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Open Fonts For The Web -- Harder Than It Sounds 179

simpl3x writes "of the nytimes articles posted today, this one about new, open fonts designed for the web was by far the most interesting. Here is a link to the project site, and here is a reason why it is necessary. For all the talk of the world wide part, the basics are still very local, aren't they? It will be interesting to see how one chooses a character on a keyboard!"
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Open Fonts For The Web -- Harder Than It Sounds

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  • Truth be told... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mstyne ( 133363 ) <mike@alBLUEphamonkey.org minus berry> on Thursday November 07, 2002 @02:38PM (#4618343) Homepage Journal
    I've been using the freefont fontset, and find them pretty nice.

    http://www.nongnu.org/freefont/ [nongnu.org]
  • Standards (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 07, 2002 @02:38PM (#4618347)
    Damn, we can't even get a stand for HTML, and now we're going to try to get fancy fonts a standard?
  • Font Copyright.... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by autopr0n ( 534291 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @02:38PM (#4618349) Homepage Journal
    You know the interesting thing about fonts is that they can't be copyrighted, only trademarked under US law. It seems a bit weird, until you realize the implications... font owners would be able to have some control over any documented printed with their fonts.

    On the other hand, font making people have tried to claim that their fonts are 'software' and thus copyrightable. But if you made a duplicate font 'by hand' it would be legal... but you would have to call it something else, as 'times new roman' and 'verdana' are trademarks of various font providers.

    Another ramification of this is that you can get really cheap fonts for your computer that look exactly the same as some of the most expensive ones.
    • by Wakkow ( 52585 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @02:49PM (#4618426) Homepage
      Read More [uni-mb.si] about how fonts/typefaces can/can't be trademarked, patented, copyrighted, etc.
    • by WillAdams ( 45638 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @03:33PM (#4618789) Homepage
      Actually it's more complex than that.

      A digital font _program_ can be copyrighted.

      The name of a font as you note can be protected by trademark law, as can any other product name.

      see www.typeright.org for more details

      as regards cheap clones, well, sadly there're all too many of them available (and no, I'm not going to cite sources). Fonts like software are hard to create and should only be freely available if the designer so wishes (of course it helps if you get a six digit grant from the Department of the Navy and other sources as did Dr. Donald E. Knuth when he made Computer Modern).

      • >and no, I'm not going to cite sources

        I will [1001fonts.com]!

        Here's another [fontseek.com] one


        And if you have a small bit of pocket change, look for the "Expert Fonts" 1001 font CD (or 200 font diskette sets). If you can find one in a bargin bin, it should cost about $1, considering its age. Fortunately, all the fonts are TrueType. It helped me do some basic DTP for pocket change when I was in high school!

        Because, hey, information like this wants to be free, especially in lots of different fonts.
    • ``On the other hand, font making people have tried to claim that their fonts are 'software'''
      I seem to recall something about hinting in TrueType fonts being implemented in some sort of (virtual) machine code. It seems conceivable that at least that part of the font would be copyrightable.
      • by UberLame ( 249268 )
        In truetype, each glyph has an outline and a program that will tweak the outlines control points for best appearance at the current size. It is extremely cool, but most typeface designers aren't competant to write these programs, and the available tools aren't really that great, so people tend to use programs, like fontographer, that just supply a generic hinting program for each glyph, and that's that.

        There is clearly a lot of work in the software arena that could be done to aid typeface creation but I don't think there is much money in doing so.
    • by UberLame ( 249268 )
      While you can get really cheap fonts that look like the expensive ones, the cheap ones usually aren't as good.

      The reason is that types change as the resolution and size change through some sort of hinting system. In Postscript fonts, I'm not sure how this is accomplished, but I know it is accomplished and rarely copied properly. In truetype fonts, hinting is accomplished by little programs embeded in each font that rearranges the control vertices and other attributes based on the size and resolution, and perhaps other things.

      This of course brings up two of my pet peeves. First is that while truetype fonts are superior to postscript fonts, creating them is also more labor intensive, so there are few really high quality providers of them.

