Re: Symbol font mappings

From: Markus Kuhn (
Date: Fri Oct 22 1999 - 09:19:45 EDT

Kevin Bracey wrote on 1999-10-22 12:32 UTC:
> >
> > 6.
> > is a GLYPHlist. Unless it is changed PostScript 'phi' means 'closed phi'
> > and PS 'phi1' 'open phi', because that's how they appear in the Symbol font.
> Who says the Symbol font is the reference? Those names apply to any font.

Good point. Changing the glyph names in the Symbol fonts might be an
alternative to do here then. I'm currently reworking the X11 fonts for
XFree86 4.0 anyway, so I could easily change the glyph name before I use
the unmodified glyphlist.txt to add ISO10646 encoding information to the
fonts. The problem is just: If I make the font change in X11, this still
won't help with the many PostScript printers out there. The entire
problem remains quite a mess in the end, so I better don't touch
anything, and we will have to live with the fact that Symbol remains
mapped according to the Unicode 2.0 glyph tables.

Note also, that the "Adobe Symbol" font is completely useless to print
Greek text. It contains only a subset of ISO 8859-7, the glyphs are all
in italics, and the entire font was clearly designed for mathematicians
and not for Greek text processing.

One comes even to question whether it was a good idea to unify say




because the typographic styles used by Greeks and mathematical
typographers differ for some characters quite substantially. (But then,
So have Greek and Coptic, French and Polish, and other communities with
style differences been unified, so it is at least consistent).

Recommended reading on the conflicts between Greek (ISO 8859-7)
and mathematical (TeX, Adobe Symbol, etc.) usage:

  Haralambous: From Unicode to Typography, a Case Study: the
  Greek Script, Proceedings of the 11th Unicode Conference, Boston,
  1999, <>, 4 MB.

By the way, we have the exact same problem in TeX, with the only
advantage that no official mapping table exists yet (I think).


Markus G. Kuhn, Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge, UK
Email: mkuhn at,  WWW: <>

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