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Open Source Emoji Project Wants Money For Icons 156

Posted by timothy
from the and-your-weird-little-grimaces dept.
Kagetsuki writes "There's a project on KickStarter for a Free and Open set of emoji [the graphical emoticon glyph set which has a block reserved in Unicode]. Currently there are no full sets of Emoji that are completely free (as in beer and and freedom), so if this project gets funded it will be the first and only set of emoji that can, say, be distributed with FLOSS Linux/BSD/GNU systems. Not to mention anyone will be able to incorporate them into any project without any restrictive conditions." And lest you think emoji devoid of literary value, reader coondoggie points out that the Library of Congress has just welcomed (or at least allowed) onto its vaunted shelves an all-emoji version of Melville's Moby Dick, created with the help of translators working through Amazon's Mechanical Turk.
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Open Source Emoji Project Wants Money For Icons

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 23, 2013 @07:43PM (#42992293)

    Can I pay money so that they don't do this project.

    F**king emoticons.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      U+1F4A9 PILE OF POO

    • by martin-boundary (547041) on Saturday February 23, 2013 @10:42PM (#42993161)

      F**king emoticons.

      On the other hand, if you'd paid money for them to do this project, then you'd have more expressive emoticons than * to represent your abject fear and loathing of this whole emoticon nonsense.

      • by c0lo (1497653)

        F**king emoticons.

        On the other hand, if you'd paid money for them to do this project, then you'd have more expressive emoticons than * to represent your abject fear and loathing of this whole emoticon nonsense.

        Fat chance with /.'s UNICODE support - I lost hopes to see it in this life.

  • by Seumas (6865) on Saturday February 23, 2013 @07:58PM (#42992405)

    Okay, I understand that I'm old and grumpy, but . . .

    The point of emoticons are that they are simple ASCII text that convey basic emotional context. Emoji are not "emoticons". They're just tiny pictures. Are you seriously telling me that a tiny picture of a whale is in any way related to an emoticon? You know how you can tell these have no relation to emoticons? Because their ultimate stretch goal in the kickstarter is to create more than 800 of the little images and I'm pretty sure there aren't 800 emotions on which to base emoticons. Let's just call them "tiny little pictures for children to use on their phones and in forum messages to be obnoxious".

    I'll help fund a kickstarter that aims to eradicate every form of chat of these annoying things. I used to have forums where people would use these constantly. Since I didn't include them by default, they used these idiotic services that let them embed emoticons on any website forum, as long as you also spammed their banner while you were doing it. I quickly wrote some code to filter all of that out, too.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      I cannot possibly believe that there are not already free emoji, every chat program I've installed in ages has had them and many of those have been open source, GPL, etc. Where'd they get theirs? Also, there's no reason why this should cost money. It should definitely be crowdsourceable for free.

      • by sdsucks (1161899)

        I am also surprised that there are no libre emoji images available. But there is nothing wrong with paying towards this.

        Sure it *can* be crowdsourced, but what can't? Paying for things is okay sometimes too...

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          Sure it *can* be crowdsourced, but what can't? Paying for things is okay sometimes too...

          It's okay for you, and that's fine with me, but it's not okay for me unless there's a reason for it.

          • by sdsucks (1161899)

            Well, as a Kickstarter project it's optional and you don't need to support it. :) Nor will I be.

          • You've kind of touched on the whole point of Kickstarter, now haven't you? You aren't forced to back something you have no interest in.

      • You're talking about emoticons, not emoji. BTW the full emoji set includes just under 830 images, not 20 some yellow smiley faces.

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          I see, I was confused by the summary (a point you've addressed elsewhere.) I have now utilized Wikipedia.

          It seems to me like you ought to spend the effort and/or money creating an emoji-creating website. User accounts, a simple javascript pixel art tool, a voting system, a packaging system, and a download system, and maybe a tagging system. The packaging system should be able to just grab the highest-ranked of each emoji and stuff them together, or grab them based on user, tags if implemented, etc. Arguably

      • Those "pictures" are just pictures and not characters from the unjcodechar set.

    • rabid anime fanboy + brony + valley girl with a severe squint + manic pixie dream girl = emoji ?

      (All I know is that whenever I see an emoji, I automatically start to read the person's words with a strong valley girl accent in my mind.)

    • by Ozoner (1406169) on Saturday February 23, 2013 @09:56PM (#42992967)

      > The point of emoticons are that they are simple ASCII text

      And they date back even further. The Ascii ones were derived from the various Teleprinter emoticons (Baudot code, etc),
      which in turn came from the Morse equivalents ("HI" for hilarity, 73, 88, etc).