      Second, while truetype fonts are clearly better, the postscript language is so darn cool for writing programs, but you get best advantage doing so if you use real postscript fonts rather than one truetype font that has been converted at different sizes to postscript.

      But anyway, to get back to the topic, the best way to copy a typeface is to print it at several sizes, and also to screen capture it at several sizes, then trace the main one (say 12pt at 300dpi) into your typeface files, then figure out how to set the hinting to approximate the other samples you took.
  • The entire web was founded on the concept that content was king and now it seems all we can talk about it format. I bet Tim Bernard Lee would be spinning in his grave if he knew Slashdot was running articles on how sites should be choosing fonts.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 07, 2002 @02:44PM (#4618389)
      He might be spinning in his grave -- if he were dead.
    • by Pfhreakaz0id ( 82141 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @02:46PM (#4618412)
      this works until your corporate officers are visiting someone at another company and says "well, just pull up our website. It's on there" and sees that (god forbid) it looks DIFFERENT (because he has raised his font size, has a different resolution) and comes screams at the IT department that the web site isn't following corporate look and feel standards.

      That's why, in many large companies, the web site is COMPLETELY under the domain of the marketing department. IT/MIS has absolutely nothing to say about it.

      This is a fact of business life.
      • this works until your corporate officers are visiting someone at another company and says "well, just pull up our website. It's on there" and sees that (god forbid) it looks DIFFERENT

        Excuse me while I chuckle at images of the other company using lynx
      • If the website is informational (ie, not a web application), than marketing is the proper department. None of us think IT should be designing the brochures, do we?
      • Ah, the beauty of having designer monkeys trying to make sure everything is placed to the exact pixel, on every browser... sounds familiar.

        Maybe I should just browse on 256 colors and make them scream when their gradient background fail..
    • Could you be more obscure? I mean, if you look up Tim Bernard Lee in Google, you don't get anything meaningful. You DO get a nice picture of a couple with their brand new baby, but I don't think that's relevant.

      And if anyone is spinning in their grave about Slashdot running articles on fonts, then dear god, how do they react to the stories about Doom being ported to the Nokia phone?

      Isn't the technology all about how the content is presented? Shouldn't that be what geeks care about?

    • Content is King? Content is barely the idiot crown prince who can't stop drooling and is never wearing clean undergarments.

      Seriously, though, proper presentation of content ensures that the content is being accurately conveyed and is comprehensible.

      Garbled content is the Man in the Iron Mask, rightfully king but hidden away.

      • "Seriously, though, proper presentation of content ensures that the content is being accurately conveyed and is comprehensible."

        I'm just trying to fathom where the blinking red windows and flashing "YOU WON" ads and X-10 pop-ups fit into this paradigm of "proper presentation." And don't leave out the Flash animations that take 15 minutes to load over dial-up. I can't help but think of the Sony Pictures website for "Swept Away." The movie can just barely get distribution in major cities and they've got real live employees building cutsy websites.

        As far as I am personally concerned, the web is a cross between high tech mailorder and the old amateur mags (zines, fan- and otherwise) of yesteryear. That corporations seem to think it's a good substitute for web-offset and gravure printed glossy brochures is just hilarious. Those, of course, always did fall under the advertising department.
    • by marhar ( 66825 )
      entire web was founded on the concept that content was king and now it seems all we can talk about it format

      Note that their goal it to create "comprehensive set of fonts that serve the scientific and engineering community in the process from manuscript creation through final publication, both in electronic and print formats."

      Having a consistent method of displaying/formatting formulae and other complex content is a very valuable thing.

      D. Knuth, please call your office!

    • by pergamon ( 4359 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @02:51PM (#4618448) Homepage
      I also doubt that Tim Berners-Lee would like being called Tim Bernard Lee .
    • by WatertonMan ( 550706 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @02:57PM (#4618490)
      The problem is that the separation between form and content isn't as clear as many pretend. Take the obvious example, albeit one not that common any more. Back in the day when there were many different used word processing formats things came up differently. Perhaps the words (the content) were more or less the same. However if tables and so forth came out differently then the content really wasn't the same because of the problem of getting the original content into a form you could read.

