Re: Supporting CP 1252 in XFree86 [was: DEC multilingual...]

From: Juliusz Chroboczek (
Date: Sat Apr 01 2000 - 12:18:41 EST

I hope that this is not too much off topic for this list. Could
Sarasvati please inform me if this is not the case?

CJF> There are of course high-quality, freely available TrueType fonts
CJF> supporting windows-1252 (and more) at
CJF> I believe FreeType
CJF> and some other software running under Unix/Linux + X can handle
CJF> these.

The software you are referring to, known as ``xfsft'', has been
integrated into XFree86 4.0. We currently support on-the-fly mapping
of Microsoft TrueType fonts (more generally, of fonts with a Unicode
cmap) to a number of encodings, including Windows-specific codepages.
Support for new glyph encodings can be added by the user (just add a
plain text file).

But of course, we cannot distribute the Monotype/Microsoft core fonts
with our system, so the point is moot. (Not complaining, just stating
a fact.)

CJF> Under Windows, ATM supports the whole of windows-1252 using Post
CJF> Script fonts with the "Adobe Standard" encoding

That's not quite exact. ATM shortcircuits the font's encoding, going
directly to the level of glyph names. And we do the same in XFree86
4.0 (the mapping tables are shared with the TrueType code by default,
although users may also add glyph encodings that don't go through
Unicode). What is more, XFree86 contains a number of high-quality
Type 1 fonts that contain all the glyphs needed for CP 1252 (IBM
Courier and Bitstream Charter come to mind).

Unfortunately, the Type 1 rasteriser that we use (donated by IBM and
Lexmark in the olden days) is not very good -- it's okay for printing,
but not for on-screen work (we don't support anti-aliasing -- ``font
smoothing''). I refer you to

We might switch to the FreeType 2 rasteriser (which supports both
TrueType and Type 1) at some point this year, but it's not quite ready

(For your information, we have similar support for Bitstream Speedo
fonts, but, again, the rasteriser is substandard.)

As Markus Kuhn convinced me (and Markus will remember that it took a
lot of convincing), what we need is similar remapping support for
bitmap fonts, especially now that Markus and his cronies have produced
some pretty large Unicode-encoded bitmap fonts. I haven't gotten
around to implementing this yet.

CJF> If you need it, better Unicode / UTF-8 support may be a good
CJF> reason to upgrade.

Catch-22. No Unicode content until user-agents support Unicode;
people won't upgrade until Unicode content is common. (And Netscape 4
being significantly larger and somewhat slower than 3 doesn't help.
They're promising a smaller footprint for version 6; Erik, can you
confirm this?)


                                        Juliusz Chroboczek

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