Draining the font swamp

Bjørn Ingmar Berg bjorn.ingmar.berg at gmail.com
Mon May 21 18:10:10 UTC 2007

I would like to add a little on this topic.

On 19/05/07, Matt Zimmerman <mdz at ubuntu.com> wrote:
> There has been some confusion and dissatisfaction over the treatment of
> fonts in Ubuntu for a some time now, and no common understanding of how to
> improve the situation.  I spent a little time thinking about this today, and
> would like to present some questions whose answers I hope will help us to
> make some progress.

Compared to some of the points Matt Zimmerman makes, my comment is a
small one.  And for computer users sticking strictly to english in all
ways it won't matter at all.  ( But I do suspect them to be a
minority. )

My comment and plea is this:
Do not forget that many -probably most- computer users need letters
and diacritical symbols in addition to the basic A-Z.  Most languages
I know about use more than A-Z.  And even if someone speaks only
english she will need the extra letters and symbols as soon as she
writes to someone from another country.
In spite of this self-evident need of "complete" fonts, surprisingly
many fonts that are otherwise promising prove to be totally useless
and uninteresting because they only contain the basic "imperial" set
of symbols.
This shortsightedness is not only evident in many fonts, it is also
demonstrated in the font preview applet.  Even when using an
all-norwegian installation of Ubuntu the font preview only shows
letters A-Z, numbers 0-9 and the sentence about the fox.  So to find
out if a font is sensible or if it is handicapped I will have to do
some extra effort.

I feel sure that making a complete and useful font in the first place
will be less work all inn all compared to first making a handicapped
version of the font and later have someone else fix it to make it

To be fair, many fonts are indeed complete and useful already.

Bjørn Ingmar Berg

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