[Pkg-fonts-devel] Debian version of GNU freefont

Steve White stevan.white at googlemail.com
Wed Feb 6 07:44:54 UTC 2008


On Feb 5, 2008 9:44 AM, Davide Viti <zinosat at tiscali.it> wrote:
> > > I took the package over a few months ago and prepare just a couple of
> > > updates containing trivial fixes; Christian did alot of work the
> > > previous months but not much happened since then due to upstream
> > > inactivity.
> > >
> > Sorry, I'm not up on the jargon.  Does this mean, due to inactivity in
> > the FreeFont project?
> correct, current work is based on a cvs snapshot from 20060501 and Christian
> added his patches in the Debian package; AFAIK those patches have not been
> integrated upstream yet.
To be clear:

The current ttf-freefont consists of exactly:
    CVS freefont 20060501
    the patches from Cristian's bug reports, as on the freefont bug page

(I hope to confirm that by looking at the Debian packages and changelogs)

> > To my eye, DejaVu and FreeFont are quite different typefaces, beside
> > they character sets they cover.  I would personally want the choice,
> > even just to display English.
> I think Dejavu And Freefont use a different approach; Dejavu is very keen on
> adding new glyph ranges only if they match the "look and feel" of the current
> glyphs; Freefont has grown also collecting glyphs from other projects, which
> has been indeed useful for projects like the debian installer.
There are two extremes

* One is to insist on total artistic integrity.  This is attainable
only whe a single designer with great understanding of typographic
issues works on a font.  For a Unicode font containing many scripts,
there is no single person who could do this.

* The other is to just try to fill every character slot in Unicode.
This will result at best in a very ugly mess, and in reality, a
useless mess.  Many scripts are unreadable unless the spacing of
characters is adjusted according to their position in the text.  But
even then, unless text from different scripts "goes together" somehow,
what is the point of it being in the same font?  A font should consist
of glyphs that look good together in text.  Also, most people will
avoid using an ugly font.

A balance has to be struck, somehow.  I'm trying to work this out myself.

> > > > - I think that all changes in the Debian packages are reflected in
> > > > bugs reported to upstream as you found it
> > >
> > > definitely; upstream activity on the package happened mostly on the
> > > Debian package, so the BTS is probably the best source of information
> > >
> > Who/what is BTS?
> Is the Debian system for tracking bugs:
> http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/pkgreport.cgi?pkg=ttf-freefont;dist=unstable
> suggest you look at the "archived reports" link at the top of the page to see
> some context of the patches we were mentioning before
OK, I'll see if that answers my questions.

> > Do you mean: you simply fixed bugs that were outstanding in the
> > FreeFont bugs list, in the Debian package?
> it depends: if somebody submits a bugreport on the Debian BTS, is good pratice to
> let upstream developers know about it. If a patch to fix the problem is known,
> it's even better. Upstream (i.e. you) should then integrate the patch in the
> main archive for inclusion in the next release.
> > If that is right, my question is, what is your advice on how to move
> > those fixes back into the FreeFont version control system?
> IMHO it would be great if you could interate the existing patches into a new
> release which would be used as starting point for your future work.
My question is, *how* to achieve this.

There are several technical problems, aside from the question of what
changes were made.

Freefont's base format is the FontForge SFD format.  The Debian
packages are TrueType.  That would be very helpful to have the SFD
files that generate these.

At http://packages.debian.org/sid/ttf-freefont-udeb, I found
# [ttf-freefont_20060501cvs.orig.tar.gz]
# [ttf-freefont_20060501cvs-12.diff.gz]
Am I correct in thinking these are the original freefont CVS and the
diffs on that CVS that produce the latest ttf-freefont package?

> > Do you (or BTS) have notes, as to exactly what changes were implemented?
> as mentioned before, see the "archived reports" link and look for the bugreports
> mentioned in the Changelog file
> http://packages.debian.org/changelogs/pool/main/t/ttf-freefont/ttf-freefont_20060501cvs-12/changelog
> unfortunately I'm not a font expert, but I'm sure you can find help on this
> mailing list or on the dedicated IRC channels:
Fair enough.


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