Draining the font swamp

Ming Hua minghua at ubuntu.com
Fri May 25 04:48:40 UTC 2007

On Thu, May 24, 2007 at 02:59:41PM +0100, Matt Zimmerman wrote:
> On Mon, May 21, 2007 at 10:59:42PM -0500, Ming Hua wrote:
> > I believe the general consensus among Chinese users is that bitmap fonts
> > are preferred for small font size.
> Do the xfonts-* fonts fall into these categories?

Yes, they are the "stand-alone bitmap fonts" I mentioned, sorry for
being unclear.

So to re-iterate, I believe most, if not all, Chinese users prefer
bitmap fonts for small font sizes.  This can be achieved in two ways,
stand-alone BDF/PCF fonts, such as the ones in xfonts-* packages, or
embedded bitmap in TrueType fonts, and the only such TT fonts available
in Debian/Ubuntu are ttf-arphic-{uming,ukai}.

> I'm not sure what character set they cover.

That's a question I don't have clear answer either.  I know xfonts-wqy
covers quite a wide range of CJK characters, and their most recent
release definitely cover GBK (a.k.a. Windows code page 936), which
should satisfy simplified Chinese (zh_CN) users' need.  It should also
cover Big5 (a.k.a. Windows code page 950) for the need of traditional
Chinese users in Taiwan (zh_TW).  I think it doesn't cover Big5-HKSCS
yet, which is needed by traditional Chinese users in Hong Kong (zh_HK).
Note Debian/Ubuntu currently haven't packaged the most recent release

The two TrueType fonts, ttf-arphic-{uming,ukai}, should be using the
same set of embedded bitmaps.  This set of bitmaps are not the same as
the xfonts-wqy font, but some subset of them may share the same origin.
As the upstream author, Arne, is also participating this discussion, he
should know more details if it's an important piece of information.

Both xfonts-wqy and ttf-arphic-* also have some coverage for Japanese
and Korean characters.  But I have no idea about how complete the
coverage is or what quality the glyphs are.  I also haven't heard much
about Japanese and Korean users using these fonts, they have their own
preferred TrueType fonts, and maybe bitmap fonts as well.

P.S.: I'm subscribed to all these three lists, so cc: is not necessary. :-)


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