[Long] Do we need a font SIG ?

Parag N(पराग़) panemade at gmail.com
Fri Sep 14 12:20:52 UTC 2007

On 9/14/07, Nicolas Mailhot <nicolas.mailhot at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi all
> [I wanted to prepare a bit more before writing this, but it seems
> everyone is asking about the same things at once, so this will have to
> do]
  Thanks for your mail.
> I'd like know what people think of setting up a font SIG, and if there
> are enough would-be contributors for such a SIG to be viable. Fonts
> are a very transversal subject in Fedora, and the initial To: list
> reflects this. Please take care to reply on fedora-devel only however.
> The situation right now is:
> 1. we have several font packages in Fedora, but are only scratching
> what could be packaged.
> http://mihmo.livejournal.com/45152.html
> 2. In particular the art team wants a lot more fonts in for its Art spin
> http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Artwork/ArtTeamProjects/FedoraArtStudio
> 3. I don't believe our font selection is optimal for every locale. It
> took a near-revolt by our Greek users to get their situation fixed in
> Fedora Core 6, and there are probably many other problem locales,
> where users just pass on Fedora or bear their pain silently instead of
> telling us about problems.
> 4. The i18n team is nominally in charge of selecting the best fonts
> for each locale, but does not always have the right local contacts to
> do so. So far i18n has focused on technical problems : if your locale
> needs complex IM methods you have i18n visibility, if your locale
> poses no technical challenge but your default fonts are suboptimal the
> i18n team may not notice you.
> 4. The l10n team has local contacts and could provide useful feedback
> on font choices, currently packaged font problems, local
> foundries/font designers that could be contacted to contribute to the
> FLOSS font pool, etc but has mostly focused on translation so far.
> 5. The desktop team handles our font infrastructure and takes the heat
> when a font is badly rendered (since we can not use the patented
> freetype autohinter many fonts that work fine under windows do not
> under Fedora)
> 6. We already have some font-related material disseminated on our wiki:
> - packaging rules,
> http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Packaging/ScriptletSnippets#head-4863fc4c93cec14292719d8901d83f5d90c3e477
> - licensing rules
> http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Licensing#head-63f9d798a33b23a752e5a3b22a0888046d4cb8d8
> - other
> http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Fonts/DejaVu
  Yes. But still I think good to have a single page say

> 7. The font situation is bad enough we have a font exception to our
> FLOSS rules
> http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Packaging/Guidelines#head-daa717ea096fa4d9cf7b9a49b5edb36e3bda3aac
> [for example we ship Luxi even though its licensing forbids
> modification, making it non-free
> http://www.xfree86.org/current/LICENSE11.html]
> 8. There are efforts to drain the font licensing swamp and promote
> FLOSS fonts (http://unifont.org/go_for_ofl/), they are aligned with
> Fedora general objectives yet Fedora has totally ignored them so far
> (cf Liberation licensing choices)
 I18n and more importantly l10n team should check those fonts and
provide which fonts are rendering fine in fedora so that we can see
them packaged for fedora.

> This is a stark contrast with the very active debian font team :
> http://wiki.debian.org/DebianInstaller/GUIFonts
> The main part of the OLPC font page is the Debian font list!
> http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Fonts
  We should also have all fonts packages for fedora be listed in Font Matrix.
> I believe there is enough interest in the various Fedora groups to
> improve the current situation through a font SIG.
> This SIG would be tasked with:
> A. providing a single point of entry for Fedora people interested in
> fonts, centralizing all our packaging rules or at least indexing them
> in a single place
> B. completing the existing font packaging documentation
> C. helping the i18n team maintain the font install list for each locale
> D. identifying fonts worthy of packaging for l10n or art reasons
> E. identifying problems in existing font packages and helping relay
> the info upstream
> F. identifying problems in our font infrastructure, packaging
> necessary font tools
> G. coordinating and effectively packaging new fonts
> As the current maintainer of dejavu, and a co-maintainer of charis and
> dejavu-lgc, I am ready to write a commented font spec example (B)
> (without legacy core font bits, which IMHO should be optional nowadays
> ; however I'm sure there are people ready and willing to write this
> part as an extension), and package a few fonts (G).
> The l10n and i18n groups are naturals for (C). We just have to steal
> the Debian receipe of having a font-by-locale table in our wiki.
  yes. we should have that list.
> I think it's pretty obvious the art team is motivated by (E). IMHO the
> l10n team should have a role there too. Note that doing the legal
> analysis of a potential font is far from easy as font licensing
> practices are far less clean than software licensing practices. Also
> we should try to build font from sources whenever possible, but font
> building is often a mess.
> G will demand packagers and reviewers. By nature most of them will be
> active in other Fedora forums, so we're not talking of a few full-time
> SIG members but a lot of part-time contributors.
> I created a mockup wiki page to try to make all this clear
> http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/NicolasMailhot/FontMatrix
> It's far from complete, but I hope it's complete enough to give
> everyone an idea of the potential SIG scope.
  Thanks for that.
> So, who wants to play? Is Fedora ready for a font SIG or should I ask
> again next year?
  +1 to have font SIG.


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