FreeFont 20060126 review

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FreeFont project aims to provide a set of free outline (PostScript Type0, TrueType, OpenType...) fonts covering the ISO 10646/Unicode

License: GPL (GNU General Public License)
File size: 4034K
Developer: Primoz Peterlin
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FreeFont project aims to provide a set of free outline (PostScript Type0, TrueType, OpenType...) fonts covering the ISO 10646/Unicode UCS (Universal Character Set).

Why do we need free outline UCS fonts?

A large number of free software users switched from free X11 bitmapped fonts to proprietary Microsoft Truetype fonts, as a) they used to be freely downloaded from Microsoft Typography page, b) they contain a more or less decent subset of the ISO 10646 UCS (Universal Character Set), c) they are high-quality, well hinted scalable Truetype fonts, and d) Freetype, a free high-quality Truetype font renderer is available and has been integrated into the latest release of XFree86, the free X11 server.

Building a dependence on non-free software, even a niche one like fonts, is dangerous. Microsoft Truetype core fonts were never free, they were just costless. Citing the TrueType core fonts for the Web FAQ: You may only redistribute the fonts in their original form (.exe or .sit.hqx) and with their original file name from your Web site or intranet site. You must not supply the fonts, or any derivative fonts based on them, in any form that adds value to commercial products, such as CD-ROM or disk based multimedia programs, application software or utilities. As of August 2002, however, the fonts are not anymore available on the Web, which makes the situation clearer.

Don't there exist any free high-quality outline fonts? Yes, they do. URW++, a German digital typefoundry, released their own version of the 35 Postscript Type 1 core fonts under GPL as their donation to the Ghostscript project. The Wadalab Kanji comittee has produced Type 1 font files with thousands of filigree Japanese glyphs. Yannis Haralambous has drawn beautiful glyphs for the Omega typesetting system. And so on. Scattered around the internet there are numerous other free resources for other national scripts, many of them aiming to be a suitable match for Latin fonts like Times or Helvetica.

Free UCS outline fonts will cover the following character sets:

ISO 8859 parts 1-15
CEN MES-3 European Unicode Subset
IBM/Microsoft code pages 437, 850, 852, 1250, 1252 and more
Microsoft/Adobe Windows Glyph List 4 (WGL4)
KOI8-R and KOI8-U
DEC VT100 graphics symbols
International Phonetic Alphabet
Arabic, Hebrew, Armenian, Georgian, Ethiopian, Thai and Lao alphabets, including Arabic presentation forms A/B
Japanese Katakana and Hiragana
mathematical symbols, including the whole TeX repertoire of symbols
APL symbols etc.

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