      Put in more simple terms - content is only content when it can be discerned as such. Perhaps someone speaking Russian to you is saying something useful. But if you don't speak Russian, it does you know good.

      The big problem from day one with the world wide web was assuming that a very simple display engine was sufficient. This was naive and in part led to all that fracturing of the market that enabled Microsoft to take it over. Yes CSS helps a bit (although it came rather late). However the problem of fonts is still a big one that has not, in my opinion, been adequately solved.

      Admittedly it is one that is more of a problem for people in academics. (i.e. physics and mathematics) And for web display most of these people simply convert their equations to GIFs or (more commonly now) simply keep everything in PDF. While Adobe tried to leverage their Acrobat product as an alternative to many web standards, the fact is that PDFs have many limits.

      And of course there is still that problem of generating PDFs. This being Slashdot and all, I'm sure that all the TeX fans will come out of the woodwork. However for regular users it is often less than helpful. Even the equation editor in Word, while helpful, isn't the ideal solution in my opinion.

      Unfortunately, given that the number of people who write equations is such a small niche, I don't think we'll see this solved in a nice fashion. And, to be fair, things today are VASTLY superior to how things were back in the days of typewriters.

      • Even the equation editor in Word, while helpful, isn't the ideal solution in my opinion.

        I will probably be shot for praising a MS product, but MS Word used to have an excellent method for entering equations. Then MS came out with equation editor (which sucks) and ditched the good thing they had.

        This was way back in MS Word for macintosh circa 1990. IIRC one would type command-\ and it would use an inline encoding to build the equation. So a square root 2 would be typed command-\ r 2 command-\. It produced beautiful results, worked well inline or by itself, was scalable, editable, didn't require one's hands to leave the keyboard, etc.

        The only problem is that it required one to RTFM (or at least RTFHelp-Menu) and remember "obscure" character commands like r=root, i=integral, etc.


    • I don't know who Tim Bernard Lee is, but the inventor of the WWW, Tim Berners-Lee is still alive and kicking as the Director of the World Wide Web Consortium [w3.org].
      • And Tim Berners-Lee would also love the inclusion of all the glyphs in MathML [w3c.org]. The project would make MathML much more attractive, as it offers a solution to the problem brought up in the article: selecting a glyph.


  • Math fonts. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DarkHelmet ( 120004 ) <`ten.elcychtneves' `ta' `kram'> on Thursday November 07, 2002 @02:41PM (#4618368) Homepage
    You had to use math fonts as an example of why this is necessary...

    What about wingdings, you elitist pig?


  • by Anonymous Coward
    corefonts.sourceforge.net [sourceforge.net]

    Yes, I know they're MS fonts
  • Standardization... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by UnidentifiedCoward ( 606296 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @02:45PM (#4618399)
    has always been a problem. When I used to work in academia supporting professors and graduate students who were trying to write papers with inordinately complex mathematical models you begin to understand why it is a problem.

    Really, the methodology for creating the paper depended sharply on the ultimate destination (or publication). Every publisher has their own requirements for typeset, etc. Really you need to convince publishers to agree to accept the font package before it will win broad acceptance.
    • Check the STIx fonts page (second link in the article I think). This is being started by a consortium of publishers. The list of publishers on board is at least a good start. Especially true when you consider how many journals a few of them put out. AIP, ACS, AMS, IEEE, APS and Elsevier. That really covers a huge number of papers which would be trying to publish 'inordinately complex mathematical models.' Yes there are other publishers, but this could rapidly become a standard as people get fed up with (as mentioned in their FAQ) the 'dreaded missing symbol square box.'
    • When I used to work in academia supporting professors and graduate students who were trying to write papers with inordinately complex mathematical models you begin to understand why it is a problem.

      This is a bit weird, since AFAIK, most complex papers involving pure math are written in TeX. If you're doing anything really complex or nonstandard with your equation layouts, there's just no substitute. TeX is not completely standardized (there are freely available addons like LaTeX and LAMS-TeX) but still....

