[Scribus] Live-CD: TeX fonts

Christoph Schäfer christoph-schaefer
Mon Jul 4 04:05:26 CEST 2005

Hi Peter,

> Forget scripting *completely*
> Font QA is painstakingly a manual job. It takes *months* to QA a 
> single font properly. Matthew Carter reportely spent nearly a year on 
> Verdana to get it finished. He is widely considered one of the 
> world's top designers.
> Think in the order of several hours *per glyph*.
> Case closed.
> One of the few free to use fonts I recommend is the Lido fonts listed 
> on www.scribus.net You might want to read the notes which accompany 
> the creation of that font. That similarly gives one an idea of how 
> long it takes to create a good quality font.

First, thanks for your rant!

I was obviously a bit naive in thinking that after some decennia of 
LaTeX and Type 1 fonts, someone finally found *the* algorithm for 
magically converting LaTeX's bitmap fonts to first grade PS vector fonts. :(

> Bitmap fonts converted into outlines will need similar QA as above to 
> be considered reliable.

I can imagine the problems, especially with metrics etc. AFAIK, Metafont 
  bypassed the problem by providing exactly one bitmap for a given size. 
Type 1, TTF and OTF, as vectors, provide a more flexible approach, but 
it seems that converting bitmap fonts to vectors is almost the same as 
creating a new font. Did I get it right?

> Font QA is one area where the commercial folks can say they are 
> superior at the moment and they are 100% correct. The rest we OSS 
> folks win.

Looking at the roadmaps of GIMP, inkscape, and scribus, I think that 
within the next two years the reasons to pay high license fees for 
(admittedly) excellent products like Adobe CS or QXP will significantly 
diminish, provided the OSS community will supply an easy-to-use Linux 
based alternative ;) So why not pay the real artists (read: font 
designers) for their hard work!

> My rule with fonts is 99.5% of the time free fonts suck. I won't  use 
> them and I do not advise you either. 

I don't, and I almost always use a set of proven fonts (ghostscript 
fonts, among a few others, have never disappointed me), and having 2000 
fonts on your computer with 90% crap is definitely no desirable state. 
In case I'm not sure and the size of the job allows for it, I convert 
everything to outlines. Moreover, I bought most of my fonts, which is 
not too much money spent, considering the advantages of commercial 
quality fonts and the low price of excellent Open Source software. 
Creating a really good font needs a lot of knowledge in typography and 
also a sense of taste, technical issues aside. In my view, font 
designers are artists who deserve to be paid for their work, so I don't 
mind paying for good fonts. My intention was to have the original (free 
as in speech *and* in free beer) LaTeX fonts, which are excellent, 
available for distribution on the Live-CD.

> Sorry for ranting, but bad fonts waste a *lot* of development team 
> time. Moreover, they can cost *thousands* on a botched print job.

The rant was well placed, but I don't think we disagree much. Careful 
font selection is an important part of the production process.



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