Linked by David Adams on Wed 14th Aug 2002 19:14 UTC, submitted by Xirzon
Microsoft In a move that could have repurcussions in the alternative OS world, Microsoft has pulled the free web fonts (Verdana, Courier New, Tahoma, Trebuchet MS etc.) that were downloadable from its site for some time. This is significant since several Linux distributions provide automatic installers for these fonts to improve the default fonts. Also, these fonts are essential for a bettet web browsing. Hopefully, distributors will now spend some money to design a good standard set of free fonts of their own.
Order by: Score:
Hmmm...
by bytes256 on Wed 14th Aug 2002 19:22 UTC

Very interesting development indeed...maybe someone will have to write a nice little utility for extracting MS fonts off from Windows CDs...hmmmmmmmm, b/c we all have those laying around :p

-bytes256

sad
by stew on Wed 14th Aug 2002 19:22 UTC

Too bad. Those were really good screen fonts, and their huge installation base made a web designer's life easier.

RE: Hmmmm
by jon on Wed 14th Aug 2002 19:24 UTC

Do i hear microsoft getting scared.... not big ol MS..... yes....why....Because Mac OS X is SOOO much better

expensive
by Don Cox on Wed 14th Aug 2002 19:29 UTC

Getting a font designed by a professional is expensive. Think pay of a
professional designer for several months, plus expenses.

"Ordinary" fonts, for general text and web use, are much harder to
design than fancy decorative fonts.

I don't think Apple will have any problems, but the Linux folk will.

Should be a catalyst
by linux_baby on Wed 14th Aug 2002 19:39 UTC

Sure linux will be affected, but I hope this will force the linux companies to address this font issue once and for all. Between all these people gunning for the desktop, - including Sun and Redhat - solving this should not be impossible.

Is someone getting scared already? ;)

Bleh.
by Chris Herborth on Wed 14th Aug 2002 19:41 UTC

Man, that's bloody annoying; I'm going to have to burn them to a CD or something for the next time I install Windows on a fresh disk.

Way to keep scooping /. all day, too. They're behind you by like 3 news items. ;-)

- chrish

designing fonts, MS pettiness
by john on Wed 14th Aug 2002 19:45 UTC

What's so hard about designing attractive, easy to read fonts for linux? True Type and anti-aliasing issues aside (which have now been solved in the major distributions) the standard set of X11 bitmapped fonts for linux leaves much to be desired. I find it hard to believe that someone could not design a more attractive font that "fixed", for example. Lucida typewriter is a much nicer fixed font, but so many apps specify "fixed" or default to "courier". Yuck! Also, simpler naming conventions for linux fonts would encourage developers to show more taste in the font specifications in their applications.

On the other hand I find the standard console fonts for linux easy to read and well-proportioned. Maybe that's just me, but this has caused me to favor full screen terminal editors over X editors so far. Less strain on the eyes.

Microsoft's pulling the free fonts from its download area is a very petty move which will be remembered, moreso than some heineous crimes MS has committed. This shows that MS is very worried about Linux on the desktop. I wonder why because Linux only has a 1% market share on the desktop. There must be plans afoot for some major corporations to convert their "fleets" of desktop computers to linux, and/or for some major hardware distributors to start preinstalling linux on a much wider scale.

Jerks.
by Dave on Wed 14th Aug 2002 19:46 UTC

Ok, yes, I know, I know ... it's their toybox, they can do what they want with it, but, GEEZ, that's annoying!

Almost as annoying as the Unisys GIF debacle ... get everyone and their uncle to use a particular file format, and then, oh gee, by the way, we're going to start charging for the use of it now.

Re: Bleh.
by stew on Wed 14th Aug 2002 19:49 UTC

Man, that's bloody annoying; I'm going to have to burn them to a CD or something for the next time I install Windows on a fresh disk.
You don't need to. The fonts still come with IE for Windows and MacOS.

Oh thank goodness
by Allstar on Wed 14th Aug 2002 19:51 UTC

Although this sounds bad at first, it could turn out to be a blessing in disguise.

What if some designers get together and designed some update easy to read fonts for windoze, os x, *bsd, linux, etc. and GPL (or BSD) them. There are fonts that would make increase the ease of readability for monitors, and fonts that would make print look better. They just cost a lot of money.

This would open up quality type to everyone, and as an added bonus, web designers would be able to use new fonts as long as most distrubutors (Apple, Redhat, Suse, Mandrake, Debian, Free/Open/NetBSD, etc) included them in their base distro (Hence the BSD license being better).

Of course, a lot of crap fonts would come around, but that's another story...

Rumor has it that the EULA for tho old distribs of those fonts allowed redistribuation. Now THAT would be funny...

expensive
by Don Cox on Wed 14th Aug 2002 20:01 UTC

"it hard to believe that someone could not design a more attractive
font that "fixed", for example. nicer fixed font, but so many apps
specify "fixed" or default to "courier". "

Lucida fonts are commercial, professionally designed fonts (designed
in the 1980s by Charles Bigelow and Kris Holmes).

http://www.transaction-one.com/gs/html/a/adobe/fontstore/en/type/br...

You can buy it from Adobe. It is not free.

