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Release December 2008

Item posted by Steve White <Stevan_White> on Fri 26 Dec 2008 11:01:07 PM UTC.

Another release of Gnu FreeFont, now with *kerning*, and several new ranges!

Download it at
Find versions dated 20081226

See below for more details, and the release ChangeLog file for even more.

Big technical improvement

  • FreeFont is now kerned!

Ranges added

  • Cherokee [donated by Daniel Johnson]

[These by George Douros]

  • Gothic
  • Phoenician
  • Byzantine Musical Symbols
  • Mathematical Alphanumeric Symbols (partly--see below)
  • Mah Jong Tiles
  • Dominoes (partly)
  • Glagolitic [by Darko Žubrinić]
  • Coptic [donated by Steve White]

Ranges adjusted

  • Malayalam (Replaced with updated Rachana_04 font)
  • Cyrillic (Extended-B, Cyrillic Supplement)
  • Vietnamese (Added mark lookups)
  • Thai (Filled out bold, italic styles, improved mark lookups, kerned)
  • Greek (Re-designed Upsilon, much fiddling with accents)
  • Hebrew (Added pointed letters)
  • Armenian (Added ligatures)
  • Hanunóo (Added mark lookups)

Ranges filled out
Latin Extended Additional
Miscellaneous Symbols
Combining Diacritical Marks
Currency Symbols
Spacing Modifier Letters
Superscripts and Subscripts
International Phonetic Alphabet
Phonetic Extensions
General Punctuation
Letterlike Symbols
Enclosed Alphanumerics
added APL characters (but why?)

Mathematical Alphanumeric Symbols
The suitability of this whole range is of arguable,
On the other hand it is in the standard, and other characters in Unicode (e.g. in Letterlike Symbols) refer to it, and I'm personally pushing for completion of math ranges. And George Douros has collected the glyphs, so in they go.

I replaced most of George's glyphs with copies of those in
other ranges of FreeFont, and some with Young Ryu's TXFonts.
His calligraphic, script and blackboard bold,
and his character naming scheme, remain.

More languages supported
I find Daniel's Cherokee to be the best I've seen, and I've
downloaded most of the freely-available ones.

The extensions to Cyrillic should provide support for many
living languages, including:

Russian, Ukrainian, Macedonian, Serbian, Belarusian, Rusyn, Bulgarian, Altay, Abkhasian, Azerbaijani, Bashkir, Chuvash, Kazakh, Tatar, Uzbek, Yakut, Tajik, Kildin Sami, Mari, Khanty, Nenets, Mordvin, Komi, Enets, Moldavian, Chukchi, Itelmen, Aleut, Yupik

There is a movement on to revive Coptic, so we'll call it live.

I think the Thai range wasn't really functional before the mark lookups
were added. It has now been declared quite good by a native reader.

Finally realized why kerning didn't work in Linux, and wasn't
recognized in Windows. Fixed.

But I never liked the kerning tables that came with Nimbus.
I think they were automatically generated, but often didn't
make sense technically (a kern of 1EM out of 1000 is invisible)
or visually (many letters under-kerned, many badly over-kerned).

So I made my own kerning tables for Latin and basic Cyrillic.

It is likely that I made mistakes, or that I've generally over-done it.
(As always, comments are welcome!)

The kerning in Latin is elaborate--maybe too elaborate.
It was done with consideration at three different levels:

* repairs: letters so widely spaced that words appear broken
* evenness: even-looking white space between letters
* flow: letter spacing in printed text somehow flows in bulk.
This is rather more subtle than what some automatic area-averaging might
give (and harder to explain). Basically, I printed out a bunch of text
in various languages, and eyeballed it--a lot.

Latin tables were intended to provide kerning for all European languages,
and Turkish. Besides English, I printed out pages of text in
French, Spanish, and German
and specifically kerned for pairs in these languages.
I didn't do Vietnamese yet.

The policy for kerning in Cyrillic went the other way:
I resolved only to fix problems here. The base font was already pretty
tight--any further condensation would degrade readability.

Other technical repairs
Misplaced or mis-numbered glyphs in
Tamil, Gujarati, Devanagari, Hebrew Presentation Forms, Latin Extended B.

Many glyphs in Private Use area that incorrectly had Unicode numbers.

Lookup issues in Gurmukhi.

Various spline issues in Tamil.


Special thanks for the contribution by Daniel Johnson of the Cherokee range!

Thanks also for the work of Darko Žubrinić on Glagolitic!

Thanks to George Douros for his beautiful fonts!
See "Unicode Fonts for Ancient Scripts"

Thanks to the work and cooperation of Hiran Venugopalan
and Swathanthra Malayalam Computing on the Malayalam range

Thanks to the bug reporters! Keep 'em coming!


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