From: Philippe Verdy (email@example.com)
Date: Mon Mar 23 2009 - 11:55:11 CST
> Envoyé : lundi 23 mars 2009 16:12
> Ā : firstname.lastname@example.org
> Objet : Re: Does OpenOffice 3.0 handle unicode?
> I shall add, however, that OpenOffice 3.0 on my Mac OS X does
> not at all support PostScript-flavored OpenType fonts. This
> can hardly be called a system-specific issue because Mac OS X
> handles (renders) all OpenType fonts natively, even though it
> (Mac OS X) does not render OpenType Layout for complex
> scripts. Last time I checked, OpenOffice did not support any
> OpenType PS (.otf) fonts on Windows either.
> This is certainly an issue directly related to Unicode
Absolutely not; PostScript does not even use Unicode (it was created before
Unicode ever existed), but specific mappings to some proprietary Adobe
encodings, or to a few legacy 8-bit encodings, or mappings by glyph name.
PostScript does not support the character model, it is fully based on the
The standard Poscript operator for rendering text (show) does not even
support the decoding of strings according to a character encoding model, so
it cannot support necodings to more than 256 glyphs. For larger fonts with
many more glyphs, applications (or printer drivers) need to define their own
rendering routine in the Postscript langiage itself (within a header before
the document itself).
For complex scripts, OpenType PS fonts use a Adobe-specific CID encoding but
this is still an encoding for glyphs, not for characters. There may exist
some mapping tables in OpenType PS fonts for legacy MacOS encodings (that
have a one-to-one match between a character code and a glyph), but for any
other encoding using the character model is only supported by the OS or by
the rendering engine used by the application.
Note that applications using PostScript fonts need to understand the
specific format of font metrics, because they are not stored in the font
itself. However OpenType fonts are built using a postscript font and
compiling the separate tables for font metrics into a single file; however
these metrics use a different format and different conventions than
TrueType-based OpenType fonts.
Finally, the main difference between TrueType and Postscript font flavors is
that they are not defined the same way: the former use conic Beziers (with
one control point between two points on curve) only, the later use quadratic
Bezier curves (with two control points between two points on curve); the
coordinate system for defineing the glyph's "quad" is a bit different also
(1024×1024 for TT, 1000×1000 for PS). The encoding mapping tables are
completely different in OpenType; the glyph composition rules have some
common parts, but there are tables that make senses only for Macs and PS
engines, and other only for PCs and TT engines.
> since the vast majority of Unicode fonts released
> these days commercially are OpenType PS fonts.
That's not true. Fonts are made either for Mac (where they are preferably
defined in OpenType PS type) or PC (where they are most often in TrueType
format or OpenType with trueType flavor. The main difference is not the
Postscript language itself (except for PS Type 1 fonts that are generally
not hinted but require a true implementation of the PostScript language, but
can be used for simple fonts with simple mappings).
So your conclusion is false:
* it's true that this is not a system-specific issue
* but you cannot conclude that this is a Unicode issue
* really this is here an **application-specific** issue that still has no
support for the correct usage of PostScript fonts.
It is not severe on Macs, since MacOSX has also adaopted the support for
TrueType-based fonts since long (which are less complex to define than
PostSCroipt fonts that are fully based on proprietary standards and
proprietary mappings and do not support the character model).
There are still typographers that consider that PS is superior because of
the use of quadratic Beziers, but this is not really a problem because it
has been mathematically demonstrated that any quadratic Bezier can be safely
converted to cubic Beziers without adding lots of control points, with the
same precision as the one used by PostScript for its curve "flatness"
parameter (this parameter limits the decomposition of curves into polygones
made of straight segments until their relative angle becomes nearly flat).
The conversion to the other flavor of curves is also possible by adding a
few control points. Note that fonts define their curve flatness parameters
The conversion of the character's definition grid is also convertible to the
other model but this is generally not easy if you have used 1000 instead of
1024 for the quad, because fonts are typically built using integer
coordinated for their control points, instead of floats. This also affects
the way font metrics are defined, and their precision: it's not really
possible to convert those font metrics because you cannot add more control
points for them to give an equivalent precision.
To work with both flavors of fonts, applications must be prepared to use a
common model (like the one used in the conventions defined and used by
FreeType.org), and use a layout engine that can correct map charactes to
glyphs using the informations found in different tables of the fonts.
Windows has such an API, but it is specific to Windows and may not be
portable to other systems, so it may not be used by OpenOffice.org that uses
its own layout engine.
So the main problem for OpenOffice is to understand all the OpenType tables
and be able to compute string layouts according to different metrics, and
also to discover how the glyphs are mapped in PS-type OpenType fonts. But
you cannāt say it is a problem of Unicode: the mapping from Unicode to
Postscript CID encodings is not defined in the OpenType standard itself, but
in Adobe proprietary documents (which are subject to licencing
restrictions). In addition, applications need to buy a licence to be able to
use PostScript Type 1 fonts made by Adobe (or by a few wellknown typography
Note that if you buy a licence for a font design to a typographer, you may
have to choose between the PosctSCript and the TrueType based formats. On
large typography providers (like Monotype), font designs are generally
available in both formats (you generally have to choose "for PC" or "for
Given that there are many more PCs than Macs today (and even Macs now
support TrueType) the TrueType-based fonts have become much more common
today, except for wellknown legacy fonts (but with high quality, that are
built by Adobe and available with a paid licence, those fonts that are
normally part of the "standard" set of PostScript fonts: Courrier, Times,
Helvetica, Zapf Dingbats...).
Other free (or proprietary) implementations use other font designs that are
compatible to the font Panose characteristics and font metrics, and then
remap these Adobe fonts to the alternate designs. For example Microsoft has
used its own metric-compatible fonts for a few of these legacy Adobe fonts:
Courrier New, Times New Roman, Arial, but Microsoft created also its own
designs, with the help of wellknown typography providers (like Monotype that
also provided some of their designs to Adobe...) notably Verdana for more
readable text display on screen (with much less visible placement artefacts
in WYSIWYG mode as the larger design allows more freedom for font hinting).
There are other things that are supported differently on Macs an PCs, but
this is for legal reasons: font hinting technology is not easily portable
from one OS to the other in products that must be freely distributed, due to
copyright restrictions and licencing issues in these technologies. (Users of
FreeType or GhostScript should have all read the legal restrictions and
limitations about the implementation, and how to remove this limitation by
buying a licence to either Microsoft, Apple, and/or Adobe; they should also
know why some "common" font styles are not provided with these
I have not seen such legal disclaimer in Pango (or when installing
OpenOffice), so I'm not sure that it can even legally make use of those
proprietary extensions covered by costly patents (that are not royaltee-free
for everyone). These patents are certainly not a problem of Unicode or
Unicode-compliance of the application because Unicode/ISO 10646 can be fully
implemented free of charge in applications like OpenOffice without breaking
the full compliance to the standard.
Did you check if those limitations also apply to the "StarOffice" version
licenced and supported by Sun? Its licence may include the support and
sublicences for these proprietary extensions restricted by Adobe or
Microsoft patents (or other exclusive copyrights owned by typographers for
some font designs that are subject to additional licencing), but I can't say
if this is effectively the case.
Finally, have a look at the properties of your fonts: some fonts have
restrictions in their use (some cannot be used for creating new documents,
or for embedding, or for printing, or for distributing documents, or for
embedding, or the glyph definitions are protected and do not allow their
derivations to create some effects... There are many possible restrictions).
This could explain why some of these fonts you have tried do not work in
OpenOffice but may work in MS Word or other programs with a paid licence.
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