Making fonts?
by noOne on Wed 14th Aug 2002 20:04 UTC

Does anyone even know where to begin with making fonts? I wouldn't mind 'trying' to make some. But I have no idea how. ;)

On fonts...
by njm on Wed 14th Aug 2002 20:07 UTC

Fonts are tough to make. It takes a professional typographer about a year to create a decent font. It may seem to be an easy task, and perhaps creating the basic idea and look of the typeface is, but there is so much detailed and painstaking work involved in turning a typeface into something usable, particularly on a low-resolution device such as our monitors. In addition to the up-front design work, a typographer must adjust the kerning, make sure the fonts are properly hinted so they render without garbage and artifacts at low resolution, account for ligatures, etc., etc., etc. I would love if some philanthropist typographer dumped a bunch of quality fonts into public domain, but there are no typographers with that much money. =)

Interestingly, however, copyright law doesn't protect typefaces, just their name; one could, in theory, print out at very high resolution a good quality font, scan it in, then reconstruct it with minimal effort, call it something else, and, bam, we got ourselves our very own font. It's not like open source people would necessarily be above that... look at KDE's stock save/open dialog box. =P

transferring from an existing linux install?
by Mike on Wed 14th Aug 2002 20:14 UTC

If I have an existing GNU/Linux installation with these fonts installed, how would I go about moving them to a new installation?

more font stuff
by njm on Wed 14th Aug 2002 20:20 UTC

Mike, you could create an archive like:

tar c /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/Truetype/ | gzip > asdf.tar.gz

Anyway, I meant to mention this in my previous post, but forgot. I think Redhat, Sun, or [insert large Linux distro targeting the desktop] ought to license a handful of high quality truetype fonts from a type house and include them in their shrinkwrapped distros... that's certainly a value-added extra that could convince me to actually purchase a distribution. Another option would be for one of the large Linux companies to hire a few font developers, let them work on their fonts for a year or so, and then, again, have themselves a handful of high quality truetype fonts to include with their distribution. The downfall of this is that it would likely end up being several hundred thousands of dollars in development costs, and, were they not to release them for everybody's use in the Linux community, they might as well be asking for a copious flames and general hatred from the everything-for-free majority /.-ish crowd.

Re: On fonts....
by stew on Wed 14th Aug 2002 20:21 UTC

then reconstruct it with minimal effort,
This will not happen with minimal effort. It takes forever to even properly hint a font for the screen, and who's going to vectorize it?

stealing?
by Richard Fillion on Wed 14th Aug 2002 20:32 UTC

Couldnt you just steal the fonts from one of your windows boxes? That is...if you dont mind the illegality of it, or would it even be illegal? I know that that was what i was going to do soon (verdana is such a nice font).

Finally
by Ano Nymous on Wed 14th Aug 2002 20:47 UTC

Maybe this is finally incentive enough for the big Linux distributors (Red Hat, SuSE, Mandrake) to get together and hire ONE person to do these stupid fonts. They employ hundreds of people, why would it be so unrealistic to have one guy work on this and be done with?

We have to thank MS because otherwise Linux distributors would just have leeched off MS investments, which, of course, is okay because they all got our money, right? Right?

John
by Kevin on Wed 14th Aug 2002 20:50 UTC

What's so hard about designing attractive, easy to read fonts for linux?

Have you ever tried to design good readable fonts? I tried once, it's not easy.

Someone has to do it.
by Anonymous on Wed 14th Aug 2002 21:05 UTC

It may be hard, but this I would say is on the top ten for linux to be able to be a desktop platform. Someone has to do it.

Hard
by Ano Nymous on Wed 14th Aug 2002 21:07 UTC

Maybe it is hard, but is it harder than writing a kernel? A device driver? A vertual file system? A memory subsysttem? All the other stuff? I doubt it.

We need more than latin fonts
by Out of the blue on Wed 14th Aug 2002 21:17 UTC

Of course, just having free nice latin fonts would be great. But the problem is, somebody needs to make 2 or more sets (serif and sans serif) of fonts for *every* character set out there. That's definitely a lot of work.

Blessing in disguise
by Michael A. Clem on Wed 14th Aug 2002 21:24 UTC

The more crap like this that MS pulls, the less people will rely on MS "freebies", and the less dependent the entire industry is on MS. MS will end up shooting themselves in the foot.

Re: Hard
by njm on Wed 14th Aug 2002 21:26 UTC

Maybe it is hard, but is it harder than writing a kernel? A device driver? A vertual file system? A memory subsysttem? All the other stuff?

Yes =)

Copying fonts
by Darius on Wed 14th Aug 2002 21:31 UTC

Is it not possible simply to copy the fonts from a Windows partition onto Linux? What's the big deal here?

Why ?
by Bob on Wed 14th Aug 2002 21:38 UTC

MS is greeder ans greeder each years...

Everyone is saying someone........
by Anonymous on Wed 14th Aug 2002 21:46 UTC

Just about every post here states that 'someone' should create fonts for Linux. And then people bitch and bitch and bitch. To all those people saying 'someone'....why don't you make that someone you and shut up and stop bitching.

My 2cents

Re: designing fonts, MS pettiness
by alexd on Wed 14th Aug 2002 21:47 UTC

Microsoft's pulling the free fonts from its download area is a very petty move which will be remembered, moreso than some heineous crimes MS has committed.

Is it as petty a move as it would have been if the fonts had never offered for free in the first place?

I don't like Microsoft at all. But they DID offer these high-quality fonts up for free download for several years. More remarkable is that nobody forced them to do this. How about instead of saying, "Pulling the fonts was a petty move," we say, "Thanks for offering the fonts for free download as long as you did"? There are no laws against showing gratitude to an enemy - actually it would be the decent thing to do.

Re: Everyone is saying someone........
by Ano Nymous on Wed 14th Aug 2002 22:20 UTC

Hey, lemme bitch because I am not one of those hundreds of employees who work for major Linux distributors. Tell them to hire me and I will be more than happy to work on these fonts.

mac available.
by rezi on Wed 14th Aug 2002 22:38 UTC

seems they forgot to drop TimesNew.sit.hqx ..
how would one use this with linux? *g*

║ ║
by chicobaud on Wed 14th Aug 2002 22:52 UTC

Fonts are tough to make. It takes a professional typographer about a year to create a decent font.
Maybe a lot more than a year, if one wants the font to scale very well on those low resolution devices (monitors in first ! ). Too bad for Linux.

