I want permission based access to locally installed fonts

Submitted by Fahri Özkaramanlı

I have been singlehandedly running https://wordmark.it for the last 7 years. It's a small online app that helps people choose fonts for their creative projects. You enter text and it displays it with the fonts installed on your computer.

In order to do so, it relies on font detection with an Adobe Flash plugin or more recently a Google Chrome extension. Font detection has been infamously associated with fingerprinting and is considered as a security breach. The Flash plugin is on the brink of extinction and Google Chrome is the only browser that provides access to the list of locally installed font names through the Extension API. Most recent version of Safari went ahead and blocked sharing of installed font names as a general security measure.

If we want to be able to develop tools on the web that support creativity, we need to address this issue in a more thoughtful manner. Blocking access to locally installed fonts without any other way to opt-out is hurting online creative tools.

The design tool Figma struggled with the same permissions issue and has to ask their users to install a software that runs in the background just to serve fonts to its online client.

A permission based access to the list of installed fonts, working in a similar fashion to camera or microphone access could open the way for creative tools to not only rely on web fonts but utilize locally installed fonts as well.

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