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Bitstream/Gnome Release Vera Font Family 363

Posted by michael
from the grand-unified-font-solution-still-elusive dept.
bluephone writes "Gnome and Bitstream have released the final version of the Vera font family. Go get it, install them, and enjoy! They work for Windows and Mac users too!" Our earlier story.
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Bitstream/Gnome Release Vera Font Family

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  • word (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I'm using them right now, and they're simply beautiful. I suggest someone mirrors them before the site is slashdotted...
    • A Mirror (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      here [67.37.26.66]
    • Re:word (Score:3, Insightful)

      by spongman (182339)
      I don't know. I'm not too impressed.

      Here's a comparison of Vera Serif/Sans with Times/Verdana on Windows XP with ClearType at 8 & 12 points (96 dpi): vera.gif [myfriskit.com].

      A few things stand out:

      • vera serif is much bigger than times. it's a bit taller, but it's a whole lot wider.
      • the kerning (spacing between letters) is bad on the vera fonts. for example, check serif's 'az', 'he', 'um', and sans' 'ox', 'og', 'RO'.
      • the kerning is inconsistent between font sizes, too. check sans' 'WN'. in the small size they're cra
  • by AssFace (118098) <stenz77@nOspaM.gmail.com> on Friday April 18, 2003 @08:59AM (#5758623) Homepage Journal
    I followed the links in the article and glanced over it and even searched on Bitstream's own site using their font finder...

    I just want to see what the fonts look like without having to install/download the actual files.

    I'm sure that it would be far too silly for them to have all of this talk and not have a link that shows what they look like - so I'm obviously retarded for not finding said link.

    Anyone want to help a special needs kid and give me a link to what the font looks like?
  • by hfastedge (542013) on Friday April 18, 2003 @09:00AM (#5758625) Homepage Journal
    I did a little googlage:

    http://www.bitstream.com/categories/products/fon ts /vera/
  • Work on Windows? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by DrXym (126579)
    They don't for me. I double click on any .ttf file and XP complains "The requested file was not a valid font file.".
    • Re:Work on Windows? (Score:3, Informative)

      by DrXym (126579)
      LOL, I solved my own problem. Cygwin's "tar jxf" command helpfully extracted the files without giving me permission to read them afterwards :)
  • by gillbates (106458) on Friday April 18, 2003 @09:06AM (#5758654) Homepage Journal

    Considering that one of Linux/Gnome/KDE's weakest points has been its poor support for fonts.

    Quite frankly, I'm glad to see this. The early fonts that came with X were simply horrible when compared to what MS was offering at the time. With better looking fonts, we are one step closer to widespread adoption of Linux on the desktop.

    • by zmotula (663798)
      Still the sad thing about fonts in X is the poor rendering (even with antialiasing turned on) compared to Windows or MacOS X. Without antialias, cursive fonts are nearly unusable (at least on all the machines I work with). With antialias, the characters have got uneven brightness and fuzzy edges; horizontal lines are too thick (antialiased Mozilla being a perfect example)... Paint to look at.
    • Redhat 9 (Score:3, Interesting)

      by kajoob (62237)
      I just installed RH9 and the fonts are friggen amazing. Even in Mozilla. I've had XFT running on previous versions of RH and 'borrowed' the TTF's from windows but they still don't look this good. Does anybody know what RH did to make the fonts look this good?
      • Re:Redhat 9 (Score:4, Informative)

        by CommandNotFound (571326) on Friday April 18, 2003 @10:30AM (#5759112)
        Pixie dust. Or, more accurately, the xft2 library which renders the fonts. RH8.0 used it, but the Mozilla RH8 shipped with was not compiled against the library unless you compiled it yourself or downloaded the _rh8_xft mozilla rpms. I had no idea how much the font renderer mattered before RH8... pretty much any font looks good onscreen with xft + AA.

