bugFree UCS Outline Fonts - Bugs: bug #50753, Latin omega: excessive serifs


bug #50753: Latin omega: excessive serifs

Submitted by:  David Corbett <dscorbett>
Submitted on:  Fri 07 Apr 2017 04:50:39 PM UTC  
Category:  individual character(s) Severity:  3 - Normal
Item Group:  glyph(s) ugly Status:  Postponed
Privacy:  Public Assigned to:  Steve White <Stevan_White>
Open/Closed:  Open Release:  development

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Sun 09 Apr 2017 03:21:53 PM UTC, comment #2:

I have found some uses of this character. None of them have serifs on the middle stroke.


This book was published in 1529 in a reformed Italian orthography. The left and right strokes of the omega curve gently. The middle stroke is a plain vertical stroke.

This book, published c. 1795, presents a phonetic alphabet for Arabic. The left and right strokes of the omega curve tightly. The middle stroke is a plain vertical stroke. There is no capital form.

This is an alphabet created for the Muscogee (Creek) language in 1860. The omega looks essentially the same as in the first example, except that the middle stroke of the capital omega is a loop.

This page shows examples of an orthography for Bantu languages from a book published in 1919. It has examples of omega in capital roman, small roman, small italic, and small bold roman. The omega looks essentially the same as in the first example.

The distinction between “curving gently” and “curving tightly” is more or less the difference between ⟨(⟩ and ⟨c⟩. FreeSans’s Latin omega curves gently whereas FreeSerif’s curves tightly. For reference, the Latin omega in the Unicode code chart curves tightly.

None of these alphabets was successful. The only modern use of the Latin omega that I know of is in Kulango. Unfortunately, I can’t find any examples of Kulango in a serif font.


I have found examples of the Latin omega in various languages in various centuries. None of them put serifs on the middle stroke. I tentatively conclude that serifs are unattested on the Latin omega. This would make sense, since it is in origin a Greek letter, not a Cyrillic letter. It is conceivable that, given common use of this letter, it might have acquired serifs, but as it happened, it has never been a popular letter and has not become Latinized.


A general-purpose pan-Unicode font like FreeSerif should be conservative and not develop new forms of letters. The Latin omega should not have serifs on its middle stroke.

David Corbett <dscorbett>
Sat 08 Apr 2017 06:11:42 AM UTC, comment #1:


I think this is a purely aesthetic judgment. Although you may be right, it's for another time.

Please feel free to back up your viewpoint with documentary evidence -- that will be considered in the future effort.


Steve White <Stevan_White>
Project AdministratorIn charge of this item.
Fri 07 Apr 2017 04:50:39 PM UTC, original submission:

In FreeSerif and FreeSerif Bold, the middle vertical strokes of U+A7B6–7 LATIN CAPITAL/SMALL LETTER OMEGA have prominent serifs. This is because these fonts use the glyphs of U+A64C–D CYRILLIC CAPITAL/SMALL LETTER BROAD OMEGA for these Latin letters. The serifs are appropriate for Cyrillic but not Latin. The middle strokes should look like those of U+0277 LATIN SMALL LETTER CLOSED OMEGA and U+03C9 GREEK SMALL LETTER OMEGA, which do not have serifs.

David Corbett <dscorbett>


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