Older blog entries for yosch (starting at number 146)

8 Feb 2013 (updated 9 Feb 2013 at 22:11 UTC) »
New open fonts shipping with LibreOffice 4.0

Interesting to see that LibreOffice 4.0 increases the number of open fonts bundled by default: the release notes mention - among quite a few other nifty new features - that Open Sans by Ascender, PT Serif by ParaType, Source Code Pro and Source Sans Pro by Adobe join the existing Dejavu, Liberation, Gentium and Libertine font families that LibreOffice users can enjoy without having to go through any installation steps.

More quality entries in your font menu :-D

Of course this font repository integration idea sounds very good too!


Some promising aspects of Source Sans Pro, Adobe's recently published open font

So, it looks like Adobe's recent decision to release Source Sans Pro as an open font under the OFL has been well-received in various parts of the interwebs.

I'd like to add big congrats to Paul D Hunt, Ken Lunde, Robert Slimbach, Miguel Souza and Ernie March (and as few others at Adobe I imagine) as well for going open with all this work. May they reap many benefits for this move.

Besides the design quality and the unusual fact that Adobe-affiliated designers and font engineers are directly involved, I think there are some very promising aspects worth pointing out: Source Sans comes with an AFDKO buildpath and the corresponding full set of source files, various smart behaviours (via OpenType), initial focus on supporting languages using extended latin (like Vietnamese and Navajo) and tentative plans for newer writings systems in the published roadmap in which they invite outside participation to the project.

Seeing the authors interact and reply to community input directly in the blog discussion thread is quite promising too: making adjustments to the zip structure of the release, explaining how people can make their own branch if they want, promising more technical documentation on the buildpath, exploring the use of a DVCS and possibly fontforge, etc. IMHO it shows a great willingness to think and act beyond a simple code drop by looking at ongoing maintainership. Many miles ahead compared to somewhat similar open font releases by corporations I've been able to observe previously. Well-done.

I'm looking forward to the Monospace version in the pipeline...

Maybe Adobe will even consider making the AFDKO toolkit more open in the future? There were queries about releasing AFDKO more openly earlier (the python scripts themselves are already under the MIT license)...


28 Nov 2011 (updated 28 Nov 2011 at 18:42 UTC) »
Updating FontForge's localization into French

A few weeks ago, as part of a booksprint on libre/open fonts, some of us started to update the French translation of FontForge, the libre software font editor. Fontforge uses GNU gettext and the UI translation documentation outlines the methodology for getting the messages updated and tested.

This was driven by the need to make the terminology coherent and to illustrate various chapters with screenshots in French for Fontes Libres a book written in French on libre/open fonts and related topics. This book effort has been made possible thanks to FLOSS Manuals fr and the financial support of Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie.

We built upon the previous translation work done by Pierre Hanser and Yannis Haralambous. Interestingly enough, much of the needed translation of po/fr.po was done and tested using gobby in a hotel lobby over a wireless network. There are much better workflows out there but this ad-hoc method was helpful.

There is still a lot left to translate but things are on their way and I hope this can get finished soon and submitted for inclusion upstream.

One more way the wider community will benefit from this booksprint !
3 Nov 2011 (updated 3 Nov 2011 at 09:44 UTC) »
FLOSS Manuals booksprint on libre/open fonts

Thanks to the efforts of the FLOSS Manuals francophone team: namely Elisa Godoy de Castro Guerra and Cédric Gémy, a bunch of us with some knowledge and experience of libre/open fonts are getting together for a few days to do a booksprint on the topic (with the necessary funding provided by OIF).

It should be really interesting to use agile methods to work together on a book to explore this very rich and diverse subject.

A great opportunity for me to discuss and write up in a more structured way thoughts and corresponding best practises on the key issues from the various talks given at FLOSS conferences these past few years. They have been sitting idle on my hard drive for too long...

The resulting book written in French will be released under a libre license and join a growing collection of books (manuals) in various languages such as: Français, English, Suomi, Nederlands and فارسی Farsi .

Looking forward to meeting the other authors and to the whole collaborative writing experience!
Sent from my $DEVICE

Certain mobile devices add their marketing signature by default to outgoing emails. I find this virtual positional goods statement rather annoying, even if unintentionally left as the default configuration. It feels like posturing as well as showing you're unable to configure your device to personalize your own signature and remove corporate ads.

Is the content of your email not discredited by affirming that a $DEVICE is yours, all yours? Does this trigger to compare $DEVICE against $DEVICE bring anything at all? Are you a peon in the platform wars? Especially since I already know what platform and email system you use and can react accordingly?

The best potential comebacks range from sarcastic to constructive:
  • “Sent from my subterranean luxury bunker.”
  • “Sent from my $DEVICE… while eating caviar… on a yacht.”
  • “Sent from my re-flashed toaster.”
  • “Sent from my microwave oven.”
  • “Sent from YOUR $DEVICE.”
  • “Sent through OUR shared interwebs.”