        Yes, it is quite impressive, especially considering that without anti-aliasing the Luxi fonts don't look that impressive. This is the first system besides a Mac that I've been able to use anti-aliased fonts and not get a headache or annoyed. I much prefer the RH fonts to my XP box at work, which I set to disable AA below about 14 points because the clarity suffers IMO.
        • Re:Redhat 9 (Score:3, Informative)

          by KeyserDK (301544)
          It is not Xft that renders fonts. It's the freetype lib. Xft is a client side API that uses fontconfig to select fonts. If you update your freetype lib to 2.1.4 you will probably see a few more enhancements.

          Instead you should really appreciate the amazing work that has been done by the freetype project. Especially David Turner has been cranking out algorithms to make your linux desktop look nice with AA fonts, even without the patented hinter.

  • by Maxlor (315315) on Friday April 18, 2003 @09:07AM (#5758659)
    click here [maxlor.com]
    • Mind telling me what your Mozilla font settings are?
    • by 1u3hr (530656) on Friday April 18, 2003 @10:50AM (#5759249)
      Very disappointing to see that the serif form has only a regular and bold form, no true italics, so your screenshot shows the loathsome synthetic oblique version -- ie, just distorted the roman, no changes in letterform. Most true italic fonts have distinctive forms for "a", "g", "f". So I'll be sticking to Times or Georgia for my screen fonts. I really HATE it when the OS messes with my fonts -- if there's no real italics, don't give me ersatz
      • Agreed. Why would they release a font without real italics? And treat it as the savior of the linux desktop... Kinda ruins the whole thing.
        • Re:Italics? (Score:3, Informative)

          by 1u3hr (530656)
          I dug around and found this [gnomedesktop.org] on gnomedesktop.org.

          Re: Vera fonts status...
          by jg on Wednesday, April 16 @ 13:58:57 EST

          No Serif italic or bold italic for the time being. Sorry.

          Jim Lyles is pretty happy (as happy as one can be) about the artificial obliquing that Xft/ Fontconfig will perform, so you can get something that looks like it in applications like mozilla.
          - Jim

          Well, I hope he reconsiders.

          • Re:Italics? (Score:4, Informative)

            by jg (16880) on Friday April 18, 2003 @02:52PM (#5761020) Homepage
            Jim would of course prefer to have the
            time to build serif italic faces; but the
            artificial obliqing (for most, but not all
            people) is preferable than having the
            faces indistinguisable or choosing a different
            family.

            He did say if he somehow got the opportunity,
            he'd build them at the angle we use in fontconfig
            by default (I think it is 10degrees).

            I believe you can tell fontconfig not to use the
            artificial obliquing if you want to.
            - Jim
        • There are words about gift horses here that
          might apply...

          In any case, Bitstream had never built
          serif italic faces for Prima, Vera's progenitor.
          - Jim
  • copyright, etc (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ergonal (609484) on Friday April 18, 2003 @09:16AM (#5758691)
    To me, a lot of fonts are pretty similar to each other (in the various "genres" of fonts, anyway).. Does anyone know HOW much they have to differ to avoid copyright issues, etc? It would appear to be a very fine line.
    • Re:copyright, etc (Score:2, Informative)

      by protoshoggoth (588994)
      In the US, it is not possible to copyright a 'font' itself--that is to say, the actual images of the letters. What is copyrighted and licensed is the software to display/hint the font. So all the usual tests for 'is this the same software' apply.

      As for outside of the US, where the fonts themselves are copyrightable...well, I'm sure there are legal standards, and I'd imagine they're rather arbitrary. How could they not be? You're right, so many fonts look so similar. Quick--is it Univers or Albertus

    • Re:copyright, etc (Score:5, Informative)

      by sh4de (93527) on Friday April 18, 2003 @09:43AM (#5758831)

      Copyright laws are strange in this respect. You can't copyright the look of your font, just its name. More information here [mcgill.ca].

      Type foundries have (ab)used this oversight for decades, producing clones of other foundries' popular fonts, with different names.