Don't expect the distro$ to create "Linux Fonts" ! and even on a short term, this highquality and good scaling down, not scaling up (like verdana).

Maybe this would be a good example of something to demand from that consortium 'United Linux', that's its purpose (united efforts to implement a comercial and industrial Linux); but, on the other hand, since the comunity is so divided among themselves it's not a legitimate demand to endorse to the United Linux peeople.
Maybe in 5 years there will be quality fonts for Linux (excluding Helvetica and Lucida).

What's wrong with the Luxi fonts?
by marm on Wed 14th Aug 2002 23:10 UTC

XFree86 comes with an excellent set of Type1 and TrueType screen-optimized fonts donated by Bigelow & Holmes (the same people that designed Lucida). The family is called Luxi (used to be called Lucidux), and there are sans, serif and monospace variants, each with regular, bold, italic and bold italic styles.

Unfortunately they only cover the iso8859 character sets, so there aren't any East Asian or Indic symbols, but Qt (don't know about GTK2/Pango) will automatically pull in characters from other fonts to fill the gaps in Unicode coverage, so really there's no need for single multi-megabyte Unicode fonts.

Some Linux vendors are a little apprehensive about including these Luxi fonts, as the license is not a traditional free software one - they are freely redistributable but not freely modifiable. However, even Debian has a package for them - xfonts-scalable-nonfree - so if your Linux distro doesn't include them - ask them why not.

I really like the Luxi family, especially Luxi Sans, which to me is at least as nice as Verdana (which is, imho, the best of the MS Web fonts). They are elegant, readable and well-hinted. They're a little bit narrower than Verdana, but this doesn't hurt their readability at all.

If you install them, I suggest you install the TrueType versions rather than Type1, as FreeType's Type1 font rendering is still a little iffy. The TrueType versions are really excellent though!

Now all we have to do is get them on every computer in the known universe and get web designers to design for Luxi rather than the MS Web Fonts. This is the hard task...

║ ║
by chicobaud on Wed 14th Aug 2002 23:14 UTC

What if some designers get together and designed some update easy to read fonts for windoze, os x, *bsd, linux, etc. and GPL (or BSD) them. There are fonts that would make increase the ease of readability for monitors, and fonts that would make print look better. They just cost a lot of money.
The gliphs that make a good font a easily readable font takes years to developp for a (good) font with Italics, bold and regular. Don't expect the scenario to change (I mean to improve) because of this Microsoft move, it will get worst.

I wish Microsoft released those web fonts as public but that's again$t their philosophy, this fonts are already in public usage it's only a matter of ownership, I guess.

How Do..
by Brad on Wed 14th Aug 2002 23:16 UTC

You make fonts? Is there some documentation someplace on how to go about doing this. It sounds interesting. I find it amazing that it's that difficult, but then i have never tried it. There seams to be many people saying the problems in making them in such, If you know this much you should know where to go to get started on such a project. I think this sounds like something many people who are not hardcore programers but would like to contribute something would be interested in doing. The Free Font Foundations, freeing font's from their fathers. or something ;)

Maybe we could get some proper smiley face fonts

Mirror
by Matt on Wed 14th Aug 2002 23:28 UTC

I have been trying to get these fonts for X for the last 2 days, does anyone have a mirror?

What's wrong with the Luxi fonts?
by J. J. Ramsey on Wed 14th Aug 2002 23:48 UTC

I personally have found the Luxi fonts to suffer from the "jaggies". I found that just the plain-old Adobe Helvetica bitmap fonts looked better, so long as I wasn't looking at a scaled version of them.

║ ║
by chicobaud on Thu 15th Aug 2002 00:18 UTC

I have been trying to get these fonts for X for the last 2 days, does anyone have a mirror?
If you have a magazine cover CD with Internet Explorer 4 or up you might search the CD for the fonts. >> search for *.ttf on the /mnt/cdrom. You must have XFree 4.x to use this TrueType fonts.
Or copy to a diskett C:winntfonts or C:windowsfonts

By the way, I read some time ago that the Japanese Linuxers develloped a some TrueType Japanese (Kanji ??) fonts. Arigato.

Fonts
by Paul Eggleton on Thu 15th Aug 2002 00:26 UTC

Someone should contact Ray Larabie (http??www.larabiefonts.com) and pay him to design some nice, readable, open fonts for Linux. You can tell by his huge library of free fonts that he knows his font stuff.

PS type 1
by johnG on Thu 15th Aug 2002 00:45 UTC

chicobaud wrote:
> Fonts are tough to make. It takes a professional typographer
> about a year to create a decent font.

>
> Maybe a lot more than a year, if one wants the font to scale very
> well on those low resolution devices (monitors in first ! ). Too
> bad for Linux.

I think that once the font has been created, "scaling it well" is trivial. The hard part is rasterizing it with antialiasing and getting it to look right using the hinting.

marm wrote:
> If you install them, I suggest you install the TrueType versions rather
> than Type1, as FreeType's Type1 font rendering is still a little iffy.
> The TrueType versions are really excellent though!

Huh? I woulda' thought the other way around. From what I read on the FreeType site, there's some aspect of the hinting on TrueType fonts that's patented by Apple and not being used by FreeType by default (though you can recompile with some simple switch and illegally get the good hinting -- or legally if you've paid Apple).

Are Postscript Type 1 fonts an open standard? I'd like to learn more about this. The only Postscript book I've seen around is the Adobe one...

Microsoft don't like OSS, so
by Another matthew on Thu 15th Aug 2002 01:06 UTC

Just offering Comic Sans would have been the classy thing to do.

