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FreeFont: first release 2009

From: Steve White
Subject: FreeFont: first release 2009
Date: Sun, 4 Jan 2009 18:30:31 +0100

We announce a major release of GNU FreeFont!

Big technical improvement
* FreeFont is now kerned!

Ranges added
* Cherokee      [donated by Daniel Johnson]

[These by George Douros]
* Gothic
* Phoenician
* Byzantine Musical Symbols
* Mathematical Alphanumeric Symbols (partly--see below)
* Mah Jong Tiles
* Dominoes (partly)

* Coptic        [donated by Steve White]

Ranges adjusted
* Malayalam     (Replaced with updated Rachana_04 font)
* Cyrillic      (Extended-B, Cyrillic Supplement)
* Vietnamese    (Added mark lookups)
* Thai  (Filled out bold, italic styles, improved mark lookups, kerned)
* Greek (Re-designed Upsilon, much fiddling with accents)
* Hebrew        (Added pointed letters)
* Armenian      (Added ligatures)
* Hanunóo       (Added mark lookups)

Ranges filled out
  Latin Extended Additional
  Miscellaneous Symbols
  Combining Diacritical Marks
  Currency Symbols
  Spacing Modifier Letters
  Superscripts and Subscripts
  International Phonetic Alphabet
  Phonetic Extensions
  General Punctuation
  Letterlike Symbols
  Enclosed Alphanumerics
  added APL characters (but why?)

Mathematical Alphanumeric Symbols
  The suitability of this whole range is of arguable,
  On the other hand it is in the standard, and other characters in
Unicode (e.g. in Letterlike Symbols) refer to it, and I'm personally
pushing for completion of math ranges.  And George Douros has
collected the glyphs, so in they go.

  I replaced most of George's glyphs with copies of those in other
ranges of FreeFont, and some with Young Ryu's TXFonts.
  His calligraphic, script and blackboard bold, and his character
naming scheme, remain.

More languages supported
  I find Daniel's Cherokee to be the best I've seen, and I've
downloaded most of the freely-available ones.

  The extensions to Cyrillic should provide support for many living
languages, including:

  Russian, Ukrainian, Macedonian, Serbian, Belarusian, Rusyn,
Bulgarian, Altay, Abkhasian, Azerbaijani, Bashkir, Chuvash, Kazakh,
Tatar, Uzbek, Yakut, Tajik, Kildin Sami, Mari, Khanty, Nenets,
Mordvin, Komi, Enets, Moldavian, Chukchi, Itelmen, Aleut, Yupik

  There is a movement on to revive Coptic, so we'll call it live.

  I think the Thai range wasn't really functional before the mark
lookups were added.  It has now been declared quite good by a native

  Finally realized why kerning didn't work in GNU/Linux, and wasn't
recognized in Windows.  Fixed.

  But I never liked the kerning tables that came with Nimbus.  I think
they were automatically generated, but often didn't make sense
technically (a kern of 1EM out of 1000 is invisible) or visually (many
letters under-kerned, many badly over-kerned).

  So I made my own kerning tables for Latin and basic Cyrillic.

  It is likely that I made mistakes, or that I've generally over-done it.
  (As always, comments are welcome!)

  The kerning in Latin is elaborate--maybe too elaborate.
  It was done with consideration at three different levels:

  * repairs: letters so widely spaced that words appear broken
  * evenness: even-looking white space between letters
  * flow: letter spacing in printed text somehow flows in bulk.
  This is rather more subtle than what some automatic area-averaging
might give (and harder to explain).  Basically, I printed out a bunch
of text in various languages, and eyeballed it--a lot.

  Latin tables were intended to provide kerning for all European
languages, and Turkish.  Besides English, I printed out pages of text
    French, Spanish, and German
  and specifically kerned for pairs in these languages.
  I didn't do Vietnamese yet.

  The policy for kerning in Cyrillic went the other way:
  I resolved only to fix problems here.  The base font was already
pretty tight--any further condensation would degrade readability.

Other technical repairs
  Misplaced or mis-numbered glyphs in
  Tamil, Gujarati, Devanagari, Hebrew Presentation Forms, Latin Extended B.

  Many glyphs in Private Use area that incorrectly had Unicode numbers.

  Lookup issues in Gurmukhi.

  Various spline issues in Tamil.


Special thanks for the contribution by Daniel Johnson of the Cherokee range!

Thanks to George Douros for his beautiful fonts!
  See "Unicode Fonts for Ancient Scripts"

Thanks to the work and cooperation of Hiran Venugopalan
and Swathanthra Malayalam Computing on the Malayalam range

Thanks to the bug reporters!  Keep 'em coming!

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