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Gnu FreeFont -- new release

From: Steve White
Subject: Gnu FreeFont -- new release
Date: Fri, 12 Sep 2008 10:04:46 +0200

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
Find versions dated 20080912

FreeFont home page:

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)

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.


Used new FontForge scripts to test that Mono is really mono-spaced,
and to validate all faces automatically, for .sfd, .ttf, and .otf
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

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.


since they aren't useful without Kanji.
as they were missing many glyphs, and necessary ligatures, etc.

Tai Le
Old Persian

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

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

Completed in roman faces


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

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

Hebrew, basic
Added missing punctuation marks in some faces.

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

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/
----------------------- checks that mono-space is really that runs FontForge "verify" on all faces formats a given range of hex numbers finds glyphs in back layers Sets name/unicode values of a range to encoding value


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.

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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