      Really, the methodology for creating the paper depended sharply on the ultimate destination (or publication). Every publisher has their own requirements for typeset, etc

      True. That can get kind of painful in the real world, since style-over-substance rules there and people spend half the day dinking with fonts to get it to look "just perfect". I would expect academic journals to be both exact and sane in their requirements ("use Helvetica 14 Foo for headings, Times New Roman 12 for normal text, Computer Modern 14 for mathematical type, DVI or Quark files.") but that probably doesn't happen since academics are just as stupid as everybody else IME.

      • I think you could reasonably argue that both LaTeX 2e and, probably, the AMS stuff for (La)TeX are standard among the community.

        The TeX community is surely one of the first and best examples of collaborative development. It's free, multi-platform and there's a package available to do almost anything. Sadly, it's also an example of the single biggest drawback: sometimes (the LaTeX 3 project), it just stops when no-one has the time available any more, and everyone using it and waiting for their pet peeves to be fixed is stuffed.

        And by the way, since when was putting Computer Modern and Times near each other even remotely sane? That's why you get alternative math fonts for LaTeX if you're going to be writing in Times! :-)

    • Hmmmm... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by fireboy1919 ( 257783 )
      Like the IEEE journal standard? Or the IEEE article standard?

      I've got latex2e class files for both of those formats, which includes how the fonts should be layed out, figures, bibliography, page numbers, equations, and pretty much everything else.

      I also have one from my University and past university for their thesis formats (at the Undergrad, Grad, and pHD levels for each).

      Publishers just need to get everyone to accept metadata for how they want things to look; changing look and feel and fonts should be easy as long as you're using a WYSIWYM package.

      I don't even know now what they wanted; all I know is that I had to edit one line to make my paper look the way they wanted it to.
  • by Tha_Big_Guy23 ( 603419 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @02:45PM (#4618403)
    There are several implementations in HTML that allow you to upload any font to a clients browser, so that you can display the page, as you intended it, instead of having the client browser pick a font at random for them. It's easy enough to do, just requires one line of code, and the font uploaded to the server.

    I can see, the draw for open source fonts, however. I think the reasoning behind this is that it will allow people to create works, using whatever open source font they want, and not have to worry about paying someone for it. just my Humble opinion... I could be wrong...

    • > There are several implementations in HTML that allow you to upload any font to a clients browser, so that you can display the page, as you intended it, instead of having the client browser pick a font at random for them. It's easy enough to do, just requires one line of code, and the font uploaded to the server.

      This is in a platform, browser independent way? Prove it. I want to see it.

    • While some browsers support the ability to set fonts, there is no font available. That is what the project is trying to do.

      As there is no comprehensive mathematics font in existince, the ability does no good.

    • one line of code? sure, if you only want it to work in one browser! font embedding as it stands now is very tricky, and a huge pain in the ass. in fact, it's nearly so convoluted that it's not worth the effort. there are two major "standards" for doing it, both of them entirely different, and both of them requiring that the font you're attempting to use allow embedding. a lot of fonts have that pesky fsType value set to $0002, which means no editing, no copying, and no embedding.

      of course you can always change that setting with fontographer or whatever type editing prog you wish, but then you're doing something illegal and you could get fired, blah blah blah... :)

    • ``There are several implementations in HTML that allow you to upload any font to a clients browser''
      Right. ``several implementations''. And there's a standard, too (CSS). I'm just afraid that this isn't very well supported (it wouldn't surprise me at all if M$IE didn't grok it, after all, it's a standard. :-/

      The other problem with this is that most fonts either suck, or can't be distributed with websites in this way due to patent || license || copyright issues. Making _your_ fonts available with the website is the last step in the process of fully being able what it looks like - in compliant browsers...
    • Examples of usage are here [glyphgate.com]

    • I can see, the draw for open source fonts, however.

      Hey! It's William Shatner!

  • Ups and Downs (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Aaron Lake ( 521760 )
    As a web developer this sounds great in concept, the ability to use any fontset that will work with any browser sounds great. I'm fearful that this will mean yet ANOTHER plug-in required to view a page. Flash, java, quicktime, real, etc, etc.
  • by ekrout ( 139379 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @02:51PM (#4618446) Journal
    There are many things that I worry regarding the Web, but support for CmdrTacoScribble02.ttf is the least of our worries.

