Re: Greek curled beta in Unicode code chart

From: John Hudson (
Date: Mon Jul 04 2005 - 16:48:10 CDT

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    Alexej Kryukov wrote:

    > So, that's a bug in rendering engines, because Adobe's specification
    > says that <init>, <medi> and <fina> "Can be used in any alphabetic
    > script". The specification also has some examples showing how these
    > tags can be applied to Roman typefaces, like Poetica. And I think
    > everything that is applicable to the Latin script, should be
    > applicable to Greek/Cyrillic too.

    That *appendix* to the OpenType specification probably needs to be revised to make it
    clearer what the relationship of the feature description tags to actual rendering engines
    is. [Note, regarding the Poetica examples, that these descriptions were written in the
    1990s, long before Adobe actually made an OpenType version of Poetica. The description is
    theoretical; the implementation is real. The Poetica OpenType font does not contain
    <init>, <medi> or <fina> features.] The feature descriptions little more than
    implementation recommendations, which is why they are an appendix to the font format spec
    (along with a number of other informational appendices, such as the WGL4 glyph set. As a
    further example, each feature description specifies what lookup type(s) should be used for
    the feature, but there is nothing to stop a font developer from including other lookup
    types with that feature, with the caveat that specific applications might not support all
    lookup types.

    > Do you mean Garamond Premier Pro? IMHO it is a clear example
    > of excessive use of OpenType features. Yes, this font provides
    > correct capitalization, but as a result it can't be used anywhere
    > except InDesign. And even in InDesigh all "ligatures" are broken
    > if you just enlarge letterspacing a bit...

    The latter is a design decision in InDesign based on the typical Latin f-ligature model;
    it is a mistake when applied to many other scripts, including some models of ligated Greek.

    Of course the font can be used in applications other than InDesign: you just get the same
    capitalisation that you get in those applications with any other Greek font. It is somehow
    a mistake that InDesign and OpenType have a way to do this correctly? The <calt> feature
    is supported for the Greek script in the current versions of the MS Uniscribe engine: the
    limitations on support are specific to applications.

    We are getting well off-topic for the Unicode list, I think. I recommend raising questions
    about OpenType features and their implementation on the OpenType developer list:


    > BTW, your font itself looks nice. Is it available for purchase?

    Thanks. It is not available yet (it will eventually have hundreds of Byzantine ligatures),
    but later this year the SBL Greek type, which is in a related style, will be available.

    I'll just conclude by restating my preference to see the Greek typeface in the Unicode
    Greek chart replaced.

    > Well, I would be very happy too, but I'm afraid it is hardly possible
    > for several reasons. First, there are very few Didot-styled typefaces
    > available on the market. That's why I don't think any font foundry will
    > permit embedding their font into the code chart, given that anybody
    > can easily extract it.

    Later this year, I'll be happy to donate the SBL Greek type for this purpose. It is in a
    Renaissance style, though, so is a model that is relatively uncommon in Greece itself. The
    post-Romantic fashion in Greece has been very much for Latinisation, and older native
    styles are quite neglected. The Didot model is the more obvious choice for the Unicode
    chart because it is considered 'normal' or 'plain' text type by most Greeks.

    > Second, I think that at least Roman, Greek and
    > Cyrillic letters in Unicode code charts should have a compatible style.

    I don't think this is a very important consideration.

    See you on the OpenType list?

    John Hudson

    Tiro Typeworks
    Vancouver, BC
    Currently reading:
    Truth and tolerance, by Benedict XVI, Cardinal Ratzinger as was
    An autobiography from the Jesuit underground, by William Weston SJ
    War (revised edition), by Gwynne Dyer

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