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From Paul Tremblay <phthe...@earthlink.net>
Subject Re: Where to download high-quality fonts
Date Wed, 02 Jun 2004 23:30:27 GMT
On Tue, Jun 01, 2004 at 06:04:32PM +0100, Mike Brodbelt wrote:
> I don't know the details for PostScript fonts, but TrueType fonts are
> considered as small programs which, when executed with the correct font
> "engine", draw the correct glyphs on the screen. While the glyph shapes
> themselves can't be copyrighted, the "program" that is a ttf file (or
> other type of font) can be, and the hinting alogrigthms are subject to
> some patents in the US - see http://www.freetype.org/patents.html. As
> PostScript is a language, I suspect the "program" is copyrighted, but
> you may not have patent problems there.

> Yes, you can do this. You may still have to avoid infringing the
> offending patents though :-(.

So what exactly is a font? I thought a font was more like a data file.
I thought the rendering of the font was done by the program. Also, what
exactly is hinting? Is that not some technique to make a font look

> To be fair to Adobe, they took those 500 year old glyph shapes, and
> turned them into a program that reproduces them on your screen.  As you
> point out yourself, this takes a fair amount of time, effort and skill,
> so I think claiming copyright over their implementation is perfectly
> reasonable. I find the people who patent incremental improvements to a
> system, that use those patents as a roadblock to prevent the development
> of competing implementations to be far more unpleasant. This is however
> not a commentary on Apple - I do not know how they have behaved with
> regard to these patents, nor do I know how significant the things they
> have patents on are.

I see your point about Adobe. But they seem to charge extravagant fees.
It costs around $170 just to buy a fount like Bookman. Even to have as
little at 5 fonts for use would become too expensive except for

> AFAIK, it doesn't - that license applied only to that set of fonts. The
> fact that they were enthusiastically adopted by Linux users, and now are
> no longer available from Microsoft's own website suggests that MS rather
> wish they hadn't let them out. I doubt we'll see any more with that license.

That could be, though I just downloaded from MS's own site a package of
true type fonts that inlucded book antiqua and several other nice fonts.
I didn't see any restrictions on the page, and I don't think MS would
let you download them if they put liscensing restrictions on them. But I
could be wrong.

> There's no indication of license at that site, but it looks a bit
> suspect to me....

Yes, and this site looks suspicious to me as well. I don't think I can
just dowload the fonts and provide them on sourceforge.

If a font is a set of data (as opposed to a program), it seems in the
interest of the open source community to develop some type of open font
format. Perhaps a font could be expressed as an XML file, and it could
then be processed to create different types of fonts, such as PS or TT.
Or perhaps I am way off here. 

I noticed that the Verdana font was released under the open source

web address: http://www.gnome.org/fonts/

But the company released it an a true-type form, which seems to come
with some liscensing restrictions. The inventor of the text processor TeX 
created some very nice fonts--but these are in a format that FOP can't
use. So it seems like we need some type of open foundry. I don't think
such a foundry will pop up anytime soon. The artist types who would be
best suited for creating fonts are probably not inclined towards



*Paul Tremblay         *

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