The Business Software Alliance (BSA) is one of the main global entities that strives to educate people about software piracy. Most people know that copying a software program from a friend, or swapping serial numbers is basically piracy. But what about your fonts? Though fonts are also software, they don’t typically have their own installer, and may even be installed automatically along with another application. But, just because you don’t need to enter a serial number to use a font doesn’t mean that you can freely copy from machine to machine.
You may think that the risk is minimal for copying and using pirated fonts, but the risk is real. A recent search of a Dutch printing company found unlicensed fonts worth over $68,000 on their network. The damage to your company’s reputation and bottom line can be real. It’s best to check all of your software, including fonts, for licenses, and then track your usage for compliance. Of course, we’ve built in very robust license tracking features into Universal Type Server that can help you get compliant and stay that way.
To help software users better understand and educate others in about the importance of paying attention to the company’s font library, the BSA recently published a Font Licensing Guide ( no longer on BSA site) titled “From Arial to Zapf Dingbats, How font licensing is critical to your communications.” This guide gives a brief overview of typography, fonts, and their overall importance in your daily workflow.
If you’re in the position of educating your employers about the importance of licensing all of your company’s software assets, this document will surely help get the ball rolling. You may also find a white paper that we recently published helpful in making your case – Maintaining Control and Compliance in a Font-Intensive Workflow, The Case for Enterprise Font Management (PDF). Written by publishing technology guru Chuck Weger, this document can help you sell the idea of font management within your organization.
If you’re not totally burnt out on font licensing yet, for some additional information, take a moment to check out the the recent series of posts on this blog where we examine the importance and scope of font licenses. It’s a nebulous and changing world.
- Just what does that font license mean to you? – Part one
- Part two – Converting fonts from one format to another
- Part three – Fonts and the web, internet, and beyond
Wednesday we announced that Universal Type Server is now available for order on our site. The product will be released and ready for download in the coming week, but if you’re chomping at the bit to know what’s inside, we’ve created a series of videos.
The first video shows the Universal Type Client. This is where you add, remove, activate and manage your fonts.
The second video shows the first of two server administration interfaces. Both of which are accessed using a web browser. The first allows you to perform low-level server functions, such as backup and restore, port configuration and starting and stopping the server.
The final video shows the the other server administration web interface. This interface allows you to quickly add and configure users and workgroups. It’s here where you import users and configure how each user can utilize the system through permissions and settings. To help speed up the process you can configure roles that allow you to apply settings to many users at once.
Are you looking for a good solution for the font mess in your office? Are ascenders and descenders getting stuck in your sweater? Have your valued fonts been piling up in the corners, making it impossible for you and your co-workers to ever find and use the same font with the same document? Well, it just so happens that we make some fine client/server font managers that can help you clean up that mess.
Today we announced that our newest client/server font manager, Universal Type Server™, is now available for orders. If you’re looking for a font manager for your organization, take a moment to check out the Extensis website to see what Type Server has to offer. The client has a spiffy new interface, and the server is administered entirely through the web using a browser – quite handy for remote administration.
If the stars are aligned, this may well be my last ‘We Hear You!’ post, because as soon as Universal Type Server gets out the door, you will probably see that we not only heard you, but took you very seriously.
I’m not big on sports analogies, but this one seems appropriate: We’re at the bottom of the 9th. Several Beta drops later, and we are very close to ready.
It is hard to itemize all that goes in to the final stages of a software release and launch. But ‘scramble’ just about covers it (yep- that’s a golf term…or an egg term, depending).
Beyond the software itself (the biggest piece), there are a hundred things that need to line up: product skus, documentation, translation of what feels like every piece of content you have EVER written, press this-n-that, Web creative and production, internal training for: support, customer service, sales, and everyone else, communication to our partners, knowledge base articles in which you have to anticipate what someone might ask, yada yada. You get the picture.
So that is where we are. Scrambled eggs. Yum. And we expect to be dishing some up for you very soon.
Would you like ketchup or Tabasco with those?
There is a long-running joke here at Extensis that asks, “What’s the hype with Suitcase? It turns fonts on; it turns fonts off – what’s the big deal?” That very simplicity is what makes for the best font manager. It should run seamlessly, even if those using it don’t realize what exactly is going on behind the scenes.
Unfortunately, there are additional legal and compliance factors to consider when implementing a font management strategy that go well beyond enabling and disabling fonts, particularly in an enterprise environment.
