[Pkg-fonts-devel] Bug#760966: fonts-georgewilliams: the “monospace” font has ligatures with multiple letters in a single cell

Ben Finney ben+debian at benfinney.id.au
Tue Sep 16 05:34:51 UTC 2014

package fonts-georgewilliams
retitle 760966 fonts-georgewilliams: the “monospace” font has ligatures with multiple letters in a single cell

On 09-Sep-2014, Adam Borowski wrote:
> The "monospace" font has ligatures for some often occuring
> combinations, including "st", "ff" and "fi", and these are crammed
> within 1 character cell. This not only looks ugly, making text hard
> to read, but also breaks alignment, displacing everything after such
> a ligature by 1 position.

I confirm this behaviour causes the problems Adam describes.

A sample text for this purpose, to see the ligatures:

    flip split waffle, find stuffing

contains many character sequences that have been type-set as
single-cell ligatures. What should be fixed-width, one cell per
letter, is misaligned with some cells containing multiple ligatured

> A ligature of width 2 might be acceptable.

Yes, an example of a (proprietary) font with attractive 2-letter
ligatures occupying 2 cells is Siegfried Rückel's “FF Nuvo Mono”. If
the George Williams fixed-pitch fonts changed to have exactly one
letter in each cell even for the ligatures, that would IMO resolve
this bug.

> The basic rule for a fixed-pitch font is for every character to have
> width of its wcwidth() (1, 2 for CJK, 0 for combining/specials).

Can you cite where that rule is expressed authoritatively from a
typographical perspective, so font makers can be directed to it for
purpose of standardisation?

If not an authoritative typographical reference, we could direct font
makers to a reference computer standard with some authority. Where
should we direct such queries?

I see numerous nominally fixed-pitch fonts that break that rule
<URL:https://dribbble.com/shots/1377467-Monospaced-ligatures>. Even
the “FF Nuvo Mono” cited as a good example above will, in some
sequences, use less than 1 cell per letter (e.g. the “ffi” ligature).

> This font fails this requirement.

I agree this is a bug to be fixed, preferably upstream. But in
communication with font designers, we would do well to know what is
the authority – preferably in the typography field – for this

 \            “Program testing can be a very effective way to show the |
  `\        presence of bugs, but is hopelessly inadequate for showing |
_o__)                              their absence.” —Edsger W. Dijkstra |
Ben Finney <ben at benfinney.id.au>
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