Recent blog entries for yosch

URW++ re-releases open fonts in MuPDF bundle

The URW++ foundry has re-released under the Open Font License (OFL) the core set of fonts for PDF rendering (via PostScript/GhostScript - the special subset of Nimbus - bundled with MuPDF reader by Artifex.
15 Apr 2016 (updated 18 Apr 2016 at 21:21 UTC) »
Building and testing the latest SILE with complex script support

Interested in multilingual publishing with complex scripts and smart fonts? Then you should definitely check out the latest version of SILE (Simon's Improved Layout Editor).
Simon Cozens is the author and the maintainer of this very promising new publishing platform. Development happens on github:

See this gist for the details of getting the various components installed and the build working. I recommend you try it with Ubuntu 16.04 (Xenial Xerus).

(There is also homebrew support for OSX users: brew install sile --HEAD ).

Once you have sile running, you should really check out fontproof, the nice new proofing class/package made by Victor Gaultney. It's a great helper to generate pages to test how your font will behave in various situations, especially with complex script features where other publishing paths do poorly.

Building and testing the next-generation Scribus with complex script support

Interested in multilingual publishing with complex scripts and smart fonts? Then you should help test the latest CTL (Complex Text Layout) branch from Scribus, the libre desktop publishing app.

Various Scribus developers have worked on this over the years. Andreas Vox started the CTL project. Integrating Harfbuzz, Graphite and Raqm goes a long way towards building up capacity to tackle more complex scripts and do a better job. AFAICT the developers at HOST-Oman and Khaled Hosny have spend a lot of time and energy on this: and the results are very promising.

See this gist for the details of getting the various components installed and the build working.
I recommend you try with Ubuntu 16.04 (Xenial Xerus), currently under freeze, because you need QT 5.5. (the codebase won't work on previous versions and you will need to install the whole QT toolchain yourself).
Please report your bugs and help make this better for everyone.

(OpenSuse users should probably look at

23 Mar 2016 (updated 23 Mar 2016 at 20:58 UTC) »
Why, yes, you may use this on your non-Windows OS...

Looks like the folks at Microsoft are making subtle but interesting changes in their licensing approach for certain fonts. They seem to be moving from the generic EULA that says "While the software is running, you may use its fonts to display and print content." - IOW you can't use any of these fonts if you're not running Windows, the "software" is this context - to a EULA that says "You may install and use any number of copies of the software on your devices". IOW, please go ahead and use or test these fonts even if you happen to run something else than Windows on your devices. We don't care about exclusive rights for this any more.

The font download page for the special versions of Calibri and Sitka Small intended to help with legibility and dyslexia has:

Supported Operating System:
Linux, Mac OS X, Windows 10 , Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1

Microsoft Fluent Fonts can be installed on both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows. For non-Windows platforms, there must be support for installing system-wide fonts and extracting files from a ZIP file.

Install Instructions:
For Windows platforms, select the file "Microsoft Fluent Fonts.msi" and open the file. For non-Windows platforms that support installing fonts, select the file "Microsoft Fluent Fonts for non-Windows". Extract the files, read the file "Microsoft Fluent Fonts EULA.rtf" in a document viewer, and install the font files.

Yep, it's a post-Windows-only world after all. Who would have thought?

OK, these fonts are still freeware: unredistributable, unmodifiable and there is not reproducible buildpath, but still, interesting change of mindset...

17 Dec 2015 (updated 18 Dec 2015 at 00:31 UTC) »
Progress on font format interoperability

Looks like we are seeing some promising movement towards better font formats interoperability and interchange with glyphs2ufo, newer versions of vfb2ufo (OSX and Windows only, closed-source), ufo2ft, extractor and ufoLib.

Maybe the times of opaque and proprietary font formats are slowly coming to an end...
3 May 2015 (updated 5 May 2015 at 08:46 UTC) »
Microsoft releasing an open font!

So, after the pleasant but rather unexpected news of Adobe's Source * font families released openly and developed on a public git repo, now we have Microsoft starting to release fonts under the OFL for one of their many projects!

Who would have thought that this could actually happen, that such big font producers would even consider doing this?

But I guess cross-platform web technologies and the corresponding culture tends to carry with it the values of interoperability, consistency and flexibility... And it just makes sense to have unencumbered licensing for that. There must be some value in pursuing that approach, right?

The Selawik font (only Latin coverage at this point) is part of (bootstrap)-WinJS and is designed to be a open replacement for Segoe UI.

A quick look at the metadata reveals:

Full name: Selawik
Version: 1.01
Copyright: (c) 2015 Microsoft Corporation (, with Reserved Font Name Selawik. Selawik is a trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.
License: This Font Software is licensed under the SIL Open Font License, Version 1.1.
License URL:
Designer: Aaron Bell
Designer URL:
Manufacturer: Microsoft Corporation
Vendor URL:
Trademark: Selawik is a trademark of the Microsoft group of companies.

