[Fontconfig] Localizing font family and style names

Keith Packard keithp at keithp.com
Tue Nov 30 09:34:16 EST 2004

Around 14 o'clock on Nov 29, Phil Race wrote:

> But also what I was getting at here was to say "please don't make
> the English name the only name, and probably not even the preferred name".
> It sounds like you concur that users probably want font names they
> can read.

Right. The question is whether we should guide the name presentation by 
locale or by the "native" language for the font itself.  I submit that if 
we can reasonably reliably determine the native language of the font that 
we should always present names in this format; multi-lingual users will 
appreciate the ability to select fonts in the target language and 
mono-lingual users may well appreciate the identification of fonts not 
targeted at their language.

> But even that although useful is not always what you need.
> A font can be commonly specified some times with its English name
> and sometimes with its localized name. Imagine a document that has
> font names embedded. If it was embedded by someone running in Locale A
> and read by someone in Locale B, I wouldn't want to be unable to find
> the font just because the document creator used his preferred name.

Again, I agree.  Font names must be locale insensitive.  That can be 
effected by either matching against all names or by choosing the 'true' 
name in a locale independent fashion. Fontconfig currently selects the 
latter course; the easiest thing to do would be to simply change how the 
'true' name is selected to identify the native names.

> The bulk perhaps but I've seen fonts with many localised names.
> Perhaps I've spent too long looking at windows fonts where they
> have names in Spanish, French, etc, etc, for Pan-European fonts
> like Arial.

Well, there's our answer then -- pan-european fonts provide an example of 
fonts which really do have multiple localized names and for which one 
single name cannot suffice.

> I don't think not having a localized name is a safe way to decide if
> a font supports a language. I expect there are perfectly decent Latin
> fonts that don't have an Italian name.

(Fontconfig compares a faces Unicode coverage against orthographies for
over a hundred languages to determine language coverage)

> Having said that, in practice what I do to select as the "preferred name"
> is use the first one of :
> - Name for user's language
> - English name
> - First name in the font (I assume there's at least one name!)

For you, the first two are equivalent.  And, for many, the first is not a 
singleton, but locales provide no way to express a list of languages.

I would almost buy using English for the default presentation, but I see no
reason not to let the font itself guide the process.  Surely it is
reasonable, and possibly even preferred, to present a Chinese face as
the Chinese name for a user in a Japanese locale (although, perhaps using a
Japanese font).

> I do the above because at some point you have to have a name ..
> the obvious difference from fontconfig is that I ignore the postscript name.

Fontconfig is currently desparate for an English (or at least ASCII or 
Latin-1) name, and for some fonts this was the only such name.  I think 
it's preferrable to using the file name...

> I am curious about the term 'native' name I'm not sure that there is really
> a "distinguished" name. ie in the TrueType font file they are all just
> names and its the context in which you use them.

I was suggesting (and you provided the Arial counter example) that
fonts would have a name in the language for which the font was designed 
and which would be easily identified.  This could be the 'native' name of 
the font.

> Yes. Full Face names are sometimes not the same string as
> Family Name + SPACE + Style Name

Ok, if this happens some times, then we can add code to store the correct 
full name when it is not in this form.  For cases when the full name *is* 
in this form, I suggest that we not store the full name separately and 
expect that applications can construct it themselves.

> I can't remember offhand how frequently this occurs but its something
> that can and does happen and we have to deal with it.

We can easily compute this once the above code is written.


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