Re: [dev] freetype2/fc pain

From: Manu Raster <>
Date: Mon, 24 Sep 2018 20:12:11 +0200

"Eon S. Jeon" <> writes:

>>> Hiltjo Posthuma <> writes:

>>> I agree its useful. (Complex) fall-back font support has been on my mind also.
>>> An idea could be of instead of supporting fallback fonts we could write some
>>> font merge script (pre-runtime).
>> Very good! That's where the problem should be addressed. Solving font
>> problems pre-runtime at font-file level saves many lines of code.
>> Normally, in non-asian setups only a fraction of the glyphs beyond
>> ascii are used at a time and those few can easily be merged in
>> pre-runtime if not already present e.g. some emojis.
> Hello, Manu.

Greetings Eon,

> Sorry, but merging font is not a good option.

For only a couple of characters or a set of new emojis, imo it
is. Normally the goal is just to fill occasional gaps in running
text. Whenever a tofu is rendered, the tofu's codepoint appends a file
which becomes the not too long and complex list of missing glyphs. To be
acquired by the user, of course.

> Each font contains settings like height, padding and hinting
> parameters, which are optimized for its glyphs by designers. So,
> merging fonts (or importing glyphs from other fonts) likely to cause
> character misalignment and hinting problems, especially when merging
> fonts of different languages.

This is true for fonts for typesetting books but system fonts used to be
simple bitmap definitions of fixed measures. If we confine the user to
languages in phonetic writing systems in a latin-based script such as
english we are well off. Mixing radically different languages and
writing systems in one program is never needed but introduces a lot of
complexity (fallback, tables, caching, xml) and multiple and full blown
font files.

> Fontforge might do the trick, but it takes skills to roll that
> monster, and hinting is still difficult to customize AFAIK.

Not that devil. Such a tool needs to be developed in-house. ;) If needed
at all. A file with glyphs to plunder, the list of tofus and a text
editor is already sufficient. The format to be used is bdf, a text
file. (Bitmap Distribution Format. X11 then uses the binary and
compressed pcf-version of it).

Received on Mon Sep 24 2018 - 20:12:11 CEST

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