Luc Devroye’s “On Snot and Fonts” has long been the definitive index of the online font world. Thousands of imageless pages — listing font houses, new releases, and sources for general typography information — were sometimes difficult to navigate, but almost never left anything out. If there was a font page on the Web, there would be a link to it on Devroye’s site. The links weren’t always bare — they were sometimes accompanied with Devroye’s sharp, often populist, commentary. His stance on copyright and consistent siding with independent freeware font makers over large commercial foundries has sometimes stirred controversy.
This morning, a post on Typophile announced that Devroye’s site was replaced with the following message:
Luc Devroye’s site is now closed. He is still alive and kicking, but on April 24, 2006, censorship and political correctness won against academic freedom. To the students who are counting on my course notes: sorry. To the researchers who are trying to download my work: sorry. To the conference participants of AofA 2006: sorry. To the readers of my daily social commentary: sorry. To the mathematical community: sorry. To the funding agencies of Canada who generously supported my work: sorry. We may be up again one day after purgatory.
I didn’t always agree with Devroye, but I don’t think anyone would deny his site was an important resource for anyone researching digital typography. I feared the worst. Later, news arrived with reasons for the closure. Turns out, it wasn’t one of the type corps he railed against that took him off the air. It was his employer that was miffed — for nudie pics.
Devroye is a math professor at McGill University in Montreal, whose server hosted his font pages. McGill was in the news recently for their reputation as a party school. Several coeds posed nude in Playboy and the always fearless Devroye published the photos online. University authorities would have none of it. So he moved.
Devroye’s new location where all his font pages (except the free fonts links) are still intact: http://cg.scs.carleton.ca/~luc/fonts.html
See also: Type Preservation