[Pkg-fonts-devel] ttf-bitstream-vera should not have been removed

Keith Packard keithp at keithp.com
Sun Jun 28 19:42:04 UTC 2009

On Sun, 2009-06-28 at 15:23 +0200, Christian Perrier wrote:

> Shouldn't that be a bug reported against DejaVu fonts, then ?

Sure, but I doubt it will be fixed. Hinting glyphs is the hard part of
font design, and I don't know of any tools available to people outside
the world of commercial font design that exist to help this task.

Bitstream estimated that it cost about $10/glyph to hint the current
Vera set (in font designer time), and that is with their unpublished
hinting toolset.

> As I wrote earlier, the goal of DejaVu (to my understanding: I'm not
> involved into its development and I'm largely ignorant about hints, indeed).
> is more about quality than quantity. So, if there are some reports
> that some glyphs' quality is poor, it should be considered important
> by DejaVu upstream.

I'd love for someone to try their hand at building tools that would let
people develop credible hints for free fonts, at this point I don't know
how to help though.

> When it comes at "rare" character sets, we probably anyway face the
> challenge that providing a good quality fonts that remains free
> is....a big challenge, as convincing good font authors that free
> licences are not a limitation for their work...is not that easy.

Which means we shouldn't put these glyphs in the first font that people
will end up seeing -- instead, we should enable people to use the best
fonts for each language.

> We certainly agree on this: wide coverage fonts are good for that
> reason and their priority should, by default, be lower than the one of
> specialized fonts. After all, I have fnts for about each and every
> script in the world on my system jut because I have seeing broken
> display for thoe languages. If the fonts are of poor quality, I won't
> bother that much as I can't read them anyway...:)

Right, so I'd love to see Deja Vu contain only the Latin set which can
be derived from the existing high-quality, well hinted, glyphs in the
original Vera design, augmented by taking those glyphs and creating the
alternate forms which Vera is missing from the extended Latin family.

I believe they've gone too far in trying to create a 'universal' font,
and want to make sure Debian can offer a better experience in areas
where Deja Vu is weak.

keith.packard at intel.com
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