Font changes, hopefully no major issues

Short meta-post. Until 2019-08-20, I was using Font Library as a CDN for the two webfonts1 that I use on this site: Hack for code blocks and other monospaced needs, and Gentium for everything else. Font Library was, for at least a week, down, leading to upsettingly long load times. I temporarily just removed the appropriate <link>s, allowing the site to render in the user’s default monospace and serif fonts, respectively. Font Library is back up, now, but the downtime made me think about alternative solutions. I sure as hell was not going to subject my audience to Google as the CDN. And I realized, I don’t really have any need for a CDN, why make the additional external requests? Why worry at all about a third-party’s uptime? So, I am currently hosting the copies of Gentium and Hack that the site uses. I’m not entirely sure it’s the same version of Gentium2, so I may need to poke around, say, math posts and see if any glyphs are missing. Otherwise, I think this is the best solution and should be relatively problem-free.

I think it’s worth briefly mentioning why Font Library was down. Microsoft, citing trade restrictions, started banning Iranian, Syrian, and Crimean hosting on GitHub. The Bassel Khartabil Fellowship was one such banned project, based in Syria. My understanding is that Font Library was not directly affected by this, but having been built partially on Khartabil’s work, removed their site from GitHub in solidarity and in opposition of the policy. I mention this because it’s important. It was a bold move for Font Library to have that much downtime out of principle, and I applaud them for it. I would not be at all dissuaded from continuing to use their service, except… again the whole thing made me realize there’s really no practical reason for me to use any CDN for font hosting.

One final meta note, I have updated all posts of the category ‘lgbt’ to ‘lgbtqia’ instead. I think it’s just a habit of being of a certain age; I generally find myself defaulting to the four-letter initialism. But, there’s no reason not to try to be better and more inclusive, and this is such a simple update to make, it’s rather ridiculous not to.

  1. Okay, there’s a third, but it just holds the flower that I use for a bullet point & for horizontal rules and the flower-arrow that I use for external links (•, x) ↩︎
  2. I can’t use Gentium Plus because there’s no bold weight. Releasing a bold weight is a priority for SIL, apparently, and if that comes out I may move to it. However, because of its extensive unicode support, each file (even with WOFF compression) is ~600K. I would need to subset these fonts (which, by license, would require me to rename them as well) if I did move to them, because I’m not making anyone download ~2M of fonts. That’s absurd. ↩︎