    With large corporations comes a lot of money, which we all know can influence nearly anyone to change their views. Microsoft has near dominance with their Windows + x86 platform and has been trying to change the Web from an open standards-based database of all the information in the World into yet-another-slice-of-the-computing-pie, right next their gigantic slices of Windows and Office.

    So I humbly ask that designers and advocates of the my-font-anywhere revolution talked about in this article don't forget about keeping standards open for all of the Web. This includes not only fonts, but more important subsects such as Web servers, scripting languages, databases, XML, etc.
    • There are many things that I worry regarding the Web, but support for CmdrTacoScribble02.ttf is the least of our worries.

      I have to agree here. The article claims that scientists are fed up with what they perceive to be their only two choices: PDF and special fonts in web pages. Here's a question: why don't they just use PNGs of formulas rendered in the fonts & software of the author's choosing? If hyperlinks within the formula is what they want (though I'm not sure I can see why), they can use an imagemap....

      Just my too scents.
      • PNG och GIF images aren't scalable, searchable, can't be copied and pasted into an equation editor, can't be edited (except pixel by pixel), they're comparatively large etc. If you want to save a web page with lots of equations, you have to make sure to save every single image as well, or the equations won't show up.

        Raster images is probably the worst way to represent equations. The only advantage is that they'll display in any (graphical) web browser.

  • by lightspawn ( 155347 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @02:55PM (#4618477) Homepage
    We discussed the reasons instant messaging software doesn't display non-ISO-8859-1 characters a few weeks ago - where are the smart libraries that can figure out font-groups and tell apps that with the current user preferences, they should display encoding such-and-such using this font, and the other encoding using that one? For that matter the same thing is needed for input (key code * encoding = character) - whose responsibility is that?

    I know this is a little bit off topic, but think about all the kids/adults kids in India (or any non-ISO-8859-1 country) being unable to use certain apps or even operating systems because key aspects cannot be localized.
    • This is a moot point, as the plethora of character encodings will eventually disappear in favor of Unicode. Language tags inside the text will then give the renderer hints which it can use to select a font according to its Unicode coverage tables. Fontconfig for Unix, e.g., can already provide Unicode coverage information and if I'm not completely mistaken, language tag development is happening in Pango [pango.org], the text renderer.

      The mapping of key codes to characters is done by the input driver with a keymap. Modern systems all map their keys to unambiguous Unicode values.

      The problem of character encodings is dying a slow and painful death.

      The best software example I can give that "makes things right" is Gtk 2. With the right fonts installed, every script supported by Unicode "just works" out of the box and in every aspect of the system.
  • by DonniKatz ( 623845 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @03:12PM (#4618590) Homepage
    Go to a major website: /.-google-yahoo-ebay. They don't need any fancy fonts. All that nonsense is like those annoying 'follow-your-cursor' scripts they use at the Angelfire and Geocities sites we all have come to despise. If you really want people to see your CoOl FoNtS, type whatever you want in word, copy it to paint, make the font WHATEVER YOU GOD DAMNED PLEASE, and make it alll a picture file. Or just make people download the font, and if they don't... TIMES ROMAN IS JESUS
    • Or you could go to the article and find out that they need these fonts for mathematical papers which use a fundamentally different character (super)set of our regular fonts.
  • by mughi ( 32874 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @03:15PM (#4618611)
    Wow. And this time it was only back in July (New Royalty-Free Fonts for Scientific Writing/Publishing) [slashdot.org]

    OK. So the previous story included the project name, and this one does not. *sigh*

  • MathML? (Score:3, Informative)

    by leomekenkamp ( 566309 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @03:23PM (#4618678)


    I might be a bit stupid here, but wasn't math-font-problem why the w3c came up with MathML [w3.org]?

    Why not simply use that?

    • MathML allows selection of symbols, but does not have glyphs associated. (IE: you can tell it to use picture #45, but without a font containing picutre #45, you can't draw it.)

      The project would actually support the Math Markup Language.

