[Pkg-fonts-devel] (forw) Re: Who would be the right person or committe to talk to at Debian about

Christian Perrier bubulle at debian.org
Sun Feb 11 15:18:24 CET 2007

Please answer to Reply-To...

----- Forwarded message from Eben Sorkin <eben at gci.net> -----

Date: Sun, 11 Feb 2007 03:11:25 -0900
From: Eben Sorkin <eben at gci.net>
Subject: Re: Who would be the right person or committe to talk to at Debian
To: Manoj Srivastava <srivasta at debian.org>
Cc: Christian Perrier <bubulle at debian.org>
X-Mailer: Apple Mail (2.752.3)
X-CRM114-Status: Good  ( pR: 19.6232 )

Thank you for your replies.

Because I am a Linux Newbie at best much of this thinking may be  
naive. Feel free to point out errors of mistaken assumptions!

 What I am interested in is an active & healthy relationship between  
independent font foundries & the Linux world. The crux of my idea is  
that I think maybe some independent font foundries would be  
interested in supporting Linux distros with fonts if there was a  
clear path to doing that. It could be a great thing for everybody.

From what I have been able to determine so far; and I admit I have  
been looking into this for just 2 weeks or so; there seem to be  
relatively few links between the communities. And it isn't clear who  
to talk to about this when you visit the web site associated with the  
major distros.

Having asked font-people about Linux, the sense I got was that in  
general they thought there was not much interest in fonts in the  
Linux world except for maybe 'free fonts'. They attributed this to  
the relative lack of 'pro' tools for doing graphic design work in  
Linux and the rendering issues that can exist. For this reason these  
folks rarely if ever try to test their fonts for Linux.

But I have been noticing that graphic design tools are getting  
stronger in the Linux space and there are stronger & stronger GUIs  
arriving as well which made me think maybe it was time to start to  
look for a 'bridge'. It does seem to me that having a greater variety  
& higher quality core fonts would enhance the competitive stance of  
Linux. What do you think?

On the Linux side so far I have understood that whatever fonts might  
be proposed as 'core' would need to be become Open source/DFSG and so  
on like DejaVu and so on. This make complete sense. I think font  
makers can be flexible about this kind of thing.

I have also understood that a wide glyph range would be important to  
the Linux community. A few years ago this would have been an issue I  
think. But there is substantial interest in and an increasing numbers  
of high quality fonts are arriving with full support for CE and other  
latin glyphs. Often Greek and others kinds of glyphs as well. So in  
that area I think that the gap may be narrowing.

I also have a reason for wondering about Linux which is specific to  
myself. I have a monospace which I am designing and so I would be  
interested in the typographic preferences and habits of Linux  

But the missing piece is still compensation. I have read that  
sometimes a distro will create a bounty to accelerate the pace at  
which a specific bit of code is being made. Perhaps specifications  
and a bounty can be made for fonts as well. It could be done by a  
single distro or more properly it might be done by a group of them so  
the the costs are shared.

The only detailed conversations I have with anyone in the Linux  
community so far have been with Stepan Roh @ the DejaVu project.

The last idea I wanted to float comes from David Berlow one of the  
preeminent makers of Fonts today. Here are some links:




The thrust of the idea is that rather than design a font assuming  
that tt hints will be used to make the screen fonts look good at the  
various sizes why not design the outlines directly for the ppi or  
pixels per inch? Then you have direct access to your intended outcome  
on screen (as the bezier wrangler) which is much less frustrating  
than hinting is; and from my point of view you also have a chance to  
make the outlines look better in print too because they can be  
designed with optical principles in mind. For instance fonts for  
small sizes have to be a bit sturdier to look right and the opening  
in the o & b & so on must be proportionally larger. The core benefit  
from a Linux point of view would be ( i think...) that the TT license  
and the rendering problems associated with not using that code become  
irrelevant. There are some real issues having to do with font  
handling that would be associated with this approach. Like making the  
font outline switch transparent to the user. But I doubt they are  

I look forward to hearing from you!


On Feb 10, 2007, at 6:47 PM, Manoj Srivastava wrote:

>On Sat, 10 Feb 2007 10:57:36 -0900, Eben Sorkin <eben at gci.net> said:
>>Who would be the right person or committe to talk to at Debian about
>>making fonts for Debian and or other Linux distros?
>        Well, I am not sure what information exactly you are looking
> for. I would think any fonts distributed under a DFSG free license
> would be all that is needed to get a set of fonts into Debian
>        However, I am copying this reply to the debian-devel mailing
> lists, where other developers, better versed than I on font issues,
> can chime in. I am also copying this to the font development team,
> who are probably the best fit.
>        manoj
>"In a cat's eye, all things belong to cats."  --English proverb
>Manoj Srivastava <srivasta at debian.org> <http://www.debian.org/ 
>1024D/BF24424C print 4966 F272 D093 B493 410B  924B 21BA DABB BF24  

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