19 Oct 2011 (updated 19 Oct 2011 at 22:28 UTC) »
A look at the fonts in Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich: Roboto and Droid


Plenty of news sources have picked up on today's Android Ice Cream Sandwich SDK release (AFAICT no sign of full source release yet) and among all the various nifty features in this version there's Roboto (Regular|Italic|Bold|BoldItalic) a new font developped in-house, IOW not commissioned via an external foundry. Apparently Christian Robertson is the designer. He is also credited as the author of the AndroidClock font for version 3.1. It looks like an original design (with smallcaps included).

But unfortunately there's no license in the metadata but only the very basic copyright and trademark statement...

IMHO all the smart folks in the Android team should know better than distributing something without any indication of actual licensing, you know it's going to go around the intertubes very fast: just a few hours after the release, plenty of sites offer a download of standalone files which may or may not be a version of Roboto. It's out in the wild but nobody knows exactly if and how you can actually use it, branch from it, etc...

The rather misguided "font data copyright" is still there although fonts are software, the fsType embedding restrictions are set to Preview & Print embedding which will limit various use scenarios of the font, there's nothing in the description field, no upstream URLs and no FONTLOG inside or outside the font. Could do better I guess.

Also in the new SDK I can see that the Droid font family has been expanded with support for Armenian, Ethiopic and Georgian. Great news for users of these writing systems in Android! The Droid fonts now explicitly indicate in the metadata that they are licensed under Apache 2.0 (which wasn't always the case but was thankfully fixed) but today they still have the fsType embedding bits set to Editable embedding which also limits various uses of the fonts. At some point they were potentially going to be available under the OFL as well but apparently this has been put on hold.

So here's to hoping that in upcoming versions the Android team will indicate licensing intent more clearly, fill in the useful metadata fields and fix the embedding buglets in these fonts. Android users and people who may want to use these fonts elsewhere thank you in advance.


18 Oct 2011 (updated 18 Oct 2011 at 14:23 UTC) »
Overview of advanced typographic features in LibreOffice

Don't miss the slides of "Towards Desktop Publishing" by László Németh from fsf.hu given at the LibreOffice Conference in Paris by András Tímár.

It's a great overview of all the new advanced typographical features available in LibreOffice.

Awesomely beautiful !
A huge well-deserved kudos to all the people involved !
3 Oct 2011 (updated 4 Oct 2011 at 15:58 UTC) »
New open fonts projects

Here's yet another small batch of upstream open font projects I recently heard about:
Anka/ Coder, Khottabun, Euler , Punk Nova, AnjaliOldLipi.

Also, the big and ambitious Lohit font collection was recently re-released under the OFL by Redhat to make commmunity maintainership easier.

Check out the upstream websites for all the details about the scope of these projects and how you may benefit from them (and possibly contribute).

Please don't use flags on your multilingual website

As the web becomes increasingly multilingual and more domains host content in various languages, an anti-pattern tends to surface: the use of flags to represent sections in different languages.

As more content gets written (or translated) and added to a website, the section and navigation system gets redesigned accordingly. But the underlying assumptions about hosting multilingual content and the best way to present it to a bigger and more varied audience are often not being properly thought through. I imagine that this is not just because monolinguals or ethnocentrists may be in charge but because i18n best practises usually come as a afterthought.

If you design your website with a navigation system forcing users to go to their preferred content by clicking on a flag, you're making a very infortunate statement about the classification and power relationship between languages and in the process you're very likely to alienate people visiting your website or making use of your webapp. Consider how you'd feel if you had to pick the flag of a foreign country to get to the section most relevant to you? For example if you were Belgian and had to pick the French flag to get to the content relevant to you? Cameroonian and had to pick the UK or French flag? Australian and had to pick the US flag? Swiss and had to pick the German, French or Italian flag? Or Taïwanese and had to pick the Chinese flag? See the pattern and how this is a big can of worms that makes people uncomfortable? Unlike what powers-that-be would like you to believe, flags don't map to languages and country borders don't correspond to linguistic communities. A flag represents a country and many many countries use the same language or have more than one official language (and often more lesser-known languages not officially recognized at the country level).

Instead of flags you should be using the name of the language in autonym form and the corresponding two-letter or three-letter code for the language as standardized in ISO 639.

More details in the W3 i18n best practise WG note and in the "flag or no flag language links" article by Motiva web consulting.
A Debian-branded pocket multi-tool

I've carried around a Victorinox WorkChamp in a belt pouch for ages (more recently along with a mobile device running mostly FLOSS). Now I think my next multi-tool may well be Debian-branded.

An obvious way of bringing together two famously solid, sharp, practical and malleable DIY multi-tools.

"Tools of the trade" or "tribal markings"? Both!

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