[Pkg-fonts-devel] Fwd: Draining the font swamp

"Arne Götje (高盛華)" arne at linux.org.tw
Tue May 29 08:26:55 UTC 2007

Hash: SHA1

Denis Jacquerye wrote:
>> > In Ubuntu, we currently use DejaVu for both sans and serif.
>> the DejaVu Serif fonts are not smart enough... :( DejaVu Sans is better
>> though, but not optimal.
> What do you mean by smart? DejaVu Serif is smart (character
> positioning, ligatures, language specific glyphs), it just has less
> coverage than Sans and has less hinting.

Ok, it has improved since I looked the last time. :)
I used this file http://debian.linux.org.tw/~arne/twabo/Testdoc.txt to
test support for Austronesian languages as used in Taiwan.
I found the following issues in DejaVu (2.17):
 * The overstrike (U+0336) could be improved in all three (sans, serif
and sans mono) fonts.
 * Line below (U+0332) and overstrike (U+0336) don't work in Sans Mono.
 * <d><U+0301> could be improved in Serif.
 * And in Sans there is no visual distinction between Capital I and Small L.

>> I'm also working on a sans-serif CJK font (DejaVu style) for screen
>> display.
> We've had some serious request for adding CJK to DejaVu but cannot do
> it since we don't have the required knowledge. Let us know if we can
> help you.

Well, maybe... how do you generate the glyphs in DejaVu Sans? Do you use
strokes and expand them?
I can get my hands on a text file which has the stroke coordinates for
all CJK glyphs currently in Unicode (about 70,000 glyphs). However, the
format is not fontforge compatible... :(
Maybe there is the one or other font expert in your team who can help me
to convert the stroke coordinates in the text file to strokes which can
be expanded so that they fit DejaVu Sans... ?
The strokes however will need to be manually optimized before a font can
be built.

I suggest to create a CJK font in a seprate file and *not* merge the
glyphs with the DejaVu Sans. CJK has a lot of glyphs and for a font with
basic CJK coverage for all areas, I estimate more than 40,000 glyph IDs.
We would need two fonts (one for basic support, one for Extension B/C)

>> These defaults do more harm than good.
>> For Latin script a good default would be:
>>  * serif: Doulos SIL, Charis SIL, DejaVu Serif, Bitstream Vera Serif
>>  * sans: DejaVu Sans, Bitstream Vera Sans
>>  * monospace: DejaVu Sans Mono, Bitstram Vera Sans Mono
> The current config puts Bitstream Vera in before DejaVu, this is a
> mistake. DejaVu has fixed some bugs that were in Vera, the order
> ignores that.
> Proposing Doulos SIL and Charis SIL as first serif fonts is good for
> printing, but would not be for screen. They are not properly hinted
> for small sizes.

OK, if DejaVu can be improved (see above) and Serif supports the same
ranges like Sans, they can be used instead. ;)

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Arne Götje (高盛華) <arne at linux.org.tw>
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