      That's why there's Swiss [myfonts.com] from Bitstream and Arial [myfonts.com] from Monotype, both Linotype Helvetica [myfonts.com] clones, Book Antiqua [myfonts.com] from Monotype, a Linotype Palatino [myfonts.com] clone, and hundreds of others.

      • Re:copyright, etc (Score:3, Interesting)

        by liquidsin (398151)
        And now for some good, typical Slashdot fun, this site [iliveonyourvisits.com] seems to think it was Microsoft who stole helvetica and made arial. There are some slight differences, as are outlined here [ms-studio.com].
      • Re:copyright, etc (Score:2, Interesting)

        by MarsCtrl (255543)

        That's why there's Swiss [myfonts.com] from Bitstream and Arial [myfonts.com] from Monotype, both Linotype Helvetica [myfonts.com] clones, Book Antiqua [myfonts.com] from Monotype, a Linotype Palatino [myfonts.com] clone, and hundreds of others.

        IIRC, this was the motivation behind the naming of Apple's fonts. Rather than paying royalties to Linotype for their fonts, Apple created their own, and mimiced the names. Thus, Geneva from Helvetica, New York from Times, etc.

        • Re:copyright, etc (Score:3, Informative)

          by 1u3hr (530656)
          IIRC, this was the motivation behind the naming of Apple's fonts. Rather than paying royalties to Linotype for their fonts, Apple created their own, and mimiced the names. Thus, Geneva from Helvetica, New York from Times, etc.

          No, the Mac "city" fonts were all bitmap screen fonts. There were no screen vector fonts for the desktop -- this was before Truetype or ATM . When Adobe brought out ATM it was usually bundled with Adobe versions of Helvetica, Times, etc.

          Later Truetype versions of the city fonts, Ch

    • Re:copyright, etc (Score:3, Informative)

      by mdemeny (35326)
      I recall that in old versions of CorelDraw, they had thousands of fonts which were nearly indentical to known fonts, exploiting the fact that you can't copyright letterforms.

      Ottawa was Optima, Erie was Eras, Switzerland was Helvetica, etc...

      Here's a handy-dandy lookup guide. [nwalsh.com]

    • It IS a very fine line-- you can copyright the font binary or the font source, but the appearance of the font cannot be copyrighted.
  • by wfmcwalter (124904) on Friday April 18, 2003 @09:19AM (#5758701) Homepage
    On a related note, can anyone recommend a decent open source / free software graphical font design tool ? I looked into this a few years ago and things deemed to be in a crufty state of disarray. What do folks use now?
  • Screenshot. (Score:5, Informative)

    by 13Echo (209846) on Friday April 18, 2003 @09:19AM (#5758702) Homepage Journal
    Here's a screenshot of it on my machine, with OpenOffice.org.

    Vera. [freeshell.org]

    It's a nice font set to start from. I hope that the community can use it to create a unicode version.
    • "The page you are trying to reach is inaccessible because the
      user has exceeded their allotted daily quota."

      Wow some host you got there. So which quota do you have? The 10MB daily one? ;)
      • 50 MB. But it goes fast with a Slashdotting. Actually, I wasn't too worried because generally, a single image can handle the Slashdotting and ity staysunder 50 MB. That wasn't the case today, apparently.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 18, 2003 @09:26AM (#5758734)
    Click here [pj64cheats.net]
  • Postscript? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by truenoir (604083) on Friday April 18, 2003 @09:29AM (#5758751)
    Any chance for Postscript versions of the font too in case someone wants to use it for serious printing?
  • by Jon Abbott (723) on Friday April 18, 2003 @09:29AM (#5758752) Homepage
    Vera sans seems very similar to Verdana, while Vera serif seems very similar to Century. I never previously considered Verdana and Century to be similar (disregarding serifs of course), but Vera draws this strange similarity together quite easily.