Since nobody mentioned...
by Lee Nooks on Thu 15th Aug 2002 01:19 UTC

A guy has started a Linux Font Project (serach this in Google) and has some very good proportional and fixed fonts. Unfortunately, most fonts are 75dpi. Ah, ok, from the top of my mind ;-) http://dreamer.nitro.dk/linux/lfp .

He also invites anyone who wants to join his efforts in creating new Linux fonts insteading of everyone working separately.

I have used them and find them good (but the guy now doesn┤t have any screenshots, so you have to ty them). There are even fonts for console usage.

someone else said it already
by aleksandr on Thu 15th Aug 2002 02:09 UTC

Thanks, Paul Eggleton... the only other person on OSNews who knows about Larabie, and you got there before me. ;)

Larabie Fonts, at www.larabiefonts.com , makes a huge number of free TrueType fonts. The font Blue Highway, available there, unfortunately IIRC doesn't work too well on screen, but it's hands down the best print font I've ever seen. Thousands of times better than Verdana, Treb, or the others.

Take a look at Larabie. If you want, download the "pig", their name for the entire collection. Test out a variety of the fonts at size 12, with antialiasing on, on KDE3 or Gnome2. See which one(s) look the best. Then, get someone official (Bob Smith, RMS, ...) to certify your choice. Suddenly, all these fonts get installed by default, Linux has a standard set of free fonts, and raster fonts can be banished forever.

As for the Microsoft factor in TrueType itself; I don't think there's anything to worry about. Most of the spec is open, as evidenced by the GPL toolkit FreeType. The parts that aren't are patented by Apple, and are in no way essential to displaying or printing high-quality fonts.

Get em' while you can
by Applecore on Thu 15th Aug 2002 02:34 UTC

To my knowledge, these fonts are freely available, but are no longer being provided by Microsoft.

Thus posting a link to where one can download these is not a bad act, I do not believe. It's not like we're dealing in warez here, but rather simply free software that's no longer "supported", so-to-speak. Or at least "no longer available from it's original source"

Feel free to hash it out if I'm wrong, but here's a link to these newly removed fonts.

http://nucl-a.inha.ac.kr/pub/font/newfnt32.exe

Don't worry about the .exe; It's an MS based installer of these and can be opened in any compatible compression proggy, such as WinRAR, if you don't believe trust it.

I would think that the more technically abled of you could rig up a method on a LAN, for Linux installers which need these fonts, to look for their original source, and be redirected to a spot containing your own local copy of these.

Woudl have been nice for MS to give a heads up about this so that they didn't strand someone without needed software (again, since we're talking free fonts here in the 1st place).

Cheers'

Adobe, when they created PostScript, created at least 2 standard levels of quality for their PostScript typefaces:
Type 1 and Type 3. Type 1 standard (here's the main point of this posting) was released to the public, so ANY developer could sit down and write up a decent Type 1 font. Type 1 wasn't as handsome as Type 3, and Adobe held onto their exclusive right to be the only developer of Type 3 fonts. (This cautionary tale, like the GIF-royalty controversy, is a strong argument against CompTIA's "software choice" campaign, which says that royalty-paying, privately-owned componenets of general-use standards is a GOOD thing. For more info on this, look at www.theRegUS.com/ and search for "software choice" AND "sincere choice" (OSS's counter-campaign against "software choice"). This reluctance to "share the good stuff" with non-Adobe font developers was the impetus for M$ and a few other major players to create their own competing standard. (Correct me if I'm wrong here, but this was the origin of TruType fonts, was it not ?) This had such a negative impact on the popularity of Adobe's Type 1 and Type 3 fonts, that at a press conference with GENUINE TEARS STREAMING down his face, the leader of Adobe released his "crown jewels" (Type 3 standards and development tools) to non-Adobe developers.

Quite a cautionary tale.

Unicode (alias UTF-8) fonts seem to be the future, as the world-market grows more tightly knit.

Footnote for other newbies: most fonts use a this-number-equals-that-letter-or-symbol code that's ethocentric.
Which is to say, they contain a set of characters that is smallish, and restricted to ONLY the developer's favorite language AND a fairly good shot at the English/roman-letter alphabet. Period.
So, if you want to write a document that contains both Chinese and Korean, for example, you're generally out of luck. If you want to write a document that contains Arabic and Thai and Japanese, you're generally going to have to do it with a paper and pen and alot of head-scratching.
In the past, taht was fine, b'cuz the world didn't interact THAT much, and it was important to keep these codes fairly short, so E-mails and document files would stay small.
About half the reason for this was, a big code that encompased ALL known languages would be staggeringly large, making an e-mail or document many times larger than it'd be with a traditional font-code of narrow ethnocentric focus.
As has been liberally pointed out on this Board, the other half of the reason is the HUGE time required to develop even a relatively small (ethnocentric) English-only font.

M$ (correct me if I'm wrong here) recognized a need for a more comprehensive standard, and has been pushing a code that contains a number for every character of every known written language on the planet. (Wow... staggering.) This code is UNICODE, and contains roughly 55,500 characters ... compared to Eurocentric ASCII, which has 128 or 256 characters. (Wow, again.)

So, here's the big problem:
Given that a smallish ethnocentric font takes about a year to tweak into passable quality, How the @*&$^ could any team write an entire Unicode font ? It sounds exactly like the kind of multinational collaborative effort that's made OSS great.

...and finally, here's my question:
One of the other posts on this board mentioned font-remapping (taking the letters from one font/font-code, and reassigning their number-values so you can use them in another font/font-code. The post mentions that "Qt" can do this remapping, and maaaybe "GTK2/Pango" can do this, and Unicode won't allow this.
Where can I find out more about this ? Please post replies.

