Posts in Category "Operating Systems"

March 6, 2012

On Keyboard Layouts

An ANSI keyboard.

At the ATypI conference 2011 in Reykjavík, I gave a talk entitled “Pitfalls of Pi fonts.” This presentation was the culmination of a project that involved the creation of keyboard layouts for all of our dingbat fonts. The ultimate purpose of this project was the desire to replace obsolete Type 1 (T1) fonts with more current OpenType fonts (OTFs), which was necessary for various reasons, the most important of which being that T1 fonts lack proper Unicode information. On another hand, this shortcoming in the T1 font format was also its greatest advantage: virtually all the glyphs were easily accessible from the keyboard.
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8:00 AM Permalink
August 29, 2009

IVS (Ideographic Variation Sequence) support in OSes

Finally. Yesterday, Friday, August 28th, 2009 is significant, at least for me, in that it represents the release date for Mac OS X Version 10.6 (aka, Snow Leopard). What is important about Snow Leopard is that it is the first OS that provides built-in support for IVSes (Ideographic Variation Sequences). Up until now, IVSes had been supported in specific Adobe products, such as Acrobat Version 9.0 and Adobe Reader Version 9.0 in the context of Forms, Flash Player Version 10, and InDesign CS4.

For those who are unaware of IVSes, they represent standardized Unicode behavior that allows otherwise unencoded variants of CJK Unified Ideographs to be represented using “plain text” that survives conditions that would cause rich text to fail. IVSes are registered via IVD (Ideographic Variation Database) Collections. The first IVD Collection to be registered at the end of 2007, was Adobe-Japan1, and is currently aligned with the Adobe-Japan1-6 character collection. See:

OpenType Japanese fonts can be IVS-enabled by building a Format 14 ‘cmap’ subtable. The AFDKO tools (in particular, MakeOTF and spot) are IVS-savvy, as well as DTL OTMaster (and the Light version).

5:55 AM Permalink
July 12, 2008

Workarounds for Win ATM (and MMs) on Vista

A year and a half ago, I posted about Adobe Type Manager’s incompatibility with Vista and the implications for multiple master (MM) fonts. ATM is of course discontinues and unsupported on Vista, but it turns out there are workarounds, which I should share.

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5:40 PM Permalink
March 7, 2008

Microsoft PowerPoint 2007 & OpenType CFF Fonts

Microsoft has been hard at work fixing a couple of bugs Windows PowerPoint 2007 has in working with OpenType CFF (“PostScript” flavored OpenType) fonts.

The first is pretty serious. Set text above 64 point in an OpenType CFF font, and it all munges together, overlapping. It’s basically unreadable and unusable at these sizes.

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2:30 PM Permalink
October 7, 2007

Windows Font Management has sucked

I recently moved to a new laptop, which reminded me of a painful issue as I migrated my data and fonts and reinstalled my applications. Historically, Windows font management has well, sucked. How, why, and can it be improved? Recent developments offer some hope for the future. Here’s a brief rant on what font management is, how it has fallen down on Windows, some speculation on why, comments on recent improvements, and a batch of specific feature requests.

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10:37 AM Permalink
November 17, 2006

AdobeFnt.db and FntNames.db files – don’t delete them!

People may suggest you delete the Adobe font cache files to attempt to fix certain problems – and indeed, under some uncommon circumstances, an Adobe font cache file may get messed up. These font cache files are AdobeFnt*.lst files (where “*” may be nothing, or may be a two-digit number).

However, there are two files with simjilar names, but ending in “.db”, which are not caches, are not subject to any kind of corruption that we know of, and should not be deleted. AdobeFnt.db and and FntNames.db are both static database files used by InDesign. Deleting them, especially FntNames.db, can cause serious problems.

So what are these database files?

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9:50 AM Permalink
October 11, 2006

Windows Vista: end of the line for Win ATM and multiple masters

Well, the title pretty much says it all. ATM Light and Deluxe don’t appear to work properly under Vista, and we don’t currently have any plans to update them (we stopped selling and supporting ATM Deluxe quite some time back).

However, multiple master (MM) fonts also don’t really work at the system level under Windows without ATM (Light or Deluxe). With Adobe applications that use our shared font engine, you can still put MM fonts in a shared Adobe fonts folder, whether it’s “C:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Fonts” or the “Fonts” folder within an individual application folder. So it will still be possible to get MMs working under Vista for, say, InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop. But not for Microsoft Office, QuarkXPress, Adobe Freehand, or many others.

Sorry for the bad news. But I trust it was apparent that this sort of thing was coming sooner or later.

7:13 PM Permalink
December 2, 2005

Type 1 to OpenType compatibility

One of the things we had kind of left behind in the migration to OpenType was compatibility. More specifically, we renamed all our fonts so that people could use the OpenType versions alongside the old Type 1 versions. Making them deliberately not compatible then freed us to extend kerning, expand the character set a bit, and make other fixes and changes of varying degrees.

But still, people want to know which OpenType fonts match which Type 1 fonts, and what will happen if they take existing documents and replace the old fonts with the new ones (which of course means changing style definitions or using search and replace). Will they get reflow, and how much? First, we did documents about mapping from Type 1 (including multiple master) fonts to OpenType: a short HTML doc for MM to OpenType, and a huge PDF for regular Type 1 to OpenType.

Then, just a couple of weeks ago I finished a long and complicated migration FAQ on compatibility, reflow, and what exactly we changed. I’ve been working on this on and off for months, just as a background task, adding more things as I thought of them. It’s still not perfect – for example, I left out explanations about pi fonts, or at least linking to the pi font readme, which I should have done.

So, I expect I will continue to evolve the migation/compatibility FAQ for a year or two, and I welcome feedback for future revisions. Feel free to post your comments here.

(BTW, everything is linked from our main OpenType page.)

7:52 PM Permalink