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unifont - consensus on dependencies

The Debian unifont package was orphaned in 2006, so I posted an Intent
to Adopt it about a month ago.  Before submitting the Debian package, I
wanted to have complete Unicode 5.1 BMP coverage complete because I was
so close to that goal.  Now it is done and I can proceed with the
package.  Anthony Fok said that he could sponsor my Debian package
upload when it is ready.

A couple of days ago, I posted the latest realease of GNU Unifont on my


This has a glyph for every printable code point in the Unicode 5.1 Basic
Multilingual Plane.  It is the culmination of a ten-year effort begun by
Roman Czyborra in 1998.  I'm tidying up all the sources used to build
the latest version (mainly updating man pages for the utilities that I
wrote).  After I get the sources online I will put together an update
for the Debian unifont package.

The updated package will have some new dependencies, and the Debian
Policy Manual says that any package dependencies should be agreed upon
by consensus on the debian-devel list before uploading .deb files.  I
have some questions about packaging, and hope to get a consensus opinion

1) The Debian Policy Manual says that all BDF fonts must be converted to
PCF fonts with bdftopcf.  The output format of GNU Unifont has always
been BDF, using a Perl script that Roman Czyborra wrote.  If I must
convert that to PCF it will add a dependency (on bdftopcf) that doesn't
exist today.  Must I never install the BDF font, but add a dependency
for bdftopcf and only install a gzipped PCF version?  The preferred
format of this font is the TrueType format (mentioned below); I don't
even think that a PCF version should be used.

2) The Debian Policy Manual does not list a directory under
/usr/share/fonts/X11 for TrueType fonts.  I plan to have the font be in
the "main/x11" Debian section, and so would like the TrueType version of
the font installed under the X11 hierarchy.  I would like to use a
directory like


for the TrueType font.  The "75dpi" and "100dpi" directories have
historically contained bitmapped fonts, so I don't see another good
alternative for TrueType.  Gnome under Solaris uses
/usr/lib/X11/fonts/TrueType (so there is a precedent).  Any other
similar directory will do but I think TrueType fonts are best placed in
a directory named "TrueType".  This would require an update to the
Policy Manual.

3) I'm using scripts originally written by Luis Gonzalez Miranda to
convert unifont.hex files into TrueType using FontForge.  Therefore I do
intend to add a dependency on FontForge.  There's no way around that
dependency to produce the TrueType version.  The TrueType version
handles Unicode combining characters as zero-width; the BDF version
doesn't.  The TrueType version is also scalable to any point size; the
BDF version isn't.  Thus the TrueType version is preferred over the BDF
(or PCF) version.  I've been using the TrueType version of the GNU
Unifont produced in this way for several months and haven't observed any
problems with it.  Nobody downloading the TrueType font has replied with

Is there any software still in common use that will not handle TrueType
fonts?  Apparently Debian no longer has support for any software that
only supports BDF fonts instead of PCF fonts, so it wouldn't be
considered experimental to remove a BDF font.

Any recommendations are welcome.

Paul Hardy
GPG Fingerprint: E6E6E390

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