Nice proposal. A lot of apps could benefit from a good shared font
selector -- it's not just an issue of one app, as you point out.

I love the idea of font groupings. I don't mind editing an XML file,
but I'm sure it wouldn't take much to whip up an app to help people
customize their downloaded fonts, compared with the rest of the
work involved in the proposal.

Tooltips over menus can be really annoying, because while they're
showing more information about one entry they're preventing you from
scanning all the other entries. You can move the mouse outside the
menu, but it's a shame to have to mouse in to scroll, then quickly
mouse out before the tooltip blocks the list you're trying to read.
Please consider making that part optional, or skipping it.

One more UI issue you don't address: the length of the font list
can be a problem, especially if you have a lot of fonts installed.

The current GIMP font list (and your proposal looks similar) pops up
as a combobox that shows, on my system, 9 fonts at a time. Exploring
the whole list through this small window takes a long time and a lot
of clicking.

Sometimes I really miss having a font selector dialog which I could
resize to show a long list, so that I could scan through more quickly
without needing to scroll so many times. 

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