Note: this is a rant.

For year, I've browsed the web with Firefox set to “Allow pages to choose their own fonts: no”. It worked everywhere very well, and I had a consistent style across pages, and I wasn't forced to see the (IMHO) very ugly Microsoft-fonts look-alikes.

That all changed until GitHub introduced their “Octicons” font, and represent icons with characters, instead of actual icons. Now I either am forced to:

  • not be able to use GitHub's web interface, or
  • allow all sites to use random font of the day, or
  • start playing with custom style-sheets and overrides and whatnot

Grr… At least they added text labels too, so at least I get a small box with F044 and label “Admin”.

A recommendation: allow pages to use their own fonts, but locally tell fontconfig to replace any instances of the various standard fonts you don't enjoy with fonts you do.
Comment by Anonymous early Sunday morning, May 13th, 2012
With the great NoScript add-on to firefox you can allow individual sites to use web fonts, while disallowing it by default.
Comment by Anonymous mid-morning Sunday, May 13th, 2012

Hmm, can fontconfig do that even for webfonts? I thought webfonts are purely a browser-specific issue, whereas fontconfig refers to X/ttf fonts.

Thanks for the suggestion, I'll look into it.

Comment by Iustin Pop at lunch time on Sunday, May 13th, 2012
Ah, I use NoScript but I didn't know it can control font use, thanks a lot!
Comment by Iustin Pop at lunch time on Sunday, May 13th, 2012
There must be a good reason for using webfonts rather than, say, SVG. I wonder if there's a significant performance difference in some situations between the two.
Comment by directhex in the wee hours of Sunday night, May 14th, 2012
Possibly. There was a (somewhat) long discussion on HN about this, but I haven't read it in depth. I just wanted to get the rant out :)
Comment by Iustin Pop late Monday evening, May 14th, 2012
Using fonts instead of svg files has a huge advantage: you can provide many icons in a single file, which is a huge performance win over other options. The concept is a bit similar to CSS sprites, but the use of fonts gives you something that scales properly.
Comment by Wichert early Tuesday morning, May 15th, 2012
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