Global config for fonts depending on language

Nicolas Mailhot nicolas.mailhot at
Fri Oct 5 08:18:10 PDT 2007

Le Ven 5 octobre 2007 16:27, Gerrit Sangel a écrit :

> due to some Unicode restrictions (Han Unification for example), one
> single Unicode font (like Code2000) is not sufficient.

This is not 100% true, the locl opentype feature allows you to define
several language-dependent versions of the same unicode point within a
font. It's supported by pango, and is the standard way every modern
font handles the difference between russian and blakanic cyrillic for

Another very important opentype feature, base, is not supported yet by
pango though. It allows defining different metrics for different
unicode blocks within a font, since every script has not the same
metric needs.

But the fact is, wide coverage fonts are technically possible, the
problem is we don't have any of them freely available now. (Code2000
and friends achieved coverage at the cost of font consistency, so
they're not really useful to normal users)

> Some applications, for example Firefox, have a font config utility
> where you can select fonts depending on language, for example a
> specific font for Korean and another one for Japanese.


> The problem is  that this then only works in Firefox.

That is the main problem

> Some other applications do not even have a font selection
> utility, so this is not very convenient.

Because other applications rely on system-wide configuration instead
of reinventing the wheel.

> I think it would be nice to have a global font config,

Such a thing exists under Linux, BSD and for the *nix apps ported to
windows. It's the fontconfig system every good *nix app written in
this millenium uses.

I'd advise you to acquaint yourself with fontconfig. It's inteded to
do what you ask, and it mostly succeeds. (mostly because it fails in
some specific cases, but that does not mean fontconfig is flawed by
design, just that it needs extension)


Nicolas Mailhot

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