      The "boom boom" used in comedy shows, possibly came from the "dit dit" used by Morse operators for exactly the same purpose.

      No doubt bored Semaphore operators invented their own variations as well.

      • by dkf (304284)

        The "boom boom" used in comedy shows, possibly came from the "dit dit" used by Morse operators for exactly the same purpose.

        Probably not. That more likely came from the habit in music halls of using drums to mark the punchline of a joke so that the... less attentive... would know when to laugh.

    • by sdsucks (1161899)

      Your previous comments indicate you didn't even know what Emoji is before this article, but yet now it is "annoying" to you? And you've resorted to ad hominem attacks against those that use them? "Children to use on their phones and in forum messages to be obnoxious"?

      A picture can be worth a thousand words, and emoji is handy. I use it all the time and have a couple emoji domains registered that will someday make me filthy rich ;) (oh shit, does my emoticon annoy you? I suppose I should have added more s

      • Why bother with emoji, though? Just use Chinese ideographs. They're the natural final progression of this idea, after all. Moreover, if you're just after basic emoticons, there's a Unicode range from 1F600 to 1F64F [unicode.org].
    • by lxs (131946)

      :sadclown: :hug:

    • FYI DoCoMo Emoji [nttdocomo.co.jp]
    • I use Unicode (non-ISO-8859-1) characters in software I write.

      When writing comments I stick to things I can easily type, i.e. characters accessible using the Compose key — essentially only arrow right/left, double angle brackets and bullet, , , , , . I think "childparent" is easier to read than "child->parent".

      I also use Unicode in interfaces. I need a little warning symbol, it takes a few seconds to go to shapecatcher.net, draw the symbol, and paste it in [shapecatcher.com]: . Grepping my source code for Unicode,

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      Think of them as macros. Due to the way Japanese and Chinese work it can take a lot of typing on a numberpad phone to write stuff out, even with very advanced prediction software that can do entire sentences. Emoji are a handy way of expressing ideas and emotions with minimal effort.

  • Crazy (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    They want 40$ per icon with the majority of elements reused between icons... Even if Emoji made sense as a thing (and I'm not convinced it does) their asking price is way to high.
    • I really quite like this project, but love the use [not overuse] of emotions I am actually quite taken with the example Emoji, the examples are all based on a circle [for a simple face] its true, but if you look http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emoji [wikipedia.org] which covers Tansport/Maps/Symbols and Pictographs. I'm confident I could do a smiley face...but a Pine Decoration or Trumpet not so much. Personally I'd love this project this project to succeed simply because it contains the symbols hot beverage & shortcake.

    • They want 40$ per icon

      If that is really is low, you could undercut them. Kickstarter would be an incredibly safe way to do so.

    • Actually we're charging $20 per emoji. A lot of the elements are not shared. The basic face set has elements shared and that's why it was used to make the samples - because we could do it quickly.

      • by Cerium (948827)

        I didn't read the article or kickstarter very closely, so forgive me if you already addressed this.

        The one thing I can't quite understand is that your goal is to make a bunch of little vectorized emoticons that are free to use. Many of these are based on things that already exist, but will be done with your own artistic styling (correct?).

        That's all wonderful and whatever, but why does this project demand $50,000? What's stopping you from taking the week or two to fire these things out and just releasing th

        • > Many of these are based on things that already exist, but will be done with your own artistic styling (correct?).
          No. The existing sets all have copyright and licensing terms that DO NOT allow their free use and many of the emoji in use are being used (EG from Apple) are being used in a way that violates the terms. By distributing a fully free and open source set developers everywhere will not have to worry about violating license terms, but will still be able to use emoji.

          > That's all wonderful and

        • Because we are talking here about a Font. With about 850 chars in that font.
          You don't fire those out in a week. You must be a very good (semi) professional to manage onechar per day ...

  • by pecosdave (536896) on Saturday February 23, 2013 @08:45PM (#42992623) Homepage Journal

    It's the Japanese.

    The Japanese are incredible copyright grubbers. When they let lose their pictures of the moon, when they tried to recreate the Apollo pics, they had JAXA and NHK copyright notices on the pictures so big they actually detracted from the pictures. I've worked with documentation handed to me by Japanese clients that was so water-marked I could barely read the poorly written instructions contained on it.

    The overall Japanese mindset is the opposite of the Free and Open Source community. If their own people would put the effort into making an actual Emoji set for their own language it would take less work to get others on-board with making these toy versions.