....
by rajan r on Thu 15th Aug 2002 06:29 UTC

jon: Do i hear microsoft getting scared.... not big ol MS..... yes....why....Because Mac OS X is SOOO much better

If Microsoft were scared of Mac OS X, there won't be rationale behind the decission to pull downloads. Why? Mac OS X already have its own fonts licensed from various parties (including Microsoft, IIRC).

What this is targeted to is Linux. The fonts were originally placed there for other versions of Windows to use Windows fonts. But some distros have scripts downloading them didn't help the situation. In other words, Microsoft don't want to waste money on its competitor.

Don Cox: Getting a font designed by a professional is expensive. Think pay of a
professional designer for several months, plus expenses.


True, it is expensive. But it isn't like Linux doesn't have any companies. Right? Plus, they could try to get the help of Chinese universities and companies which have government backing to help designing these fonts.

linux_baby: Is someone getting scared already? ;)

They should be. Linux is being adopted like wild fire in third world countries modernizing. And distros are ripping them off :-)

john: There must be plans afoot for some major corporations to convert their "fleets" of desktop computers to linux, and/or for some major hardware distributors to start preinstalling linux on a much wider scale.

There are. Asian corporations. And also, major hardware distributors are preinstalling Linux in east and south Asia. Like HP (sure, the one in US may have Windows as default, but over here, it is the other way around.

But nontheless, I think this "crime" is good for Linux. It would cut dependancy on Microsoft, and force Linux companies to make their own fonts.

Allstar: This would open up quality type to everyone, and as an added bonus, web designers would be able to use new fonts as long as most distrubutors (Apple, Redhat, Suse, Mandrake, Debian, Free/Open/NetBSD, etc)

If all desktop distros bundle these new free fonts, and other altenative OS bundles them too, the most they could get it on is 4% of the market. On the other hand, if they clone the MS fonts, that would be better.

Allstar: (Hence the BSD license being better)

I don't thinks software licenses is good. Maybe something like Free Documentation License or something similar. Besides, using GPL on fonts wouldn't have a viral effect, and most companies wouldn't mind it.

Chris: Rumor has it that the EULA for tho old distribs of those fonts allowed redistribuation. Now THAT would be funny...

If you mean Windows 95 and before that.... I wouldn't think about that. The fonts are ugly, I think I would rather buy Windows just to get its fonts.

Darius: Is it not possible simply to copy the fonts from a Windows partition onto Linux? What's the big deal here?

It is possible... in fact, the last I checked, Mandrake even have a wizard to do so.

Paul Eggleton: Someone should contact Ray Larabie (http??www.larabiefonts.com) and pay him to design some nice, readable, open fonts for Linux. You can tell by his huge library of free fonts that he knows his font stuff.

I use a lot of Larabie fonts, but most of them don't scale well. That means both 6pt and 64pt would look good. ;)

aleksandr: Most of the spec is open, as evidenced by the GPL toolkit FreeType.

Many parts are covered by patents, which is why fonts look more ugly on Linux than on Mac OS or Windows.

Applecore: To my knowledge, these fonts are freely available, but are no longer being provided by Microsoft.

These sites are warez, because IIRC the fonts were previously given out free, but cannot be redistributed.

Sethness: Unicode (alias UTF-8) fonts seem to be the future, as the world-market grows more tightly knit.

UTF-16 is the future, because it supports more languages.

About TTF, OT
by rajan r on Thu 15th Aug 2002 06:35 UTC

I think the OSS/FS world should put their heads together and make something else that is better than TTF. Why? TTF, to hav full AA, is impossible without begging your competitors and enemies and paying huge royalties.

Ogg was inspired by MP3's royalties, PNG was pushed because of GIF royalties. Now, if a bunch of people that know the subject of fonts much better than most of use do make a better thing than TTF which is royalty- and patent-free, AA fonts could be much better on free/hobby OS, which mostly use FreeType for their AA.

Besides, if Ogg and PNG could do it, and made something better than MP3 and GIF respectively, I think the OSS/FS community could do it. Sure, it would be hard, but not impossible.

Anyway, I don't expect any free fonts to replace MS's fonts to come out anytime soon. It takes a long time to make one, and hopefully, if someone is working on it, they would make Unicode fonts.

History of true type for Sethness
by jbolden1517 on Thu 15th Aug 2002 06:46 UTC

> This reluctance to "share the good stuff" with non-Adobe
> font developers was the impetus for M$ and a few other
> major players to create their own competing standard.
> (Correct me if I'm wrong here, but this was the origin of
> TruType fonts, was it not ?)

No it wasn't and "trutype" wasn't invented by Microsoft. Prior to laser printers scalable printers were all dot matrix so scalable high quality fonts weren't important since you couldn't render them well. With the invention of the Lasar it became possible to generate high quality printed output without using typical webpress methods. It was at this point that Adobe stepped forward with their Postscript standard. Apple adobted the standard eagerly and paid Adobe quite a bit for rights and the Apple <--> Postscript marriage became possible. It should be mentioned that as Dot matrix printers went from 9 to 24 pin the quality of dot matrix went up and the Adobe advantage resulted in better dot matrix printing for mac users as well.

Microsoft decided early to cede the desktop publishing market to Apple to go after more profitable markets. Since their target audience was business it was there belief that Dos / Windows generated documents were likely to either be professional typeset or not require high quality fonts and so there was no reason to pass on Adobe's fees to all their customer base.