    OK, I admit it, I'm a font geek... I can readily identify what fonts that restaurants use on their menus, and so on. If I ever became a superhero, that would probably be one of my superpowers. :^)
    • Nothing to be ashamed of, it's a fun hobby.

      On a side note, have you noticed the mass proliferation of Gill Sans over the last 6-12 months? While it's always been a popular font, I have a feeling that its inclusion with both OS X and XP has caused its frequency of usage to skyrocket...
      • Yeah, Gill Sans seems to be enjoying the same limelight that Officina Sans [adobe.com] did a few years back (this is the font that Iomega used for a long time). I have also noticed a slightly increased use of sans fonts with curly lower-case "L" letters -- I really like these though, so I have no complaints. My favorite in this category is the DIN Schriften [adobe.com] set, which is used for roadsigns and license plates in Germany.
      • I can't find Gill Sans on my obsolete Windows XP Professional partition. Are you sure it does not come with MS Office or where did you get it?
  • Vera! (Score:3, Funny)

    by swordboy (472941) on Friday April 18, 2003 @09:32AM (#5758761) Journal
    Vera!

    What has become of you?

    Does anybody else in here feel the way I do?
  • A Review. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Frank Grimes (211860)

    I just installed these fonts with

    tar -xjvf ttf-bitstream-vera-1.10.tar.bz2
    cp ttf-bitstream-vera-1.10/*.ttf ~/.fonts/

    They are good looking fonts that render well under X11 with xft. On the other hand, I don't like them that much; as a matter of personal preference, I find them too short and fat.

  • Where are these new fonts suppposed to be copied to on Linux? /usr/share/fonts ? and does it need to be in a subdirectory? I know i'm supposed to know this, but it'd be nice if they explained on the site anyway.
    • Where are these new fonts suppposed to be copied to on Linux? /usr/share/fonts ? and does it need to be in a subdirectory? I know i'm supposed to know this, but it'd be nice if they explained on the site anyway.

      To install them system wide, put them in a subdirectory of /usr/share/fonts (like /usr/share/fonts/vera/), and then, in /usr/share/fonts/, run fc-cache, which will update the font cache file, and the fonts should be visible everywhere.

  • Beautiful font (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ender Ryan (79406) on Friday April 18, 2003 @09:43AM (#5758833) Journal
    This font is probably the most beautiful font I have ever seen, especially the serif font. It is by far the most easily readable serif font ever. I normally despise serif fonts because I find them pretty unreadable, but Bitstream Vera Serif rocks.

    It's really good to finally have a high-quality free font set.

    FWIW. YMMV.

  • by zsazsa (141679) on Friday April 18, 2003 @09:51AM (#5758882) Homepage
    I just installed these on my Windows machine. The monospace font is excellent. Until now I haven't seen a decent TTF monospace font that was properly hinted to keep it from looking horrible at 9pt, but still nice and smooth at large sizes.

    The Lucida Sans monospace font that came with Windows pales in comparison to Vera Sans Mono, even though the Lucida family was supposedly designed with bitmap screens in mind [adobe.com].
    • Agreed -- this one is *finally* looking rather good. I've previously used Courier New and Andale Mono. I found Andale Mono to look slightly better, but I use ClearType with Windows and the anti-alias seem to reduce the readability of Andale a bit more than Vera already at 10 pt. I'd assume even worse at 9 pt.
    • I'm using Luxi Mono size 8 in SuSE 8.2 and size set to small in konsole, and I'm very happy with it.
      I'm working on a 800x600 screen and this small fonts allows me to work with two terminals alongside.

      Here's [vandenoever.info] a screenshot.
    • by YellowBook (58311) on Friday April 18, 2003 @10:58AM (#5759302) Homepage
      The monospace font is excellent. Until now I haven't seen a decent TTF monospace font that was properly hinted to keep it from looking horrible at 9pt, but still nice and smooth at large sizes.