    • by yincrash (854885) on Saturday February 23, 2013 @09:40PM (#42992889)
      Actually, There is a free version courtesy of Google. Android has an ASL available version. preview image [amazonaws.com] and github link [github.com]
    • What you're saying is, thankfully, from an era past. It used to be this way but that's from old companies with old mindsets and old laws. Things have changed a lot, and there is a huge OSS movement here.

      • by pecosdave (536896)

        I'm glad you came in to say that.

        I don't have a lot of current ties to Japan, and due to the language barrier and the fact English language news reports on the US, a little Canada, England, and maybe a few other places in Europe and leaves the rest of the world as a giant void it's really hard to keep up. When I'm digging through config files most email addresses I see are US, Germany, England or France.

        I would love to see more Japanese influence on OSS. I absolutely love a lot of Japanese commercial prod

    • If you follow Japanese culture as well as you can from the west, you notice a radically different approach to copyrights. Take "porn". The Disney corporation has cracked down on pornographic parodies of cultural icons it didn't even create. Meanwhile pornographic parody doujins can be sold openly and legally in Japan.

      But within shows, I have noticed far less cross-over. The almost mandatory american sitcom episode where they do an old series seems to be missing from Japan. Or I simply never seen it but in

      • by xaxa (988988)

        But the real reason you see little OSS from Japan in the west is the gigantic language barriers. The Japanese grasp of English is piss poor. So is the average Americans grasp of English but the Japanese are ashamed of it, so they tend online to either hide to avoid shaming themselves or seclude themselves in corners of the net and not come out.

        I spent two weeks on holiday in China, and found it very difficult to talk to people. I made a small effort with Mandarin, but couldn't be understood (beyond some numbers and greetings) even when pointing at the words I was reading from the phrasebook. Adults would talk to me when it was necessary — at hotels, restaurants and so on. But elsewhere, they were really shy. Their children were willing to talk. Several times toddlers walked up to me in the street, "hello, how are you?" "I'm fine, how a

      • by pecosdave (536896)

        I admit the U.S. corporations are horrible copyright grubbers, and stupid laws like the Mickey Mouse Protection Act don't help. The offset that we have however is a huge community around creative commons, OSS, and support of things like the Blender Project (mostly European I know) and The Humble Bundle.

        At least Japan did release a Japanese Language version of Nectaris and MegaMan vs. Street Fighter for free.

  • Bloat (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 23, 2013 @09:07PM (#42992735)

    Every so often something like this comes along to remind me of just how ridiculously bloated UTF-8 is. If you open up a character viewer and browse through the character sets you will quickly find a load of completely miscellaneous symbol sets that are restricted in use to very tiny niches. Wtf is the point? Who decided that just because UTF-8 can represent a large number of characters it should be filled with every character that's ever been used by more than 5 people?

    Go on, explain to me why it's reasonable to use up character slots for parenthesized numbers and letters (0x2474-0x2487, 0x249c-0x24b5) or why you need multiple snowflake characters (0x2731-0x274b). It's just bloat that requires fonts to implement extra, useless symbols.

    Restrict the standard to characters in officially recognized languages and provide escape sequences to switch to embeddable encodings for niche characters that most of us will never even see. It's meant to provide a universal character set for writing text in different languages, not serve as an anthropological archive of humankind's digital semiotics or a toolbox for people with too much time on their hands to try to be cute.

    Someone press the reset button so we can start over without all of this extra crap. And then get off my lawn!

    • is another mans treasure....II have finally found reasons for Unicode...the Backward N in Nine Inch Nails; The Lightning in AC/DC my MP3 collection is finally complete

    • Why? Because there are 2^21 codepoints and there is nothing better to do.

      Also, I'd say it isn't bloated enough, based only on the clusterfuck that is CJK.
    • True. And if we actually do discover life on other plants with different languages, well, we're screwed. I guess we'll have to move to UTF-64.
    • If we hit the reset button, can we also fix ASCII? it is by no mean the minimal set most english speakers think it is.

      Why do we need a character to represent to 'v' one after the other? You could write 'w' with to 'v' and handle the ligature where it should be handled, at display time. There are so few words in English with the sequence vv that it makes no sense to have the special case coded in the encoding.

      Also could we handle the dots on the characters 'i' and 'j' like the diacriticals they are? ther

    • by darpo (5213)

      It's just bloat that requires fonts to implement extra, useless symbols.

      Citation needed. There's no requirement. In fact, most fonts have most of Unicode missing. It'd be insane to try to cover the entirety of Unicode with each new font released. The most complete font I've found is Arial Unicode MS, but even that has vast swaths of Unicode missing.

      I think it's neat that there are so many obscure and interesting uses of Unicode. If you don't agree, well, just don't use it?

