[Fontconfig] Overly aggresive English orthography?

Keith Packard keithp at keithp.com
Tue Dec 14 13:26:26 EST 2004

Around 17 o'clock on Dec 13, John Thacker wrote:

> That is part of it.  The problem is that there are several possible goals
> and situations.  There are two different approaches.  One is to render
> an entire document with a single font when possible.  Another approach is 
> to render different orthographies in a single document with the "best"
> font for each orthography/language.

I believe these two approaches must be used in conjunction, and that 
software can 'guess' when each approach should be used, but provisions for 
user-specified overrides may need to be permitted.  No single approach 
will work for all documents and users.

However, we should strive for reasonable and predictable behaviour from 
fontconfig so that people aren't just confused by the weird results and 
have some chance of actually figuring out how to make it do what they want.

> E.g., if I'm reading something in English which suddenly quotes Dutch
> and uses ij or references a Welsh placename and uses ŵ, then maybe I just
> want the whole document to use Verdana, which contains both, rather than
> using Luxi Sans for everything except the words containing those two 
> letters, even though Luxi Sans is normally my first choice for English.

As Fontconfig can't know about the actual document content directly, the 
only way to have applications automatically present this as you desire is 
to have them construct the set of necessary Unicode values for the 
document and ask Fontconfig for fonts containing those codepoints.  The 
use of lang tags in fontconfig is both a short-hand notation for these 
Unicode sets and a predictive mechanism for guessing what future glyphs 
may be presented for drawing.


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