Printing and publishing industry guru, Chuck Weger has authored an informative white paper that addresses critical issues organizations need to consider when implementing a font management strategy. The paper titled, “Compliance and Control in Font-Intensive Workflows: The case for enterprise font management” explores the issues surrounding enterprise font management from compliance to cost savings.
Weger has included some interesting stories on the real dangers of not having an enterprise font management solution:
“With good enterprise font management in place, an organization is much better prepared to deal with possible software audits. Although these audits are somewhat rare, the do occur, and when they do, they can be very expensive; for example, a UK publishing firm was recently fined £80,000 for font license violations.”
In my last post I mentioned that we are in beta and humming along. Now that many people are using the product, seems like a good time to share some preliminary feedback.
The feedback below is from Fabregue one of the biggest printers in France with almost $100 million in revenue and over 100 years of experience. We asked their head of technical operations, Jérôme Guillement, for his first impressions.
“My first impression of Universal Type Server was during the preview at Intergraphic. I was very enthusiastic and at that point was eager to get involved in the beta…I could tell it would enable me to dramatically simplify the management of our workstations. Moreover, the design (UI, icons and web interface) completely broke with what I knew of Extensis up to now. That indicated a major shift, not just a minor update.
“The beta has outstanding stability- as good or better than some final software products…end-user feedback has been very positive: ease of use, user-friendliness, interface… they are aware of having taken a big step forward. Feedback from administrators is similar: web interface for administration is accessible from anywhere and is beautiful, simple and clear; the ability to manage users, groups and rights is much more flexible and complete.”
I promise to share more feedback soon.
*Many thanks to Jérôme for taking the time to share his feedback, and to Jean-Michel, our country manager in France, for passing it along.
April 21st, 2008 by Jim Kidwell
Seems like everyone around here is talking about our forthcoming product release that’s sure to take the font management world by storm, Universal Type Server. We’re all very excited, and since we’re not able to talk to each and every one of you out there, I thought that we should bring some of our crew to you. I recently was able to pry one of the talented software engineers away from his bug fixing duties to chat for a few minutes about software development, Universal Type Server, and how all things engineering are put together at Extensis.
Thanks for taking a few minutes to chat with us Lucien!
Spring has sprung and beta is in the air. I am somewhat belated in posting, but yes, the Universal Type Server beta is operational and being tested by the best and the brightest: our customers.
We have reached out to our power users across the globe to test out Universal Type Server in as many representative work environments as possible. We calculated every permutation of small team/ large team/Mac/Win/US/Europe…yada yada. You get the idea.
Industries currently testing Universal Type Server include:
- Financial Services
…and more. We’re feeling confident we’ve got you covered. So thank you in advance to all of our customers- for their input on the product, and their feedback on how it is performing. You help us do better and keep us honest. Fingers crossed that it works as well for you as it has for us. I’ll surely keep you posted.
* The Universal Type Server beta comes to you courtesy of a very hard-working development and product management team that has been living on Starbuck’s and the occasional doughnut. We thank them all so very much. You know who you are.
A year ago (or more) while working on some print ads with our friends at ZIG (who also have a nice blog), we discussed the possibility of using a well-known typographer for some of the artwork. And while that didn’t pan out for that project, in the back of my mind I knew we would want to call on Carlos Segura at some point.
Bingo! An opportunity presented itself as we were leading up the Macworld show. We needed to design a t-shirt that would be part of a campaign to the press and corporate customers around the unveiling of Universal Type Server. So I picked up the phone and called Carlos.
Carlos is more than just a designer. He and his team are typographers, type designers, and also the owners of T 26 type foundry. In short- these guys really know type.After some discussion they produced this T for us, which we delivered to the press in that safe we wrote about a while back. We also used this design on our booth shirts (seen in this post). And we gave some out as prizes in the theater.
I’ve said this before, but I don’t know what it is about T-shirts. People gotta have ’em. This is a well-documented phenomenon. Suffice it to say we received a lot of comments on them. People wanted to know where to get them. Finally, I have an answer for that question. Stay tuned- we’ll be running a promotion through which you can get your hands on a limited supply.
Many thanks to Carlos and his team. They are a great bunch to work with. Put them on your short list. (and if you don’t have a list–never too late to start one).
