OSDL DTL Tech Board: Fonts & Linux (Thu, Aug 31)
James Richard Tyrer
tyrerj at acm.org
Wed Aug 30 01:13:45 PDT 2006
Bastian, Waldo wrote:
> The OSDL DTL Technical Board is organizing a number of conference calls
> on topics that, the tech board believes, are affecting Desktop Linux
> adoption. This week's agenda topic is dedicated to Font support on
> OSDL DTL organized the second OSDL Desktop Architects Meeting (DAM)
> earlier this year and the availability and support of high quality fonts
> in emerging markets (e.g. Asia) as well as document fidelity between
> different Linux distributions were identified as font-related issues
> that could be improved.
> We hereby want to invite interested people to this weeks DTL Tech Board
> Call to talk about current efforts around fonts, licensing, etc.
> Goal for the call is to improve the understanding of font issues as they
> exist in current generation Linux Desktop systems, inform people about
> current initiatives related to fonts and, if possible, mobilize
> individual contributors, OSDL and other corporate resources to help
> these efforts along.
In case I don't get to discuss this on the call, my main problem with
fonts on Linux is that some apps don't work correctly with fonts.
I have (for example) these Helvetica Type1 fonts installed:
PS Font Name PFB File
The old X system has them listed correctly. FontConfig has them listed
KDE manages to find 6 of the Helvetica and 4 of the Helvetica Rounded.
Perhaps the fault lines in Qt.
OpenOffice manages to find 6 of Helvetica but they aren't the same 6.
KDE is better since at least it has the standard 4 faces (regular,
oblique, bold, bold-oblique), but OO seems unable to find regular and
oblique. It finds 4 of Helvetica Rounded but (again) not the same ones
and bold-oblique isn't there. If I had paid full price for these
rather than getting them secondhand, I would not be happy about this. :-)
GNOME does better in this example since if finds all of them. I suppose
that it probably makes some errors on more obscure fonts and I haven't
checked every font lately. However, I do have a complaint with GNOME,
the font chooser doesn't list the fonts in a logical order if they are
The other issue which does seem to be an issue with X and FontConfig is
that the fonts are handled differently depending on whether they are
Type1 or TrueType. For example: Helvetica Narrow Bold. With Type1, the
family is: "Helvetica", but with TrueType the family is: "Helvetica
Narrow". This issue starts with the way the font name is formatted in
the font file. However, this does not provide a consistent (or good)
user interface -- 16 faces in a jumbled order is not good (and there are
more kinds of Helvetica available). The dialogs seems to be designed
for the TrueType system so it would probably be better to convert the
Type1 font names to the TrueType font name schema.
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