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Re: [Pkg-fonts-devel] ttf-bitstream-vera should not have been removed

On Fri, 2009-06-26 at 07:57 +0200, Christian Perrier wrote:
> (reducing CC list to the acceptable minimum)
> Quoting Keith Packard (keithp@keithp.com):
> > The main 'improvement' that should be made in dejavu is to remove glyphs
> > which are not part of the core latin set; mixing multiple character sets
> > into a single font precludes people from choosing a more suitable face
> > for non-Latin languages. Also, most of the added glyphs do not have the
> > same quality of hinting as the original set, which makes them less
> > desirable on the screen.
> Hmm, Keith, with all due respect, what does make you think that Dejavu
> is providing "low quality" glyphs in the non-Latin ranges?

One of the big efforts with Bitstream was in adjusting the instructed
hints within the font to take advantage of our text rendering
environment; considerable effort was applied in tuning those for
FreeType and Xft. Cairo adopts the same text rendering techniques as
Xft, and so those hints remain optimized for our software.

The glyphs added to Deja Vu do not have hand-constructed hints, and so
they appear effectively unhinted.

> From my understanding of the goals of DejaVu, providing a wide
> coverage *without making compromises on quality* is the main goal of
> this project. Davide Viti, the Debian maintainer of the font, can
> probably bring more light on this as he is in close touch with DejaVu
> upstream.

Wide coverage within the Latin set would be fine, but attempting to take
Deja Vu and extend it to non-Latin (or Latin-derived fonts, like
Cyrilic) is quite a stretch -- take a look at the Georgian glyphs added
to Deja Vu Serif -- not exactly stylistically matched to the Latin
portion of the face (nor should they be).

> What you mention would certainly more apply to the FreeFont fontset,
> which has often been criticized for the low quality of its glyphs in
> several ranges. Even this is probably less true now as the new
> maintainer of Freefont is doing efforts to reduce that problem.

> I think we needs fonts with a very wide coverage, to be able to
> provide to those who don't want gazillion of packages on their
> systems.

Sure, but the default should be to let people select 'good' fonts for
the languages they care about and 'wide coverage' fonts for the rest.

That's why I have Deja Vu installed on my system, but at lower priority
for all character sets than fonts optimized for those languages.

> Of course, specialized fonts might be wished for some ranges
> in order to better foxus on the quality of the targeted ranges....but
> that's not incompatible with wide coverage fonts.

Precisely, which is why we need Vera and other character-set specific
fonts to be available so that people don't end up looking at Deja Vu's
mish-mash of styles for languages that they care about.

Microsoft developed Arial Unicode for precisely this reason -- it's
never the 'requested' font, it's just back there covering glyphs that
the other fonts don't have.


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