Re: Partially hinted fonts

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On 03/31/2011 07:59 PM, Masahiro Sekiguchi wrote:
>> I have noticed that several of the non-Latin fonts we ship in Fedora contain
>> partial hinting information, usually not covering (or covering only very
>> poorly) the intended target alphabet(s) of the fonts.
> It is a common practice in so-called CJK regions.

it is an unfortunate situation, but the difficulties are clear:
1) there are so many CJK characters 2) we don't have efficient tools
to make the hint and 3) even hinted characters are not perfect on
all screens.

I can't say for CJK in general, but for Chinese fonts, even
in commercial ones, fonts with Chinese glyph hinted
are VERY rare. Most of them are unhinted at all, even for
non CJK glyphs. Some of them embed bitmaps. The only Chinese
font that comes with hinting is the Sans/Hei-styled Yahei/JhengHei
[1] shipped in Vista/Win7. The rumor was that MS payed Monotype
$100 per glyph to create the hinting for the Chinese characters.
And I believe it is true!

The hope for Chinese users to have improved rendering on
Linux is autohinting. Sadly, the autohinter in freetype
performs poorly at this point. Uniformity of the strokes,
alignment along the edges and baseline, rendering of the
curved strokes are far from satisfactory, actually a
lot worse than the experience using unhinted CJK glyphs.

I think the CJK autohinter in freetype2 needs a major
rework in order to make it usable. Maybe it can be
explored in some Google Summer of Code projects in the


>> This is a problem because the version of Freetype in Fedora 15 will see that
>> there is some hinting bytecode and try to use the bytecode interpreter
>> rather than the autohinter on the entire font. If the relevant characters
>> are then not actually hinted, those characters will be entirely unhinted,
>> looking blurry.
> Hmm.  I didn't noticed it.
> It is really a big problem.  With very few exceptions, almost all CJK
> fonts are *partically* hinted.  (I'm not familiar with fonts for other
> scripts, but I guess there are some more with similar situations.)
> That means most of the CJK fonts will not work well in Fedora.
>> According to Freetype upstream, you should remove all hinting bytecode from
>> the fonts if it's not complete.
>> Please go through your fonts, especially non-Latin fonts, looking for
>> hinting bytecode, and if it isn't anywhere near complete, please remove it
>> from the font.
> It may be acceptable for a short term workaround, but I don't think it
> is an appropriate solution.  We could remove those partial hints from
> all the Fedora distributed fonts, but we have no control over other
> fonts; there are many free or commercial CJK fonts other than those
> packaged in Fedora, that are partially hinted.  If we go you-should-
> remove-all-partial-hints-if-you-want-to- use-it-on-Fedora direction,
> Fedora users will be effectively unable to use those fonts, that IMHO
> is not a good idea.
> What happens if I propose Fedora to simply exclude those bytecode
> support in Fedora distribution of FreeType, as in the past?
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