    • MathML is the Mathematical Markup Language. It is used for representing equations in XML. In order to display MathML content, you need:

      1) A program that handles MathML (Mozilla does, M$IE doesn't)
      2) Glyphs to display the symbols in the equation

      It is the second point that is addressed by those free fonts. AFAIK, MicroSoft core fonts do not contain all the glyphs that are used in equations (just look at the myriad of glyphs TeX can produce). Of course, there's always the excellent collection of fonts by Donald Knuth, which, IMHO, still rules in terms of quality and completeness of mathematical symbols. They don't provide proper internationalization, though.
      • The biggest problem with using prefabbed "glyphs" for these characters it that they won't mesh well into documents created with other fonts... If you make the math font have serifs, it will look out of place in a document prepared largely with helvetica or any one of a number of other sans-serif fonts. If you make the math font without serifs, then you create problems for people who want to use Times Roman or some other similar font. Serifs are only one aspect -- there are also issues like weight/darkness, the way lines and curves are shaped within a font, baseline position, and so many others I can't think of them all right off the top of my head.

        It's a noble endeavor, but doomed to fail, IMO.

  • by Mr. Sketch ( 111112 ) <mister.sketch@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Thursday November 07, 2002 @03:29PM (#4618740)
    The link to why it's necessary doesn't have an explination. All it seems to have is a page of a billion and one math fonts. ..oh wait... nevermind...
  • The STIX fonts look like an interesting idea, but I don't see from the article while they're truly necessary. The Computer Modern fonts used by TeX, the standard for mathematical typesetting, work just fine.

    In addition, the article claims incorrectly that PDFs cannot easily include hyperlinks. I believe the authors of the hyperref package would be fascinated to know this their package allows easy embedding of hyperlinks and anchors into PDF files, such that the links work perfectly in Acrobat, xpdf, and other viewers.

    • Yeah, if this is the only reason they're creating STIX, they're sorely mistaken. While the 'auto' PDF generation tools out there may not all make it easy to get links into your PDFs (I'm thinking the "print as PDF" type tools) - Adobe Acrobat does just fine. Shell out some dough for Acrobat and you can pretty much make PDFs dance. Embed things like SVG and such, even, if I'm not mistaken.

      In any case - hyperlinks would be a piece of cake.
    • at least when used together with Times-Roman text, which is the standard for most major publishers. Almost nothing besides TeX actually uses CM fonts for anything, and the goal here is to have fonts that are very widely usable. Since I'm working on the project I know a little about what we're trying to do... :-)

      The major thing here first is that we've tried to collect all the symbol glyphs used at least occasionally, including alphabetic symbols (script, fraktur, openface, etc.). Not just arrows, or what's in cmex, or the ams groups - but everything we could get our hands on. After collecting the glyphs and associated characters and their meanings in use, we managed to run it through Unicode so the new Unicode 3.2 has standardized positions and descriptions for the majority of the thousands of characters we're working on. The current phase is actual font creation - creating a single set of consistent-looking fonts, with an overall goal of being "Times compatible", in weight, x-height, general style, etc. The final phase will be packaging and distribution; we need to get these in a form that they're usable by both TeX (Type-1's) and general applications on the widest range of OS's (probably OpenType based on the Type-1's).

      Unfortunately, while the hyperref package works fine for TeX (I actually wrote the original HyperTeX standard used to make that happen) I'm not aware of any other publishing platforms that do automatic linking in PDF's - it's pretty rare to see it, anyway. And the end-point of the link may bring up a browser or another acrobat file, depending on where it goes, which makes the whole thing less than seamless... How many times have you actually followed a PDF link? You can always add them manually, but that definitely qualifies as "difficult". In any case, PDF files are a fixed page layout, and tend to be larger than HTML/XML, so they have a number of disadvantages besides linking.
  • Somebody just tell me where I can find the Zodiac (as in the serial killer from the 70s) font. And no, they're not at Killer Fonts [killerfonts.com] I already looked there...
  • Open fonts (Score:5, Funny)

    by Mika_Lindman ( 571372 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @03:42PM (#4618867)
    Yes, we definitely need open fonts. I think that closed fonts such as 'O', 'Q', 'D' are bad for the internet. Also partially closed fonts such as 'A', 'P', 'R' and the rest harm the way net works. We should convert all fonts to open ones, 'I', 'L', 'J' etc.
  • I quote:

