[Fontconfig] q about PCF font

Keith Packard keithp at keithp.com
Fri Apr 1 02:20:18 EST 2005

Around 10 o'clock on Mar 31, Dmitry Karasik wrote:

> I'm curious about why ttf? It's a proprietary format with binary file
> structure.

It's no more proprietary than BDF, which is actually an Adobe standard 
format.  And, it has the distinct advantage of supporting Unicode mappings 
for fonts without wasting megabytes of memory.

> Wouldn't it in that case be easier to change the original bdf file so
> that the glyph definitions and the encoding field there would conform to 
> iso10646-1 ?

The BDF file format isn't really the problem here; it supports Unicode just
fine, but reading BDF files is quite slow and the PCF format uses a linear 
table to map character->glyph making Unicode unusable.

TTF has the added feature of allowing multiple bitmap instances to reside 
in the same file, and having wide support for transcoding already in place 
in the legacy X font support library.  The combination of these means we 
will save a tremendous amount of disk space and hassle.


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