[scribus] Fonts, worthy or not?

Barry McKenna bmcken at pobox.com
Mon Apr 4 20:05:04 CEST 2011


Thanks for that link:


This subject brings up an issue that I've been wanting to 
ask about but have felt tenuous, because I don't want my 
comments to be taken as some kind of bash.

I have been developing a font for my research and 
publication for a number of years now, so I have more than 
your average user's experience in terms of how much work 
goes into developing a font: Developing a font - just your 
basic non-italic, non-bold font - can be as much work as 
developing any other kind of software package.

There are three major tasks in developing a font:

1) drawing the glyphs (and its multiple parts...)
2) hinting
3) kerning

I'm laying out this description so that everyone can 
understand where my comments are coming from.

Each of the above three tasks in completing one font are 
tasks that will take many hours/days/weeks/months of work, 
depending upon one's experience in developing fonts and 
familiarity with the specific software used to develop the 

"Drawing the glyphs" is self explanatory.

"Hinting" may not be a term/concept that is familiar to 
everyone - and is at the foundation of this posting of mine 
and an issue I've been thinking about, in terms of Scribus, 
for a long time.

"Hinting" is the task of analyzing each glyph at each and 
every point size and making sure that each *pixel* is 
pushed/aligned in exactly the *best* location in the grid of 
pixels that are available at each of the specific point sizes.

It is a task that can take many hours/days/weeks/months of work.

So, that said, from the perspective of how things look on my 
system, I find that most of the additional fonts that 
Scribus installs, and most of the free fonts available, 
including the font used for the main page that Gregory 
offered to us yesterday


unusable, because they have not had any hinting applied.

In other words, each glyph is very rough looking, as the 
font on the main page at openfontlibrary.org appears - at 
least to me on my system - and that is how most of the free 
fonts that my Scribus install adds look to me on my system: 
very rough/jagged, i.e., without any hinting.

So, the question I have been wanting to ask for some time is 
"why is Scribus offering these free fonts without any 
hinting and am I the only one who notices that they are 
virtually unusable because they have no hinting?"

I have been extremely hesitant to ask this question because 
I don't want it to be taken as some kind of bash about 
Scribus, because to me, Scribus is one of the most wonderful 
gifts I have ever received.

So, I'd be especially grateful if anyone would offer any 
comments about the 'hinting' issue with most of the free 
fonts installed with Scribus and most of the free fonts 
offered on the web.

(...and this doesn't even bring us up to the next task of 
kerning, which can't be applied until each glyph at each 
point size is hinted...)

Barry McKenna

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