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From "J.Pietschmann" <j3322...@yahoo.de>
Subject Re: Where to download high-quality fonts
Date Thu, 03 Jun 2004 17:13:36 GMT
Paul Tremblay wrote:
> So what exactly is a font? I thought a font was more like a data file.

Well, a program is a data file, interpreted by the processor. You know,
there's always a level where the distinction between programs and data
is blurry.
In terms of copyright, the distinction doesn't matter all that much
anyway.

> 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
> better?

It is a technique which makes scaled down glyphs look better. Remember,
TrueType fonts are used to generate glyph bitmaps for arbitrary glyph
sizes. Hints are used to change the glyph locally to minimize artifacts
caused by mapping the shape to pixels. For example take the upper case
letter "T". If the stroke thickness gets down to the range of a single
pixel, the joint of the two lines of the T might start looking more
black and somewhat like a knot. A hint causes the renderer to lighten
the zone up.

> 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.

Why? The TTF and OTF formats are already open. The problem are the
software patents related to the bytecode interpreter which requires font
*rendering programs* to ask for a license. See also
  http://www.freetype.org/patents.html

> [snip search for free fonts]
Ghostscript and KDE come with completely free fonts, and I've seen
TTF conversion for them. I'm just too lazy right know to search through
their distributions for the actual font names and fedd this into Google.
I als vaguely remember that the Lucid TTF included in Sun's JDK (perhaps
Linux only) doesn't have license restrictions.

J.Pietschmann

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