      Andale Mono (the font formerly known as Monotype.com) is quite good. However, at least in the gratis version, it isn't a complete font family; it doesn't have bold and italic. Because of this, it's not perfectly suited for things like terminals or text editors.

      Bitstream Vera Sans is great for these purposes. The betas had some problems (it had a kind of awkward, semi-serifed appearance, and it was hard to distinguish O from 0 and l from 1), but these have been fixed for the release.

  • Mandrake Rocks (Score:4, Informative)

    by Christianfreak (100697) on Friday April 18, 2003 @09:54AM (#5758900) Homepage Journal
    If you have Mandrake, untar the directory somewhere

    click 'Mandrake Control Center'
    System-> Fonts-> Advanced

    Click add, select the directory, close the Add window. Click install list. Voila! New fonts no messing with X configs or even restarting it.
  • Sorry for being dumb (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Loosewire (628916)
    But why are fonts so valuable?
    I keep seeing fonts which are expensive to buy.
    Buy fonts???? but their just pictures of letters...
    Again - sorry for being dumb
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Because someone has to actually draw each character from A-Z, a-z, numbers, funky characters, set the correct kerning for each character, and it all has to look just right at different sizes.
    • by Jugalator (259273) on Friday April 18, 2003 @10:22AM (#5759052) Journal
      But why are fonts so valuable?
      I keep seeing fonts which are expensive to buy.
      Buy fonts???? but their just pictures of letters...


      I think it's because fonts often tend to become associated with a trademark. The font developers probably know this and set the licensing costs accordingly.

      For example... The Lucida Grande font has become associated with the Aqua interface and is further tied into the new Apple "style" since it's used all over www.apple.com.

      Another example... The Exocet font went well-known to all Blizzard fans since it was used in Diablo I and of course also used in Diablo II since it had become closely connected to the Diablo games by then.

      I don't think fonts are often expensive just because it took a long time to create all the letters. It's probably more to it than that.
      • by GauteL (29207) on Friday April 18, 2003 @01:58PM (#5760620)
        Oh.. I'm sorry, but fonts are a HUGE amount of work. Much more than you or the original poster realize. TTF-fonts is much more than just creating a few bitmaps, since they have to scale.

        They have to be hinted to make sure they scale perfectly (which is incredibly hard).

        Creating funky and flashy fonts are mostly much easier than creating very readable fonts. Microsoft paid one of the best font designers to create Verdana and Georgia (actually he was regarded as THE best), and if I remember correctly it took him at least a year.
    • Because designing a good font--particularly a good body font--is a lot harder than people seem to think it is. And despite what the other reply to you said, it has very little to do with brand names.

      First and foremost, you're designing something that has to be independent of output devices. It has to look perfect on a laser printer and a high-end typesetter, and look at least readable on a screen. These aren't just "pictures of letters," they're mathematical descriptions of letters.

      Second, if you're doi


  • Tried Vera on a Win XP machine. The Bitstream Vera Sans Mono (the full name of the font) font looks great!! Thanks to everyone who made it available. Lucida Console is an excellent monospaced font, but it does not have enough space between lines. Bitstream Vera Sans Mono has sensible spacing.

    It is very, very difficult to make a good font. Those who are knowledgeable about computers tend to be very insensitive to graphical clarity, I've found, although that is changing, it seems.

    Bitstream Vera Serif
  • Relative Font Sizes (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Skidge (316075) on Friday April 18, 2003 @10:37AM (#5759156) Homepage
    I tried using these fonts in Mozilla, but my problem with them is that the serif font is much larger than Times New Roman on my Windows machine (actually, my problem is that Times New Roman seems to be smaller than most other fonts). Many web designers seem to do their work, font-size-wise, with the default size of Times New Roman as their basis. So when using other fonts (Verdana, for example since it's very popular on the web), they size it down a bit so its comparable to TNR. Before CSS became widespread, TNR would default size="3", and Verdana would usually be set by a designer at size="2", or now with CSS some set Verdana at size=80%. So, when changing out your Serif font to one that's larger, like this new Bitstream one, the pages using the browsers default font seem huge. I moved the default font size down a bit, but then on other pages with relative font sizes everything was tiny.

