printed and traced the typeface, even if the design is identical, as long as the control points, rendering hints etc. aren't the same it's not an infringement. The font file is different, the copyrightable parts are different.

Then to Christian Boers 'moral' claim.

Christian Boer certainly based his Dyslexia typeface on other typefaces and he has no more moral claim to it than you do. He did exactly what you did, took an existing typeface and played with it. Only he used the work of other for his personal profit, not for a good cause. So his claim is morally lower than yours.

He's a parasite, he copies others work, then claims special rights to it. Unlike Apple's he's capable of fooling lots of people, he'll just go away and good riddance to him.

Re:Torn (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41497531)

...the comparison image [apathyonline.net] that Boer shows off does have quite a few similarities. And beyond merely the "well duh, they're the same letters" level of similarities.

That's probably because they both started by modifying the same font - Bitstream-Vera-Sans (which license permits derivative works).

Re:Torn (1)

Solandri (704621) | about 2 years ago | (#41497737)

On the er, other foot, Holy cow, did not know that you cannot copyright a font. That explains all those $10 CDs with 5000 fonts on them and the like.

Yup. That's the reason a lot of early computer systems came with Arial as their default font. Arial = Helvetica clone, but apparently the copyright holder charged less for licenses than Helvetica's copyright holder. Later, Microsoft commissioned Verdana (Helvetica almost-clone) and Georgia (Times New Roman almost-clone) so they wouldn't have to get licenses for Windows' default fonts. (Macs were used widely in the publishing industry, so Apple pretty much had to pay for licenses to Helvetica and Times New Roman.)

Verdana looks like Frutiger, not Helvetica (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#41499967)

Later, Microsoft commissioned Verdana (Helvetica almost-clone) and Georgia (Times New Roman almost-clone) so they wouldn't have to get licenses for Windows' default fonts.

I thought Verdana was a "humanist" (that is, Frutiger-clone) font, not a "neogrotesque" (Helvetica-clone) font.

Re:Torn (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41498021)

Yeah, they have quite some similarities. The “a” looks lika an “a,” the “b” like a “b,” and so on.

The stems and hooks on the letters look different (the S in CDB’s font ends with a horizontal cut, the S in the open font ends with a vertical cut, and that applies to all letters). Arial and Helvetica are not considered clones of each other and are far more similar to each other then these two fonts, who even for non-designers look significantly different (outside their “dyslexia adjustment”). Sounds to me like Christian de Boer is just hoping he can intimidate the guy into submission, since this would never stand up in court (assuming you have a decent copyright lawyer for your defense). Of course, it is very likely that Abelardo simply cannot afford a lawsuit. Modern justice at its best.

Re:Torn (1)

bzipitidoo (647217) | about 2 years ago | (#41498491)

Torn? That nicely shows the problem with the whole idea of copyright.

We want to compensate people for their hard work.

But, we don't want the method of compensation interfering with progress, improvements, fair competition, distribution, and availability.

Copyright does too well at hindering adoption, and too poorly at compensation. It's become a tool to keep artists under the thumbs of powerful rent seekers. Copyright is hardly the only means of compensating artists. We can do better.

Use the fonts, knowing that it is morally right to do so, and don't worry about the legal issues. The law is woefully out of touch, and won't ever be improved if we don't push. Meantime, send the principles a donation if you like.

Ignore Christian Boer, he's an ass (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41497385)

Your typeface doesn't look the same as his typeface. You can't copyright typefaces, and they're all derivative.

Typically what Adobe does is trademark the name, so there are many Palladins or Pallertrino's and the like, but only one Palatino (tm Adobe/Linotype).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palatino

What Mr Boer is trying to do, is to bully competitors in an effort to block competition. This is not unusual. The world is full of little shits like this. You have to learn to get a thicker skin against them and just ignore him.

Re:Ignore Christian Boer, he's an ass (2)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 2 years ago | (#41497517)

You can't copyright typefaces

In the US. I think for this case the Spanish and Dutch laws are more relevant.

Re:Ignore Christian Boer, he's an ass (2)

Neil_Brown (1568845) | about 2 years ago | (#41497727)

You can't copyright typefaces

Is this a particular provision of US law? In the UK, the design of a typeface may be protected by copyright as an artistic work. There are, however, special provisions of copyright law dealing with infringement of artistic copyright in the use of typefaces, in s54, Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 [legislation.gov.uk] :

(1)It is not an infringement of copyright in an artistic work consisting of the design of a typeface— (a)to use the typeface in the ordinary course of typing, composing text, typesetting or printing, (b)to possess an article for the purpose of such use, or (c)to do anything in relation to material produced by such use; and this is so notwithstanding that an article is used which is an infringing copy of the work.

Similarly, the font may be protected as a literary work, being a computer program. Given the recent case law within the EU on user interfaces, and the difference (or seeming lack of perceived difference) between copying the code comprising a computer program and copying what a program looks like on screen by writing your own code to achieve the same outcome, which may amount to an infringement in the literary work comprising the font, rather than the artistic work comprising the design of the typeface, which may make things even less clear...

Re:Ignore Christian Boer, he's an ass (1)

flimflammer (956759) | about 2 years ago | (#41498583)

Indeed, in the United States, typefaces are exempt from copyright protection. Computer fonts, as a specific implementation of that typeface, however, can be protected as computer software. Though even with that in mind, people can still create visually similar work and distribute the fonts for free if they wish.