      • Citation needed. There's no requirement. In fact, most fonts have most of Unicode missing. It'd be insane to try to cover the entirety of Unicode with each new font released. The most complete font I've found is Arial Unicode MS, but even that has vast swaths of Unicode missing.

        A font represents many characters in a consistent, unique style. Once you have characters that are different enough, trying to have a unique style doesn't make sense. Cyrillic and Latin, that makes sense. You can't really have lowercase greek characters in Arial style, and definitely not Arabic. Just doesn't make sense.

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      The parenthesized numbers are symbols used in publishing that they already had fonts for. The goal of Unicode is to support encoding all forms of written communication, so it includes them.

      As to why they can't just put a number in parenthesise, look at the total disaster that is CJK (Chinese, Japanese, Korean). They tried to combine characters that had the same origin but are written differently in each language, because they are "the same". Now it is impossible to create a font that supports two of those l

      • While I sort of agree with this I think there is a very real counter-argument - that being that when I use my Japanese font and view a Chinese page I want to see the Japanese version of the shared characters. I'd also like to be able to view less-often used Japanese characters that may not exist in my chosen Japanese font, but would exist in a Chinese font on my system.

        Also, for the most part other than writing style most characters will be recognizably similar. I agree with the Unicode implementation for t

        • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

          Okay, say you manufacturer MP3 players and need a font for the display. You will have to ship a different firmware for Japan, China and Korea. Anyone who listens to both Japanese and Chinese music is still screwed.

          One code point per glyph, that's all I ask.

    • by Kjella (173770)

      Most people will never use or even need to understand most words in the dictionary, does it hurt them in any way? The purpose of Unicode is far more practical than "to provide a universal character set for writing text in different languages", it's to end the horrible practice of code pages. To do that, Unicode needs to be a superset of all other code pages, no matter how stupidly they were designed. That is why you have all sorts of control characters and other stuff that absolutely aren't characters, it's

  • What about autism? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 23, 2013 @09:10PM (#42992759)

    I wonder if literary works with emoji glyphs in them such as the mentioned Moby Dick would be helpful to people or children with autism.

  • by EETech1 (1179269) on Saturday February 23, 2013 @09:29PM (#42992831)

    How we'll use the funds

    We're calculating work time at roughly $20 per work hour for Tohyama, which is lower than what we usually bill him at. Even then half of that rate will go to paying Scroll Ninja lead developer Iwakawa so he can continue working on Scroll Ninja... since we didn't get funded but want to continue anyway

    So half of your money won't even go to the project!

    • Hows that a scam (Score:2, Insightful)

      by tuppe666 (904118)

      So half of your money won't even go to the project!

      That is not a scam that is business model [in fact its most business models]. My favourite example of this is Apple make no iPhones...not one; zero; zilch; nada. They get about 40% Net profit on their phones....Foxconn who do the building make 2% profit.

      The reality is if they are not dependent on one stream of revenue...both projects are more likely to succeed.

      • by EETech1 (1179269) on Saturday February 23, 2013 @10:11PM (#42993033)

        If the project was desired it should have been able to get funded on it's own. To force it on an unrelated project to me seems dishonest.

        I know we don't like it when Congress sneaks things in like that, and I know that if I spent half my work time or budget working on a project that was canceled that I just really wanted to see finished anyways, it wouldn't go over to well either.

        The slippery ninja should be able to stand on it's own two feet, not ride on the back of something they feel might have a (better) chance of succeeding after it wasn't successful on it's own.

        It could also cost them investors, and ruin their chance to get this project funded. The two are completely unrelated and someone who wants cute smileys might not want a previously failed ninja side scroller.

        It also makes me wonder if they are paying them $10 an hour each or $20, and how much the icons really cost.

        Is the source code or binary of the game going to be released for free as well, or are they going to sell it and make money off a project for a free product?

        Cheers!

        • If the project team has multiple projects, and its fixed costs can be shared amongst them great, if they manage to produce the final product below the cost of production great...that is profit its what kickstarter is about.

          If you truly believe they are being dishonest [I personally believe what they are doing is a great idea] then to undercut them, is trivial.

          I'm a little concerned that your talking about congress [they have one source of income you] and funding unrelated projects [hey they have multiple k

          • by EETech1 (1179269)

            My comment about Congress was relating to how they put multiple things on the same bill so one gets snuck in with the other that is more popular.

            I just think that a kickstarter should be about one project to be able to have the best chance at success for the investors, especially when the projects as unrelated as these two are.

            Cheers

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Kagetsuki (1620613)

          Scroll Ninja is open source (source available on github) and we believe it failed because we didn't build up enough PR - and part of that is because we didn't have enough of it completed to show off. We'll be re-launching it but we want to have it more completed before re-launch. Figuring doing in OSS project for a flat rate would be something people would approve of we did this.