A company by the name of Bitstream had developed a standard of fonts for WordPerfect (Dos versions) which allowed WordPerfect to produce high quality scalable fonts on dot matrix printers. The product was succesful and offered Microsoft a cheap solution to their font issue. They bough Bitstream incorporated their technology into the Windows OS under the name "TrueType", and thereby offered a substantial increase in font quality without incurring the expenses of Postscript. Since the Laser Printer market was still basically a Mac market their customers didn't notice much difference between TrueType and Postscript fonts (also they in general didn't have artsy enough customers to care about the slightly better designs from Adobe's font house relative to Bitstream's).

Not much has changed since then. Quality laser publishing has remained a Postscript domain, TrueType offers good fonts not up to the levels of Adobe but good enough so that Microsoft's user base can't tell the difference and Mac users end up with better looking printed output but higher base prices because of the tight Apple / Adobe alliance.

Designing fonts
by jbolden1517 on Thu 15th Aug 2002 07:17 UTC

A few points about designing fonts. First off there has been a general misstament about scaling of fonts.A 10 point font is not a 5 point font magnified 2x. A 5 point font magnified 2x will have thicker lines and much larger spaces between letters and words than a 10 point font (different kerning). If you can get your hands on an old Dos or Windows machine (say 3.0) and play with non scalable fonts you'll see this.

Anyway in terms of making fonts there are two really good tools. Most Linux systems have Metafont which is part of TeX and also include a set of fonts which are freely available.

The documentation for TeX has lot of dicussion of fonts.
Volume A, The TeXbook (Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley, 1984), x+483pp.
ISBN 0-201-13447-0
alt 0-201-13448-9

The introductary material on magnification discusses why you need collections of fonts at different sizes.

Volume C, The METAFONTbook (Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley, 1986), xii+361pp. ISBN 0-201-13445-4
alt ISBN 0-201-13444-6


This book explains how to use font creation tools native to TeX.

Volume E, Computer Modern Typefaces (Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley, 1986), xvi+588pp.
ISBN 0-201-13446-2

This book walks you through the details of a font collection.

Another useful tool that's available for Windows and Mac is Fontographer http://www.macromedia.com/software/fontographer/

If you want to see good fonts http://www.adobe.com/type/main.html

Also some advice from Adobe http://www.adobe.com/type/topics/main.html

Since there seems to be more interest in truetype than postscript here is Microsoft's site with quite a bit of information including the full spec. It also contains information opentype which is the direction that both Adobe and Microsoft are going in for all screen fonts:
http://www.microsoft.com/typography/specs/default.htm?fname=%20...

Finally for lots more on typography a good place to start would be http://dir.yahoo.com/Arts/Design_Arts/Graphic_Design/Typography/

Bitstream Cyberbit no longer free
by David Burnett on Thu 15th Aug 2002 08:12 UTC

While Bitstream Cyberbit was not the best screen font going it was probably the most complete unicode fonts. It also used to be free, but not any longer.

Design programs
by Don Cox on Thu 15th Aug 2002 08:54 UTC

The lowest cost program that I know of for designing outline fonts is
Typesmith on the Amiga platform.

It's quite good.

http://www.grasshopperllc.com/

"Maybe it is hard, but is it harder than writing a kernel?"

I would say about the same. Of course, your system won't crash if you
have a ugly, hard to read font - but your sales will.

Unicode
by Don Cox on Thu 15th Aug 2002 09:02 UTC

"M$ (correct me if I'm wrong here) recognized a need for a more comprehensive standard, and has been pushing a code that
contains a number for every character of every known written language on the planet. (Wow... staggering.) This code is
UNICODE, and contains roughly 55,500 characters ... compared to Eurocentric ASCII, which has 128 or 256 characters.
(Wow, again.) "

Microsoft didn't invent Unicode, it is an open standard like HTML.

http://www.unicode.org/

All OSes will need to adopt Unicode, and most have done so. We have an
unfortunate legacy of OSes that think 8 bits is enough for a
character, because so much early development of computers was done in
English-speaking countries.

Creating fonts, pfaedit
by zerblat on Thu 15th Aug 2002 12:19 UTC

Since noone's mentioned it yet, I'd like to point out that there's a great free/open source program for creating truetype/postscript/opentype fonts -- pfaedit http://pdaedit.sourceforge.net

It also has a manual/tutorial which is a great intro to font design. And yes, as has been mentioned, font design is difficult if you want to create a professional looking font that looks good on screen and in different sizes. Creating a good design is a first step (or you could just use an existing one, the actual shapes of the glyphs can't be copyrighted) but the hard work is to get it to scale nicely, hinting and kerning. It takes talent, skill, experience and an eye for detail. But it isn't impossible.

Re:
by chicobaud on Thu 15th Aug 2002 12:22 UTC

I think that once the font has been created, "scaling it well" is trivial. The hard part is rasterizing it
I think is't not trivial at all, unless you are a font guru with years of experience because each size -from 7 to ??- needs a different spacing between letters and the space of a "space" keyboard input accordingly to the size in current use, maintaining the harmony to each character of the alphabet you are working on is hard to achieve).

What I meant by scalling was making the glyphs to each character of each font on each size! (I am not an English native speaker so I might call it a different name like "scalling" the font).
Glyphs are the main (and best) trick for high quality fonts (TrueType - maybe for Postscript too, I don't know about the last)...

Yes, making fonts of high-quality is has hard has writing (or improving/debbuging) a kernel and it takes the same art and time (and frustration :-) and yes it will improve your OS acceptance or sales, that's why it's important for Linux on desktop; but not only to Linux - I saw once a running commercial True64 Compaq (Alpha) OS with ugglyer fonts than Linux.
All Unix suffer from this (bad fonts) unless they have a port of Internet Explorer available (like HPUX and Solaris ? not sure about this last one) with XFree 4.x, or some illegal setup of Truetype fonts made by the user or automated by the vendor via download - not anymore.
The leaders of all Unix comercial vendors should get together and pay to Microsoft the fee and provide this high-quality web-fonts publicly, but that's just "me dreaming".

