[html5] Accessing the user's installed fonts

Markus Ernst derernst at gmx.ch
Mon Jul 29 01:52:36 PDT 2013

Am 27.07.2013 03:19 schrieb Bjartur Thorlacius:
> On 07/24/2013 03:02 PM, Oliver Sartun wrote:
>> for all I know it's not possible to retrieve a list of all fonts a
>> user has installed on his system via JavaScript. Is that correct?
> AFAIK, yes.
>> Is a solution to this problem in the making? Or hasn't this been
>> addressed yet? Or does a solution already exist that I'm not aware of?
> AFAIK, no. There are technical details that should be given some thought
> before an API to system fonts is implemented, such as the fact that the
> exact set of font that you have installed might be unique enough to
> effectively identify you, and thus track you.

I can confirm that. I have installed some fonts I designed myself and 
did not give to anyone else so far, so I would be perfectly identifyable 
and traceable by the list of installed fonts.

> You have already suggested that access to some information is necessary.
> Now we need to reach a consensus on how necessary the information is,
> how hard it is to get without a browser API. The API has to be both
> useful enough and simple enough. And it'll either need to be
> asynchronous, like just about everything else in JavaScript, or
> otherwise account for the fact that a user may not let every web page he
> visits know about every font he has installed.
> And consider how the information would be accessed using existing web
> technologies: OAuth HTTP uri-list. Ponder whether access to local fonts
> is to specific of a function to be supported explicitly by web browsers.

How do the manufacturers of "cloud"-based office applications such as 
Google Docs or MS Office 365 handle this? Do their clients accept the 
fact that fonts they might have purchased are not useable in their 
office application? Or do they have local software installed that 
corresponds with the web-based applications?

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