I'm more curious as to why she was quoting US law in her response to the man though regarding the C&D, opposed to Spanish law, seeing as they're both from that area.

Re:Ignore Christian Boer, he's an ass (1)

Neil_Brown (1568845) | about 2 years ago | (#41499775)

Indeed, in the United States, typefaces are exempt from copyright protection. Computer fonts, as a specific implementation of that typeface, however, can be protected as computer software. Though even with that in mind, people can still create visually similar work and distribute the fonts for free if they wish.

Thanks for the information — that's really appreciated. Always nice to learn something new.

I think that it is getting about time ... (2)

Misagon (1135) | about 2 years ago | (#41497481)

... that frivolous sending of cease-and-desist letters would become illegal.

Frivolous C&D letters ARE illegal in some stat (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about 2 years ago | (#41497553)

Look up SLAPP - Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation. A number of states now have anti-SLAPP laws, though whether this case would be covered under them would be better answered by a lawyer - like many things, it'd depend on the state statute and specifics not really mentioned here.

It might be part of the reason for dropping charging even a nominal fee for the font - becoming a non-profit activity might trigger more protection. It might even be deductible for even more tax savings than he was getting for selling it(deduct labor vs having to make a profit).

I'm not a lawyer or a tax accountant, of course. If you want to do something of this nature, talk with qualified professionals.

Re:I think that it is getting about time ... (2)

KaoticEvil (91813) | about 2 years ago | (#41497557)

I'm drafting a C&D letter now to send to all those companies who send out C&D's....

offtopic - web page in sig (2)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | about 2 years ago | (#41497683)

offtopic -

p.s. your site expired -

NOTICE: This domain name expired on 09/23/2012 and is pending renewal or deletion.

http://kaoticevil.net/ [kaoticevil.net]

Re:I think that it is getting about time ... (1)

Solandri (704621) | about 2 years ago | (#41497753)

The solution is simple. Change the laws so you can sue lawyers for malpractice. They're always talking about how important malpractice lawsuits are for preserving public safety and keeping other professions honest. What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

Re:I think that it is getting about time ... (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | about 2 years ago | (#41498563)

I had a similar idea the other day, penalize lawyers writing a C&D or other demand letter for which they do not, at the time of the writing, have a documented good faith expectation that they could prevail in court.

Turns out he wasn't sent a C&D letter (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 2 years ago | (#41497675)

The other guy sent him a D&C letter.

But I'm not sure what dilation and curettage have to do with free fonts.

Control freakery stopping a good thing. (4, Interesting)

Stu101 (1031686) | about 2 years ago | (#41497725)

Because of the control freakery that Amazon "needs" you can't actually read a book in it. I think Amazon and Google should get the support on this font super quick.

I am a big user of Amazon e-books and not having the ability to change the fonts kind of defeats a major selling point over old paper books. If Amazon started doing this I suspect they would be repaid several dozen times over with people who appreciate it.

I think users should be allowed to choose their own font. So what if it looks totally crap. Its personal preference and it doesn't affect anyone else. Let the "Marketing" droids go swivel.

BTW,I am a bit pissed because I never knew my reading was difficult until I used this font. It's kind of a realisation! And someone is trying to stop me being able to do things better.

I also understand that Amazon etc are working on licencing it, but if we could change our own font, we wouldn't have the issue.

Re:Control freakery stopping a good thing. (1)

flimflammer (956759) | about 2 years ago | (#41498505)

Control freakery? I really don't believe not being able to change your font is Amazon "needing to be a control freak". A good feature to have, sure, but never attribute to malice what you can attribute to stupidity. I wouldn't be surprised if it probably never even crossed the minds of those in charge.

Re:Control freakery stopping a good thing. (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | about 2 years ago | (#41498589)

it's kinda pathetic really, the REB 1100 from nuvo/gemstar/RCA released in 2001 with a dialup modem as it's book store uplink, could have fonts added to it and used with any books in it's 8 Megabyte onboard media or up to 32 Megabyte SMART MEDIA memory card

it also had a adjustable backlit indiglo display, which was only matched by this year's Nook with backlight

Team fortress 2? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41497965)

First thing i thought of was that it looked like the Team fortress 2 fonts [teamfortress.com] .

Fight lysdexia! (1)

MTalisman (632214) | about 2 years ago | (#41499009)

...my favorite graffito

Comic Sans (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41499437)

Now it's clear to me why there's such a wide range of opinions regarding Comic Sans. I use it because I find it easier to read than most other fonts. Apparently, it has some characteristics in common with these dyslexic-friendly fonts. At least that's my new excuse for using it despite the mockery.

(I use a similar justification to call myself green, when in fact, I'm just cheap.)

received a C&D letter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41499725)

> received a C&D letter

So what? C&D letters are pointless. You can print & send them for anything. I can send my girlfriend a C&D letter about her chewing too loudly. I can send one to the president about his cover-up of imported aliens from mars working as sex workers in the catholic church. I can send one to Casio because they stole my idea for using batteries to power watches, or to the electric company for beaming mind-control signals into my brain via the power lines in the neighboring states. They are totally pointless and carry almost no legal weight (the only thing that they do is prevent you from saying that you didn't know about the other person's grievance.]

The correct response to a C&D is to say that you've received it and will take it under advisement... and then do nothing about it unless it's pretty clear that you have done something wrong.

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