As in politics, I think Microsoft removed the download because all Linux distro$ started to include the automated setup via web to get their WebFonts (TrueType) after XFree version 4.x became widely used.
# apt-get install msttcorefonts
(I can remember my personal joy when I first used Verdana, Trebuchet and Thaoma on the Linux GUI when running my first XFree 4.x, that's why XFree version 4 is important, not for gamming bulls??t).

AntiAliased fonts are farway for Linux so no need to mention and don't look good even on the Mac/Apple and on BeOS for me - but there's Times AA already usable/hacked on Linux if you want (and my eyes don't like documents with AA fonts, but that's just me) To get to the point: the only good antialiased fonts I see is on Macromedia algoritms (Flash, Freehand) not on Adobe's (that's just my opinion).

Good news!
by Anonymous on Thu 15th Aug 2002 12:43 UTC
Re: rajan r
by Tim Robinson on Thu 15th Aug 2002 12:57 UTC

UTF-16 is the future, because it supports more languages.

Unicode as a whole (as opposed to ASCII, etc.) is the future. UTF-8 and UTF-16 are just two ways of encoding the same thing; both of them can encode each one of the 4 billion (2^32) code points in UCS-4. Windows implements UCS-2, which uses two octets per character to support the 65536 code points of the Basic Multilingual Plane; with support for surrogates (the Unicode equivalent of double-byte characters: putting two Unicode characters together) it extends to several million.

This literally will be enough for some time to come (Moore's law doesn't apply to linguistic scripts), although I don't think that's quite enough to represent all possible Chinese ideograms.

PS Type 3 looking pretty good
by johnG on Thu 15th Aug 2002 13:45 UTC

chicobaud wrote:
> I think that once the font has been created, "scaling
> it well" is trivial. The hard part is rasterizing it.

>
> I think is't not trivial at all, unless you are a font
> guru with years of experience because each size -from 7
> to ??- needs a different spacing...

Whoops. Thanks. Yes, you're correct. jbolden1517 straightened this out above as well. ;)

jbolden1517 wrote:
> ...Not much has changed since then. [snip] ...better
> looking printed output but higher base prices because
> of the tight Apple / Adobe alliance.

These days, Adobe is really pushing "OpenType". From the OpenType page:
OpenType« is a new cross-platform font file format developed jointly by Adobe and Microsoft. Adobe has started converting the entire Adobe Type Library into this format and now offers hundreds of OpenType fonts.

Btw, thanks for all the TeX links.

typo in subj header
by johnG on Thu 15th Aug 2002 14:27 UTC

meant to write PS type 1. Guess I was distracted by the pop-ups. ;)

Oh, handy link:
http://www.tldp.org/HOWTO/Font-HOWTO/

The fonts are still avaliable
by noa on Thu 15th Aug 2002 16:23 UTC

from http://corefonts.sf.net/ the EULA allows redistributions in unaltered form, so it is legal too ;)

RE: Making Fonts
by bzImage on Thu 15th Aug 2002 17:36 UTC

If you would like to try making some fonts your own, try these programs:

http://www.high-logic.com/fcp.html


http://www.paratype.ru/default.asp?page=/soft/scanfont/scanfont.htm...

You can load an existing font... modify it a bit and call it your font. ;-)



XFree fonts
by Don Cox on Thu 15th Aug 2002 20:41 UTC

The fonts which have been mentioned as coming with XFree can be found
here:

ftp://ftp.xfree86.org/pub/XFree86/4.2.0/source/

in the file X420src-2.tgz

That file is 23 Megs and unpacks to a 130 Meg tar file, in which are
those fonts and a set of "standard" Type 2 fonts. (And some other
stuff).

MS Fonts are FREE TO REDISTRIBUTE
by Jerry Whelan on Thu 15th Aug 2002 21:07 UTC

Hewlett-Packard includes the Microsoft fonts as part of HP-UX, if you have an HP-UX 11.0 or 11.11/11i workstation look in /usr/lib/X11/fonts/ms.st to find them. In there is the original MS EULA which gives away the right to freely redistribute the fonts, irrecovably and in perpetuity. I am appending it to this post.

This means, that there is nothing wrong with hosting a tarball of the MS fonts for download on the web.

Here's the font EULA, it is full of hard line-breaks, hope it isn't too ugly.

Microsoft TrueType Fonts
END-USER LICENSE AGREEMENT FOR MICROSOFT SOFTWARE
__________________________________________________

IMPORTANT - READ CAREFULLY: This Microsoft End-User License Agreement ('EULA') is a legal agreement between you (either an individual or a single entity) and Microsoft Corporation for the Microsoft software accompanying this EULA, which includes computer software and may include associated media, printed materials, and 'on-line' or electronic documentation ('SOFTWARE PRODUCT' or 'SOFTWARE'). By exercising your rights to make and use copies of the SOFTWARE PRODUCT, you agree to be bound by the terms of this EULA. If you do not agree to the terms of this EULA, you may not use the SOFTWARE PRODUCT.

SOFTWARE PRODUCT LICENSE

The SOFTWARE PRODUCT is protected by copyright laws and international copyright treaties, as well as other intellectual property laws and treaties. The SOFTWARE PRODUCT is licensed, not sold.

1. GRANT OF LICENSE. This EULA grants you the following rights:

Installation and Use. You may install and use an unlimited
number of copies of the SOFTWARE PRODUCT.

