I'm pleased to announce another release of GNU FreeFont. This release addresses mostly technical issues with the fonts. Several outstanding bug reports are fixed, and some characters are added, especially Math symbols.
Download it at http://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/freefont You want the tarballs dated 2008-03-23. Thanks to the several people who offered advice! A lot of changes were made, and probably a few things are screwed up. Certainly not all the pending bug reports have been dealt with. I expect to make another release soon, dealing in more detail with bugs. Please have a look, and drop me a line! Main technical improvements =========================== Brought into line with Debian ttf-freefont Updated file format to Spline Font Database (SFD) 2 (so now we can use recent versions of FontForge) The recent versions of FontForge are much superior to those of acouple of years ago. Besides being much more stable, they now do quite thorough checking for font problems. Thanks to George! Line height improved (it is still slightly increased: see discussion below) Glyph outlines in Windows are now good (see discussion below) Now works in Windows and Mac OS I have installed and used it in Windows Vista, and it has been tested on Mac OS X Path problems fixed open paths intersecting paths outermost paths not clockwise no control point at path vert. or horiz. extrema flipped references mixed references and contours many "points too close" fixed Lookup table (ATT) problems especially in Sans: Indic ranges were a complete mess Validation all faces now pass FontForge validate Back layer removed all back layers: fixed "ghost glyph" in printing Font Info: Manufacturer (like OS/2 Vendor ID) is now GNU Copyright date updated Changes to character ranges =========================== Combining Diacriticals Many were incorrectly placed DPOS 'mark' table for Latin Latin Ligatures ff ffi ffl fi fl put in standard lookup table Superscript digits and fractions regularized Extended Additionals: fixed incorrect stacking of many accents Added double hyphen uni2E17 Greek Made 'tonos' to be the same as combining accent acute Moved capital letters with tonos so tonos doesn't cover preceding letter Arabic I hope is basically functional now. Added lookup tables to do contextual character replacement, Added the required ligature look-up for lam-alif. Offset so baseline agrees with Latin. Japanese Hiragana, Katakana Offset so baseline agrees with Latin. Fixed U+30FB, KATAKANA MIDDLE DOT to be full-width Cyrillic Increased height of letter "i" Indic (Devangari, Gurmurkhi, Bengali, Gujarati) many changes of references to outlines in Sans, many alterations to lookup tables, which are very buggy many fixes of glyph outline problems HTML Character Entities completed set for all faces Math operators Completed LaTeX 2e range in Roman faces Worked on extensible integrals To do ===== kerning (and related issues) needs to be changed to "kerning by classes" documentation * policies * development tricks page * test pages maybe a find a better way to provide font snapshots perhaps glyphs from http://packages.debian.org/sid/ttf-mph-2b-damase perhaps replace Hiragana/Katakana with more modern set, * such as Sazanami Mincho, VL-Gothic several ranges (Ethiopic, Japanese, Indic) need a lot of work * many glyphs are plain ugly (might be most efficient just to replace them) * much work was done on lookups in Sans, but lookups in other faces are probably non-functional many outstanding bugs in the bugs list ======================================================================= Line height Ever since GNU Freefont started acquiring language script ranges, line height has been a problem. The underlying reason is, some of those new glyphs were very high or low. The result was that in many applications, the line spacing (of FreeSerif especially) was extremely large. In the Debian distribution of FreeFont, a patch was applied to remedy this. I applied this patch to FreeFont in CVS. However, I have since had to replace it. It had some bad side-effects: the most obvious was that in Windows, the ascenders and descenders of Latin letters were chopped off. The current state is a compromise. The line spacing is now slightly increased (by about 15%) to allow for most accents and high and low letters. The purpose of putting scripts from different languages into a single font can only be, to make it easy to make text in mixed languages. A criterion for them being together must therefore be that they look good together. They should therefore at least be commensurate. Now, I found that some scripts (Japanese, Arabic, and Tamil) were greatly offset from the baseline, for no reason I could see. I have put them where I think they belong, and that helped a lot. I hope in the future the situation can be further improved. These scripts have some characters that are conventionally very high or low: Arabic, Thai, Tamil. There are also standard typographic practices that can make them work well with Latin. The extended Latin ranges are a rather worse problem. There are cases of stacked accents which may be difficult to fit into a comfortable height. Technical details: ascent and descent: 800 EM, 200 EM. OS/2 Win ascent and descent: 900 EM, 300 EM. Unfortunately, this Win ascent/descent is interpreted variously. It was meant to serve simply a graphical clipping region, but many applications also take it to indicate line spacing (and some as line spacing but not clipping region). ======================================================================= Glyph outlines in Windows The appearance of the font in Windows has evidently always been very poor. The outlines appeared very choppy, very much like a badly-scaled bitmap. After a great deal of detective work, comparing FreeFont to other fonts, and switching my (single home) computer between operating systems, I figured it out. Now the outlines look quite good in my Windows Vista. Technical details: Windows will fail to do what is required unless some "TrueType tables" are included in the font: in SFD format, these have names like "TtTable" and "ShortTable". These were absent in FreeFont. (Just what Windows does isn't clear to me: the tables are "hinting" tables, but the effect looks to me like anti-aliasing.) Now, FontForge generates such tables, with the Auto Instruct command--but only for fonts with quadratic outlines. FontForge has always had cubic outlines...the command was disabled. To maintain the cubic outlines (I don't know why, but let's say it is desirable), here is the trick: Font Info -> Layers -> All layers quadratic Auto-hint everything Auto-instruct Save As (different file name) With text editor, copy the TrueType tables from the cubic .sfd file to the quadratic .sfd file. Note: this problem goes away if the font is bundled in OpenType format. This is the main format in Windows Vista, but many important applications in the free software world don't support it. Ciao!