    When complete, sometime next fall, the fonts will be shared freely with publishers, software manufacturers and scholars, under the condition that they not be altered.
  • Unicode? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Gropo ( 445879 ) <groopo@@@yahoo...com> on Thursday November 07, 2002 @03:52PM (#4618944) Homepage Journal
    How mainstream is Unicode support in Linux distribs nowadays? Seems to me the problem's already been solved (in OS X and XP anyways)

    I notice that the /code has stripped my unicode characters from my post...

    Many BBS's I frequent allow all kinds of multicultural strangeties such as Tibetan, Sanskrit , Mogolian... Even Mathematics!
  • by Tom7 ( 102298 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @04:17PM (#4619202) Homepage Journal
    If you want your mathematical publications to look really good, just use my fonts.

    http://fonts.tom7.com/ [tom7.com]

    Trust me. Instant PhD.
    • by panaceaa ( 205396 ) on Thursday November 07, 2002 @05:37PM (#4619926) Homepage Journal
      Your fonts are nice. Do you ever consider making more corporate or professional looking fonts? I find that there are lots of people like you creating off-the-wall goofy fonts, which is great (it's art!), but not very usable. Would it be too boring to make more traditional fonts? You can add lots of attitude and feel to your fonts and still have them be usable in papers and in more conservative outlets.

      • Yes, it would be pretty boring. I've done it a little bit for a class I took a few years ago, and it was really not very fun. My feeling is that we have enough corporate-looking fonts already, and that it's much more fun and interesting to push the envelope on new font looks, as well as extend the corporate fonts to cover more of the Unicode charset. I would be interested in a push to create free (as in freedom) corporate fonts to replace existing ones, but it really is a pain in the ass so there'd need to be a good chance of the project producing something worthwhile ...

        I do like to make usable bitmap fonts, though, and I've done some of that.
  • IMNSHO, anybody who is using font tags in their HTML is wrong.

    A browser is for displaying information in an efficient way. It is not for page layout. You want a nicely-printed book, paper, etc, use a document processor. You want to look up information or view pr0n easily, use a web browser.

    • Your use of a browser may be displaying information in an efficient way. I'll wager that 90+% of people using a browser want a visually interesting experience. The web is no longer the preserve of just the odd academic paper, and there is no reason it shouldn't be presented nicely even if it is. If you want a straightforward, no-frills presentation, that's fine, but don't tell everyone else that they're using the web wrong just because it's not your own way. They'll just ignore you, and rightly so.

  • 8. Most fonts today have no more than about 225 glyphs, at most.

    While most TrueType (Windows and Macintosh) fonts today have this limit, Type 1 (PostScript) fonts do not, and can be much larger.

    That really confused me. While fighting with the dreaded Linux font setup, I cursed and cursed Type 1 fonts because they had a limit of 255 characters. TrueType fonts were better - Tahoma, for example, has well over 500 glyphs, not to mention the 20 MB Unicode font from MS.

    Can somebody clarify what is being talked about?
    • Hmm, that answer probably needs to be fixed. I'll mention it to Tim.

      Finally packaging of the fonts is still kind of up in the air - we're looking at Type-1 and OpenType at least, possibly doing a Truetype version as well (hinting would have to be re-done). And then whether the fonts are "big" or "little" ( 256) depends in part on the encoding (that's how Tahoma does their different languages within a single font) - there still seems to be a real 256-character limit to doing anything that can be considered a "symbol" font, but we need to figure out just where we have to bend over to support OS quirks, and where we should just do what the specs say and hope for the best...

      If anybody has any suggestions on this, or knows a person or company that would be particularly helpful (yes we've talked with Adobe and Microsoft - we'd like somebody that would actually spend a bit of time working with us...) please follow up to my email address (above). Thanks!

Marvelous! The super-user's going to boot me! What a finely tuned response to the situation!