Improving the font landscape in GNOME.

Ideas/specs from the Libre Graphics Meeting, the Ubuntu summit and the GUADEC around fonts.

Bof reports

Font BoF @ Libre Graphics Meeting 2006 in Lyon

After a ligthning talk on the OFL (OFL: enabling collaborative font design), a BoF was organised around fontforge and open font developement with

Discussion subjects included:

  • hinting, the difficulties for designers and the lack of good tools, the possibilities to make hinting smarter with the rendering stack
  • Owen Taylor's hinting review tool

  • font licensing and the working model of the OFL

  • the problems with embedding fonts and certain license requirements
  • consolidating various projects around font catalogs (like with the need to emphasize quality and the possible problems with public domain from the designer's perspective -> the most mature being

  • the suggestion to extend ccHost to support the OFL
  • wishlists/feature requests for fontforge and related tools
  • a common font format between Fontforge and FontLab (UFO)

  • a python interpreter for fontforge to be able to reuse FontLab scripts

  • using Inkscape to do glyph design
  • the research on curves by Raph Levien
  • designing smart fonts (Opentype, AAT and Graphite)
  • the ubuntu-title and Fedora_infinity font projects
  • ways to reach the AtypI font design community: doing sessions at the Typetech forums or Robofab conferences
  • ways to coordinate work on features in a team of designers
  • ways to use revision control: svn, svk or bzr for the font design workflow
  • the font widget proposal by Ed Trager

  • Xetex: a fontconfig-aware TeX using native smart fonts

  • better internationalisation of the font preview for GIMP (implemented post-LGM by Tor Lillqvist)
  • moving forward via

Font BoFs @ Ubuntu Summit 2006 in Paris

The post-Dapper and Edgy preparation Ubuntu summit happened in Paris. Two font-related specs were discussed there with:

Font management

  • providing a smarter font list
  • exposing the font metadata
  • improving nautilus to expose current fonctionality and extend it to handle fonts better
  • provide more internationalised font previews

Open fonts

  • doing a distributed review of the most appropriate fonts per locale, the criteria being quality/coverage/freeness (and possibly size)
  • finding and choosing a core common set of "metric-compatible" free/open fonts to get interoperable documents across distros
  • improving the Rosetta UI to suggest fonts for rendering and inputting translations

  • reviewing the Inconsolata terminal font project by Raph Levien

  • licensing models: the OFL vs. other licenses for fonts wrt. embedding and the status of derivatives
  • best practises for font packaging (Alioth and the Launchpad font team)

  • language support recommends and fontconfig snippets for each language pack/locale
  • the fontconfig-voodo tool and the fontconfig tab in the language selector

  • creating a font-design-toolkit metapackage
  • the font situation in the OLPC

Font BoF @ GUADEC 2006 in Vilanova

At the GUADEC 2006 edition, various talks touched upon the font landscape. Then, in the middle of the week, a informal BoF around fonts and i18n was organised with some of the font / i18n experts in the community:

The following key subjects were discussed:

  • doing a full review to find the most appropriate font per locale so as not to make the free desktop depend on restricted fonts
  • doing cross-distro fontconfig fonts.conf refinement and sending the ideal configuration file upstream so that all distros behave similarly

  • finding solutions to conflicting styles and experimental blocks in big/omnibus fonts: LGC (Latin Greek Cyrillic) split from other blocks and smarter fallback/blacklisting (fontconfig patch to blacklist by language or unicode block)
  • Ed Trager's font playground as a very useful tool for open font projects

  • smarter font widget proposal
  • Dejavu font family

  • Farsiweb font families

  • font families from SIL (Gentium, Charis SIL, Doulos SIL, Padauk, Abyssinica, Lateef, Scheerazade)

  • shipping fonts with

  • common licensing to be able to easily branch and exchange patches between font projects
  • Open Font License working model

  • a common LSB set of fonts for cross-distro interoperability

  • smart rendering engines, opentype and Graphite support (via Graphite pango module)

  • demo of XeTeX using fontconfig to access native fonts

  • contact with GNOME foundation board members to discuss future of vera agreeing on a common FSF-recognized license (relicensing to OFL being a possibility suggested by Jim Gettys)
  • resolving the issue of the GNOME logo using a non-free font
  • improving font management via nautilus or a new font-manager (proposed SoC project not accepted this year) - specs for a rewrite of gucharmap/view/font-manager being defined
  • looking at the fontforge GTK+ port and overall HIG-fication

  • fontforge scripts
  • selective build scripts
  • hinting solutions: tools and smart rendering libraries (estimated price for hinting one glyph for the OLPC : $10)
  • more granular font selection at installation
  • config snippet per font packages to go into /etc/fonts/conf.d
  • performance work with the font stack


  • define the common font set
  • gather the fontconfig snippets

Attic/fonts (last edited 2013-12-03 15:33:47 by WilliamJonMcCann)