    Since I can't change the web designing habits of people everywhere, I changed it back to Times New Roman.
  • I'm not incredibly impressed. I think the Adobe-Helvetica family is much easier to read, and it's been a part of XFree for as long as I have used it.

    These are too wide. For fixed-width terminal fonts, I like the jmk collection. I haven't looked at the serif vera, so maybe it is better than, say, Times, but I don't tend to use serif on screen anyway.

    • And to follow up to my own post:

      This *is* a nice fontset, I didn't mean to slam it. I just prefer what was already available on the linux boxen I use. Now for windows, this will be great, since I have yet to find a decent monospace font on that platform. I will be trying it the next time I have to sit in front of one of those awful things.

  • Stick them in whatever directory you want, if that directory isn't already in XF86Config, then add it. Run "xset +fp /new/font/path" then "xset fp rehash".

    In that dir, run mkfontdir and then "ttmkfdir -o fonts.scale". Should work.
  • How does it perform with smilies?

    The slight offset of the monospaced closing round bracket gives your smiles a new and cheeky character of their own.

    Check out some smilies [barrysworld.net]
  • Computer Modern? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by N1KO (13435)
    Whenever the topic of fonts comes up, I always see people complain that linux doesn't have good font support.

    The set of fonts that comes with tetex is amazing yet nobody has made a good conversion to use under X (the fonts have a weird encoding that doesn't work well under anything other than tex/latex).
  • That was easy (Score:3, Informative)

    by Daniel Phillips (238627) on Friday April 18, 2003 @11:52AM (#5759637)
    Installing on debian sid turned out to require nothing more than copying the .ttf files to /usr/share/fonts/truetype/, and they were available immediately.

    Comparing to MS Verdana - looks the same, but with more styles. Unlike Verdana, the oblique isn't misnamed as italic. The serif version looks decent as a screen font at small sizes.

    Good, it's as good or better than Verdana in every department, that's one sorta-free font I can lose.
    • Ahh, I was curious as how to do that. I was dreading having to run xmkmf or whatever and tons of other shit to make ttf fonts work in the past. Or do you have to run an xfont server to get this copy to directory capability?

      I wonder how long before these fonts will be available via apt?
  • no latin-2 :( (Score:3, Interesting)

    by szo (7842) on Friday April 18, 2003 @11:55AM (#5759662)
    Would it really hurt to include the characters and ? Damn. Still no good font for us :( Szo
  • by Quietti (257725) on Friday April 18, 2003 @12:16PM (#5759835) Journal
    Given that Gnome 2.2 uses UTF-8 by default, I wonder why these ISO-8859-1/9/15 fonts were not merged into a UTF-8 skeleton to which e.g. Cyrillic, Hellenic and missing Latin glyphs could be added? Then, we would really have a good starting point for what could become a GOOD default system font, not just in Gnome but in XFree86 too.

    Right now, the default Adobe fonts that ship with XFree86 are pretty crap! Granted the URW fonts released thru the Gimp site could be good as well and maybe should replace the tired old Adobe fonts. In any case, I think that, from now on, XFree86 should ship with only 3 fonts by default: serif, sans, mono - all in UTF-8.

    Whether the Type1 URW fonts or these new Bitstream fonts should get that prestigious role remains an open issue, but in any case, the fonts should cover as much of UTF-8 as possible and at least all of the following: Arabic, CJK (simplified forms only), Cyrillic, Latin, Hellenic, Judaic. Once we have that, we have default UTF-8 base fonts equal in strenght to Arial/Times New Roman/Courrier New, which any application can expect to find. This would at least solve the problems experienced by Opera and OpenOffice, for selecting sensible default fonts.

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