Reproduction and Distribution. You may reproduce and distribute
an unlimited number of copies of the SOFTWARE PRODUCT; provided
that each copy shall be a true and complete copy, including all
copyright and trademark notices, and shall be accompanied by a
copy of this EULA. Copies of the SOFTWARE PRODUCT may be
distributed as a standalone product or included with your own
product. Copies of the SOFTWARE PRODUCT may not be sold or
distributed for any kind of fee.

2. DESCRIPTION OF OTHER RIGHTS AND LIMITATIONS.

Limitations on Reverse Engineering, Decompilation, and
Disassembly. You may not reverse engineer, decompile, or
disassemble the SOFTWARE PRODUCT, except and only to the extent
that such activity is expressly permitted by applicable law
notwithstanding this limitation.

Restrictions on Alteration. You may not rename, edit or create
any derivative works from the SOFTWARE PRODUCT, other than
subsetting when embedding them in documents.

Software Transfer. You may permanently transfer all of your
rights under this EULA, provided the recipient agrees to the
terms of this EULA.

Termination. Without prejudice to any other rights, Microsoft
may terminate this EULA if you fail to comply with the terms and
conditions of this EULA. In such event, you must destroy all
copies of the SOFTWARE PRODUCT and all of its component parts.

3. COPYRIGHT. All title and copyrights in and to the SOFTWARE
PRODUCT (including but not limited to any images, text, and
'applets' incorporated into the SOFTWARE PRODUCT), the
accompanying printed materials, and any copies of the SOFTWARE
PRODUCT are owned by Microsoft or its suppliers. The SOFTWARE
PRODUCT is protected by copyright laws and international treaty
provisions. Therefore, you must treat the SOFTWARE PRODUCT like
any other copyrighted material.


4. U.S. GOVERNMENT RESTRICTED RIGHTS. The SOFTWARE PRODUCT and
documentation are provided with RESTRICTED RIGHTS. Use,
duplication, or disclosure by the Government is subject to
restrictions as set forth in subparagraph (c)(1)(ii) of the
Rights in Technical Data and Computer Software clause at DFARS
252.227-7013 or subparagraphs (c)(1) and (2) of the Commercial
Computer Software-Restricted Rights at 48 CFR 52.227-19, as
applicable. Manufacturer is Microsoft Corporation/One Microsoft
Way/Redmond, WA 98052-6399.

LIMITED WARRANTY

NO WARRANTIES. Microsoft expressly disclaims any warranty for the
SOFTWARE PRODUCT. The SOFTWARE PRODUCT and any related documentation is
provided 'as is' without warranty of any kind, either express or
implied, including, without limitation, the implied warranties or
merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, or noninfringement.
The entire risk arising out of use or performance of the SOFTWARE
PRODUCT remains with you.

NO LIABILITY FOR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES. In no event shall Microsoft or
its suppliers be liable for any damages whatsoever (including, without
limitation, damages for loss of business profits, business interruption,
loss of business information, or any other pecuniary loss) arising out
of the use of or inability to use this Microsoft product, even if
Microsoft has been advised of the possibility of such damages. Because
some states/jurisdictions do not allow the exclusion or limitation of
liability for consequential or incidental damages, the above limitation
may not apply to you.

MISCELLANEOUS

If you acquired this product in the United States, this EULA is governed
by the laws of the State of Washington.

If this product was acquired outside the United States, then local laws
may apply.

Should you have any questions concerning this EULA, or if you desire to
contact Microsoft for any reason, please contact the Microsoft
subsidiary serving your country, or write: Microsoft Sales Information
Center/One Microsoft Way/Redmond, WA 98052-6399.

Missing fonts
by Bzik on Thu 15th Aug 2002 22:54 UTC
What if every free software enthusiast payed 10$ each?
by Claes on Fri 16th Aug 2002 17:09 UTC

Would that not cover paying a skilled font designer to design a couple of quality fonts?

Most of them would rather buy a pizza.

Also..
by Someone on Sat 17th Aug 2002 16:18 UTC

Apple is beginning to support Adobe and Microsoft's OpenType Standard as well. They are a bit reluctant, though because of TrueType GX, now ATSUI, not being widely adopted. OpenType is entirely Unicode based and adds neat features for non-Roman alphabets sorely lacking from "standard" TrueType and Postscript. Windows 2000 and up support OpenType natively, and all of Adobe's newest apps use it. I THINK QuarkXPress 6 also has OpenType support, and the Macromedia apps should have it too. OpenType is largely based on PS and TT, to the point where OpenType fonts and font families can be specified using TT or PS. There are patent issues involved with OT, but I think there's some kind of royalty-free deal going.

TrueType IS an open specification, except for the high-quality display hinting, which is covered by Apple's patents. Agorithms for PRINTING TT fonts are not covered I believe.

As for Anti-Aliasing, I think it should be standard for all systems to TURN IT OFF for all sizes below, say, 12 points. Small fonts become blurry messes and give me headaches when they are given AA treatment.

Um, oh yeah, anybody can make a font, but it's very possible it'll be hideous. Making the font attractive, readable, scalable, complete, and useful is what takes the time. This includes often redrawing the font at several sizes, custom bold and italic versions (and bold italic), Rules for accent placement and kerning, ligatures (see older books for this), height and weight considerations, hinting, and substitutions. By all standards, a good font is a work of art and technical achievement, and is very important to any visual computing and READING experience.

--JM

Maybe these people will help
by grasshoople on Tue 20th Aug 2002 07:29 UTC

Someone should contact the people at http://www.apostrophiclab.com and see if they would help with making fonts. Looks like about 30 designers from all over, and they have a pretty decent collection of fonts they made. Check out the speak section of the site. They're not that far off from open source and would probably be willing to contribute something.

micro$oft are cowards
by styro on Tue 20th Aug 2002 07:36 UTC

they just saw the lindows boxes at walmart and started shaking in their pants.