          You are correct, the rate will be roughly $10 an hour for each of them. Consider that this is well below market rate and that ther

        • If the project was desired it should have been able to get funded on it's own. To force it on an unrelated project to me seems dishonest.

          Well, then how, for example, would Google be able to create and sustain gmail and youtube, without funding from their search activities?

      • by EETech1 (1179269)

        If Apple was going to take half the cost of your itoy (or perhaps double the cost of it so they could make the Apple Lisa the success it should have been, would their investors be all for it?

        Things fail for a reason.

        • If Apple was going to take half the cost of your itoy (or perhaps double the cost of it so they could make the Apple Lisa the success it should have been, would their investors be all for it?

          Things fail for a reason.

          Your quote is Ironic for a couple of reasons, Even Apple has a diverse portfolio [iPod, IPhone, IPad, Advertising, Selling Content, Selling Search Defaults, OSX [other software], iMac], but its investors have wiped 35% of its value in the last 6 Months because its too reliant on its iPhone.

    • Scam? Care to elaborate on how this is a scam? They openly state that this is their plan and it's not even hidden in fine print.

      If you go to a store and someone is selling a new product, tells you the cost, but mentions that half the price of the product is going towards another product he's developing -- is that a scam? Or is that just business in a nutshell?

      Do you honestly think when video game companies make money on games, all that money goes towards patching bugs, creating DLC, or other ongoing mainten

      • by EETech1 (1179269)

        I just think that if half of the money raised is really going to another project that they have a responsibility to the potential investors that the other project should be better defined. What is the game? Any screenshots? A link to a demo, or the current Github page? How is the game going to progress through the different levels of funding? What point is the game at now? At what level of funding is it going to be playable? Can it be completed with 250 hours of work if funded to level one? How will goin

      • Scam? Care to elaborate on how this is a scam? They openly state that this is their plan and it's not even hidden in fine print.

        It's not hidden in the fine print per se, since Kickstarter doesn't allow 'fine print' - but it's not in the title or in the project description or scope of work... it's way down at the bottom.
         
        So, not really a scam - but decidedly misleading, intentionally so.

    • Creator of the project here, and that is correct. Please consider that we won't be selling or profiting from this afterward, and that $10 an hour for a skilled and trained artist is a very low rate. We're scraping by right now, we want a future, and this way we help open source and the community at large.

      • by EETech1 (1179269)

        Hello!

        I guess what strikes me as odd is that you do a good job of providing details about the Emoji, but provide nothing about what Scroll Ninja is even though it is going to consume half of your resources.

        Are there goals for Scroll Ninja to go along with the various levels of funding? Can you provide links to the potential investors that give information on it's current status? What platform is it for? Is it going to be completed (enough to play) if you reach level 1 funding with only 250 hours of time to

        • The description was confusing and misleading so I went ahead and changed it. We'll be feeding any excess back into Scroll Ninja is all. Basically this is what happened:
          1. Scroll Ninja kickstarter failed.
          2. Everybody started scrambling to pick up external work.
          3. While picking up a job we realzed one of the libraries we wanted to use was using the copyright and license infringing Apple emoji.
          4. We brought this to the attention of the author, who hadn't realized himself, and there was some panick. We proposed

  • 1990 called, It wants it's Wingdings back.

  • People used to do this sort of thing for free and he wants, at a minimum $5,000 for supposedly creating from scratch images that are a copy of something that has already been done a thousand times over for free. This sounds like a kid's kickstarter project to avoid having to get a real job.
  • Rei Kagetsuki tried to get kickstarter funding for his Scroll Ninja [kickstarter.com] game just a few months ago - the Scroll Ninja kickstarter failed to meet its minimum goal and was closed in mid January.
    Now Kegtsuki seems to be using this Emoji project as a means to raise funding so he can continue Scroll Ninja development anyways.

    We're calculating work time at roughly $20 per work hour for Tohyama, which is lower than what we usually bill him at. Even then half of that rate will go to paying Scroll Ninja lead developer Iwakawa so he can continue working on Scroll Ninja... since we didn't get funded but want to continue anyway.

    • by j-beda (85386)

      Even more dishonest, they are planning on using some of the money for food! Who knows what their workers will do with the big bucks after they get paid? Maybe go to a movie?

      They say that if they get the money they will make the emoji. They are also saying they will do other things too. If you don't think the money will be well spent, then don't support it.

      I think they made an error in detailing exactly how many hours they are expecting people to work and how much money they are going to pay them. They shou

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