Quite a contrast from the very exclusive licenses attached to the fonts commissioned for Windows...

(Oh and the apparent toponym with an Inupiat name is a nice touch too).

Libre Graphics Magazine issue on fonts

Go check out the latest edition of the Libre Graphics Magazine.

The issue (2.3) is about type, libre/open fonts and related topics from the perspective of a fairly wide selection of authors.

Go ahead: preview, buy, subscribe :-)
24 Sep 2014 (updated 29 Sep 2014 at 13:17 UTC) »
FontLab VI demo at AtypI2014 Barcelona: new drawing features, smarter workflows and better interop with native UFO support and fontgate cross-platform library

During AtypI2014 in Barcelona, Thomas Phinney invited some participants to a special evening presenting the upcoming FontLab VI based on the Victoria re-write and re-architecturing that has been in the works for a few years. (BTW, if you missed it, there is a public video recording from part of a similar talk/demo at AtypI2013 Amsterdam.)

These are the notes I jotted down during the demo evening:

drawing-related features:
  • on-canvas editing of multiple glyphs at the same time
  • smart multi-selection of BCPs
  • drag'n'drop and rich copy'n'paste directly on the canvas
  • dedicated sketchboard to emulate paper-sketching
  • import bitmaps assets and trace directly on canvas
  • smart zooming, scrolling and infinite canvas
  • lasso selection
  • smart guidelines and snapping
  • sliding beziers points (g2 continuity)
  • special selection to move two BCPs at the same time with automatic harmonizing (Tuni line)
  • eraser for more natural point simplification directly on canvas
  • linked clones, with each change propagating independently
  • smart anchors expressed using fractional coordinates with keywords and autosuggested formulas for transforms and boolean operations
  • glue tool to copy only a portion of an outline and a few BCPs
  • in-place measuring tool
  • preview waterfall panel

workflow-related features:
  • context-sensitive side panels to declutter the interface (TAB key hides them quickly)
  • font comparison tool with multiple layers
  • zip file containing assets and font sources can be imported directly
  • easier navigation of character groups and unicode blocks
  • bookmark and history panel as you navigate into your existing and desired blocks
  • in-place OpenType feature editing with an advanced source code widget
  • support for multiple monitors
  • exporting your workspace to PDF and SVG
  • Harfbuzz integration for high-end realistic rendering of OpenType features
  • ClearType integration for realistic rendering (no need to export to Windows for testing)
  • git integration with commands in a dedicated menu with the goal of enabling better tracking of changes with visual diffing

interoperability-related features:
  • native support of UFO2 and UFO3, both for import and export
  • improved python APIs, compatible with robofab
  • full exposing of the APIs via QT UI designer

Soooo, plenty of great new features both in the UI, around the new workflows and in the internal engine but still no release schedule. The private beta program has yet to start. They kept talking of a codebase in alpha stage. Maybe a public beta program will happen as well...

Being made with QT, cross platform porting is now much easier. FontLab is being developed on OSX and tested there primarily but the codebase for the Windows version is only 3% different. The main developer said that a Linux version is doable but there is no definite plan or decision made in that area yet. Until other more open editors catch up, FontLab is still the (albeit proprietary) industry heavyweight. Many people are looking forward to the new features... if they haven't switched yet that is.

Glyphs is the editor most people start with nowadays - including at the MATD in Reading and it's getting glowing reviews and wider support from various parts of the typeface design community. FontLab should be seeing the glyphs on the wall (!) and hurrying up the release. The announcements will probably appear on the forum and the blog.

I've been promised a Debian/Ubuntu version of fontgate for testing server-side interop between font formats, testing, generation with python bindings. This would be fantastic for bridging FontLab with newer, more collaborative workflows and other tools in the OFDK and would increase value in FontLab's UI features. Wait and see...

AFDKO progress

It's good to see that the recently re-released AFDKO is starting to get some attention and (small) things are starting to get merged back in.

There is packaging work underway by ChangZhuo Chen (陳昌倬) from the Debian pkg-fonts team.

There are still various issues to deal with for this codebase to be brought in line with Debian policies, but I was able to successfully rebuild Adobe Source Serif and Adobe Source Sans on Ubuntu 14.04.

This means we are now closer to the long-term goal of a containerized, autobuildable, open-standards-based crossplatform buildpath for complex fonts. New development and testing workflows will be much easier to integrate, so that's good news for everyone :-)

23 Sep 2014 (updated 23 Sep 2014 at 18:35 UTC) »
Open and collaborative font design in a web fonts world: AtypI2013 Amsterdam presentation and panel on open fonts by Victor Gaultney and font industry representatives

Even if you didn't attend the AtypI2013 conference in Amsterdam, you can now watch the video recording of "Open and collaborative font design in a web fonts world" a presentation Victor Gaultney followed by a discussion panel with various key font industry representatives.

Thanks to the video team for their efforts in making more of these AtypI presentations publicly available!

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