Re: Nimbus Sans L Condensed [Summary]

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Le vendredi 07 mars 2008 à 11:16 -0500, Bob Tennent a écrit :

> Blaming the lack of interest in font-stretch since 1999 on the snippet I
> circulated yesterday seems a bit of a stretch :+)

I don't blame the lack of interest on your snippet I blame your snippet
in actively trying to perpetuate this lack of interest.

> It seems you inhabit a universe where font selection by applications is
> already as you want it and only Firefox is holding out. But the reality
> is that family and {regular,bold,italic,bold-italic} are the only
> choices available, not just in browsers, but in desktop applications
> of all sorts. AFAIK, LaTeX2e (and derived variants) are the only
> applications currently available that implement extended families.
> Until this reality changes, there is really no point in distributing
> fonts that are inaccessible to the vast majority of applications;

It seems you inhabit a fantasy land where Nimbus Sans L Condensed is the
only problem case, and where application developers are going to fix
their bits without prompting while you remove the need for them to do so
(by going on a workaround fest on all the fonts you can lay your hands

Unfortunately Nimbus Sans L Condensed is far from the only problem case
and developers being busy people are perfectly happy to sit on problems
a few more years if they find some fools to paper over symptoms for them
in the meantime.

A case in point is the infamous Firefox ligature bug, where removing
ligatures from FLOSS fonts only led to 6 months of active inertia, and
where the workaround had to be reverted before developers started
looking at the problem (note that in the meantime there were lots of
unhappy campers, both in users of FLOSS fonts that had no access to
ligatures to play nice for Firefox, in users of non-FLOSS fonts that hit
the bug but hadn't the critical mass by themselves to get devs to look
at the problem, and in users generally confused by the way the same font
behaved differently depending on if someone had made a smartass surgery
on it or not).

To further contradict your thesis
that {regular,bold,italic,bold-italic} are the
only choices available, not just in browsers, but in desktop
applications and that the only solution is to actively butcher fonts to
appease broken apps,
1. The GTK2 font selector already supports extended faces perfectly
2. gained some access to extended faces in the past six
months through a Fedora patch (the UI still stinks but the base
capability is there, and UI aspects are being discussed now upstream).
This because someone (me in that case) took the time to report the
problem and convince OO.o devs instead of doing a OMG devs are not
responsive let's do a workaround font-side.

Applications are on a collision course with complex fonts right now
because Microsoft, Apple and Adobe have invested heavily in smart font
formats such as OpenType (new fonts are for example a Vista selling
point). At the same time, every major FLOSS font project released in the
last months has used the OTF format since Fontforge and proprietary font
tools besides now use it by default.

The {regular,bold,italic,bold-italic} dumb font era is over and the
sooner FLOSS apps identify the ways they need to cope with it the better
for everyone involved. Delaying this work through workarounds like yours
will only make the adaptation late and more painful.

Therefore I'll use whatever influence I have within the Fedora Fonts
Special Interest Group to block any attempt to hide smart font problems
under the carpet and reassure developers they can continue to assume
last millenium rules apply. Save your energy for gathering support for
the long-term fixes, don't use it to promote short-termist bandaids.

In case you wonder I wrote the current official Fedora font packaging

Nicolas Mailhot

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