January 15th, 2008 by Jim Kidwell
Macworld Conference and Expo, SAN FRANCISCO, CA., January 15, 2008 — Extensis, a brand of Celartem Inc., today announced Universal Type Server, its next generation server-based font management solution for both Macintosh and Windows environments. Universal Type Server will benefit creative professionals, workgroups and IT administrators alike by offering three editions of the solution: Universal Type Server Lite, Professional and Corporate editions. Extensis will be showcasing Universal Type Server at its Macworld Expo booth #1020 this week.
Universal Type Server is Extensis’ next generation font server capable of handling all font-related issues that may arise while working in font-intensive workflows. Universal Type Server provides an easy-to-use and intuitive tool for creative users and a robust, scalable and flexible solution for IT administrators. Universal Type Server offers:
- Simple server and user administration via web-based applications
- Stable and fast Java-based server with a secure SQL backend
- Active directory integration
- Support for both Mac and Windows clients independently or simultaneously
- Support for mobile users: administrators can work from anywhere; users can go ‘offline’ and still access the fonts they need
- Font license tracking
- Fast type activation
- Fast, customizable previews driven by Apple’s Core animation technology
- Automated organization of font libraries via classification, foundry, file type, custom keywords, etc.
- Elegant, intuitive client interface
- Native support for Intel-based and PPC-based Macs
- Font Sense powered auto-activation plug-ins for Adobe InDesign and Illustrator CS3/CS2 and XTensions for QuarkXPress 6.5/7
“Universal Type Server is more than just a combination of our popular Suitcase and Font Reserve Server products.” said Martin Stein, Extensis Vice President of Products and Services. “It was built from the ground up, utilizing the most up-to-date technologies and open architecture platforms. We’ve combined the strengths of both existing products while adding reliability, stability, greater performance and improved scalability, as well as cool new features, all within a new and modern architecture. This is the most significant font management product ever developed by Extensis.”
Universal Type Server will support Extensis’ patented Font Sense technology offering users the ability to automatically activate the exact versions of fonts used in a document when that document is opened. Unlike basic auto-activation, Font Sense works seamlessly to allow for a deep level of font analysis instead of simply selecting and activating the first font with the same PostScript or font menu name. Font Sense avoids silent font substitution, incorrect glyphs, text re-flows, and layout issues, resulting in greater efficiency and automated workflows.
Universal Type Server Lite – Designed to be robust yet affordable, this edition allows customers to use up to 10 concurrent connections. The Lite edition is ideal for smaller creative workgroups or design firms that need to have access to and share fonts.
Universal Type Server Professional – Is the natural upgrade edition for existing Suitcase Server X1 and Font Reserve Server customers. The Professional edition allows up to 250 concurrent connections and is an ideal and affordable solution for mid-size organizations that do not require external databases.
Universal Type Server Corporate – Is ideal for large corporate workgroups. It allows for more than 250 concurrent connections and includes Active Directory and External Database (MS SQL 2005) functionality.
Pricing and Availability
Universal Type Server is currently beta testing and is expected to ship in Spring 2008. Universal Type Server and all clients will be available free-of-charge to existing customers under a current Annual Service Agreement (ASA). Pricing for all versions, including upgrades, will be announced prior to product availability.
Universal Type Server will be available in English, French and German.
For information on where to purchase the Universal Type Server family of products visit http://www.typeserver.com
Universal Type Server will support Mac OS X v10.4, 10.4 Server, 10.5 or 10.5 Server; G5 or faster processor; 1 GB RAM; 250 MB Hard Drive space + space for fonts; Safari 2.0 or Firefox 2.0 or higher; Adobe Flash Player 9 or higher; Adobe Reader 7.
Universal Type Server will also support Windows 2000 Server, Server 2003, XP Professional; P4 or faster processor; 1GB of RAM; 250 MB of hard disk space + space for fonts; Internet Explorer 7 or Firefox 2.0 or higher; Adobe Flash Player 9 or higher; Adobe Reader 7.
Universal Type Client for Macintosh will support Mac OS X v.10.4 or 10.5; 50 MB of hard disk space + space for fonts; 256 MB RAM; Safari 2.0 or Firefox 2.0 or higher; Adobe Reader 7.
Universal Type Client for Windows will support Windows XP Professional or Vista P4 or faster processor; 256 MB RAM 50 MB of hard disk space + space for fonts; Internet Explorer 7 or Firefox 2.0 or higher; Adobe Reader 7; Microsoft .NET 2.0 for Windows XP installations.