Re: [Possibly off-topic] Fonts for experimental usage. (spins off from Re: Romanized Cyrillic bibliographic data--viable fonts?)

From: Tex Texin (
Date: Fri Aug 30 2002 - 03:26:54 EDT

I'll summarize what I think the mail is about interspersed with my

William Overington wrote:

1) Quotes mail from Kass and Constable

2) Summarizes same mail.

3) Questions if James suggestion to ask font developer for additional
character is practical.

In my experience it is. Clearly it helps if the request is reasonable
and benefits more than
yourself. It might also help if the request is concise and to the point
yet with suitable justification.

Reasonable, and even unreasonable, requests are feasible if you are
willing to pay the developer. In this
case you might get a font for your particular use, or one that is
available to others as well.

4) 2 Paragraphs indicating James has already proven that he will add
characters to his font upon request.

5) Questions if this practice is true for other font developers.

Yes at least some.

6) Describes Softy's approach to font creation.

7) Proposes an Open Font Design Scheme by which large numbers of people
contribute a few letters each and then have them shared with the world.

My sense is that fonts are not just collections of individual glyphs,
but rather there is a relation between each glyph and the others, so the
font has a consistent look and feel and is easily readable. As enticing
as identifying gridlines and letting everyone contribute glyphs sounds,
the resulting font would not look good enough to be usable, with the
simple model you propose.

8) Speculates again about IPR, whether this endeavor would be fun, and
whether it would lead to a useful font.

IPR is solvable, would be fun for some, possibly useful but why bother
when several font developers are already doing a great job.

9) Acknowledges fonts require skill, and questions whether the proposal
is workable.

Font requires skill. Group development is feasible, and even good
quality is attainable with a few more
rules then you mentioned, plus some management of the font development
provided. But what is the motivation? What problem are we solving? (No
need to reply, it's a rhetorical question.)

10) The subject is off-topic, can we discuss it anyway.

Frankly, I hope not. The topic is not specific to Unicode, it is just
about open source type approach to font development. Lengthy threads
about the feasibility and the details and complexity of font development
unrelated to Unicode standard, would not be of interest to me. I would
suggest trying one of the open source environments, or one of the font
lists as suitable places for this discussion.

Having said that, rarely does the Unicode list ignore bait thrown their
way, and so I stand ready with my finger on the delete key.

Tex Texin   cell: +1 781 789 1898
Xen Master                
Making e-Business Work Around the World

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