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New Release

Item posted by Steve White <Stevan_White> on Fri 12 Sep 2008 05:56:28 AM UTC.

A major release has been made of GNU FreeFont, including many technical improvements, the addition and removal of some script ranges, and many bug fixes.

Download it at http://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/freefont/
Find versions dated 20080912

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

Thanks to all the people who wrote in with recommendations!

==========================================================================
Main changes

So many sweeping changes were made, that they are difficult to characterize.

Bug fixes
---------
Hundreds of small fixes, mostly as reported by Jacob Poon.

Writing systems
---------------
Enforced a policy of including a writing system character range only if it serves to display text in its language. This resulted in several ranges being deleted, for now.

Added several writing systems (see Ranges)

Technical
---------
Line spacing: Serif and Mono are now within stated vertical bounds.

Various lookup table repairs in Indic ranges.

Made to pass FontForge validation (.sfd, .ttf, and .otf versions).

Moved auxiliary glyphs out of high Unicode.

==========================================================================
Testing

Used new FontForge scripts to test that Mono is really mono-spaced, and to validate all faces automatically, for .sfd, .ttf, and .otf files.
All tests pass without warnings*, using FontForge 20080429.

(* The OpenType versions produce a warning about the KERN tables when opened with FontForge. But other Windows OpenType files do this as well.)

Checked that the FreeFont installs and works minimally in Linux, Windows Vista, and Mac OS X.

Looked at test pages of all the main script ranges to see if everything was still in order.

==========================================================================
Ranges

Removed
-------
Hiragana/Katakana
since they aren't useful without Kanji.
Telugu
Oriya
Kannada
as they were missing many glyphs, and necessary ligatures, etc.

Added
-----
Hanunóo
Buginese
Tai Le
Old Persian
Ugaritic

Scaled
------
Sinhala, Thaana, Georgian to be in better agreement with rest of font.

Latin Extended accents
----------------------
Overall revision of accents in Latin extended ranges: strove to display accents without clipping. Finished Serif, Mono: Sans still has problems.

Greek, Cyrillic
---------------
Greek accents, and horizontal spacing. and letter shapes improvements.
In Serif, replaced all of Cyrillic and most of Greek with Tempora.

IPA
---
Completed in roman faces

Thai


Really wasn't working well. Accents were off the page or crashing.
Scaled font, shaved a few glyphs down.
Implemented positioning lookup tables (behavior still a mystery,
little support in Linux outside Gnome)

Math Symbols
------------
Added many

General Punctuation
-------------------
greatly extended, completed in several faces

Miscellaneous Symbols
---------------------
In Mono and Serif
Completed/corrected planetary symbols, added Dice, some other easy ones
Completed Dingbats in Serif (using URW Dingbats)
Added some Block Elements to Serif

Gurmukhi
--------
Filled range in Serif, taking glyphs from the original
"Punjabi" font by Hardip Singh Pannu

Hebrew, basic
-------------
Added missing punctuation marks in some faces.

Armenian
--------
Filled out ranges and clean up, regularized letter spacing in Sans

==========================================================================
Jacob Poon's bug report

Mr. Poon spent a great deal of effort to identify and report problems.
I divided his report into problem categories and submitted separate bug reports for each, then tackled the problem that I could.

Thanks, Jacob!

==========================================================================
Technical issues

TrueType Instructions
---------------------
TrueType versions are instructed, resulting in prettier rendering in Windows.

Line height
-----------
Many changes were made to Serif and Mono to make all the glyphs lie in the 1200 EM box. In the case of Mono, these were stricter so that all glyphs lie with a 1000 EM box, for better performance in terminal emulators.

Whole ranges were translated and scaled, and many Latin accents were altered. Remains a bit of a technical problem, but this measure along has helped a lot. Still don't know what to do about Sans, seeing its glyphs are already much taller than those of Serif.

Cleaned high Unicode
--------------------
Several scripts had non-Unicode auxiliary characters (ligatures, etc.) placed in high Unicode (U+FFFF+) positions, obscuring other valid Unicode ranges. Moved these characters to the Private Use area.

Scripts added to tools/
-----------------------
ismonomono.py checks that mono-space is really that
verify.py runs FontForge "verify" on all faces
hex_range.py formats a given range of hex numbers
findBackLayers.py finds glyphs in back layers
nameBySlot.py Sets name/unicode values of a range to encoding value

Mono


Line height minimized (see above)
0-width combining diacriticals (and recognition as mono-space in ttf vs otf)
Added APL symbols (roman only)

OpenType kerning
----------------
Now outputs old kerning tables to OpenType versions for use in Windows.

==========================================================================
To Do

I expect the next release to focus more on improvement and addition of script ranges. Kerning is the main outstanding technical issue.

Kerning
-------
There are kerning tables in FreeFont, but they are little used in
Unix applications. Windows Vista uses only the kerning by classes tables, which aren't set up in FreeFont. Consider adding kerning by classes tables.

Range replacements
------------------
Gurmukhi (perhaps with "AmbarKalmi" font), Georgian
Several Indic ranges have undersized glyphs...will consider options

New ranges
----------
Musical Symbols
Ancient scripts

Web pages/docs
--------------
Test pages
Comparison with other fonts

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