About companies and their fonts

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2008/09/14 14:01 -04:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2008/09/14/8951009.aspx

Over in the Suggestion Box, Chris Nichols suggested and opined:

From the comments in response to your post About the Fonts folder in Windows, Part 3 (aka What changes in Vista?), it seems that there are some things to be desired in the way that Vista handles fonts.  Like, lots of things.

I suggest a post that talks about way for companies to manage installed fonts.  Can we enable standard users to do this?  Are there some scripts available to help manage this.

From a corporate perspective XP font management sucked,  Vista font management REALLY sucks.  The tools for managing this area are non-existent, what is available seems to come from Windows 3.

Hmmm....I guess I'll avoid the more judgmental side of the observation (I prefer to make sure that when I expressing things judgmentally that I limit it to my own personal opinions!).

But even so, there are some interesting technical issues here.

Of course, to start with there is that whole On installing and removing fonts series that has laid out many of the real problems with and added some suggestions about the installation, updating, and removal of fonts from Windows.

And of course from the information in that series one can see the exact permissions that must be allowed if one wants permissions to be broadly granted to users to manage their own fonts:

But it really is more complicated than that.

Fonts, as complex data structures that many operations have to be performed upon are in essence almost like little bits of code one puts on one's machine.Because although they aren't exactly code themselves, they lead code around and tell the code what to do, what decisions to make, what branches to execute.

Just like one who owns a dog and who chooses to walk him every day can be said from one point of view to be owned by that dog given the way one acts as an indentured servant each day in order to meet his needs. :-)

Like with any code that can be put on a machine, those with evil intent can take advantage of an "open" system to allow a malicious font to be installed. And thus a company opening the floodgates to allow any font to be installed is really not in the best interests of that company....

Though that knowledge, combined with knowledge of:

can certainly lead a smart person in the IT consulting staff to come up with a solution to allow the safe installation of fonts in the corporate environment....

Could this be made easier?


But really the "easier" bit is just to package up the options here so that all of these steps can be taken without knowing as much about the details; the steps themselves are there for very good reasons, and it is much better to avoid tripping on these steps....

One could charge the Typography team with this task, but in my opinion this is kind of silly -- since all of the above steps actually already have experts who know more about how to do them (especially in the IT space!), making another team learn them just for the hell of it rather than just getting these other smart people working on better solutions and better tools just sounds wasteful.

Certainly one of the best places to start is in the tools surrounding the installer technology and making sure all of those pieces are in place. does anyone know if they are yet, or if there improvements that should be happening here?

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# Daniel Yacob on 15 Sep 2008 11:26 AM:

While on the topic of the Fonts folder.  I've often wondered why we couldn't make subfolders within the Fonts folder; that would in turn correspond to submenus in the Font menu of applications?

This certainly seems like it would be a natural way to help users manage the oodles of fonts they may have and make fonts faster/easier to find in the font menus.

Surely someone at MS has thought of this before and the feature got nixed.  Anyone know why?

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referenced by

2008/09/17 About the people who work for companies, and *their* fonts

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