Draining the font swamp

Jan Claeys lists at janc.be
Fri May 25 20:30:19 UTC 2007

[CC'ed Donn Ingle as I point to his reaction on Mark's blog[1]--Donn,
see [2] for my original proposal; I think subscribing is required before
mailing to ubuntu-devel-discuss]

Op vrijdag 25-05-2007 om 13:40 uur [tijdzone +0100], schreef Matt
> Sounds like you want a specialized tool like fonty-python, designed
> for people who do this kind of work.

No!  If properly implemented, most people would (almost) never have to
do anything that they don't do now.  I have been thinking about this for
more than 2 years, after seeing the way too long font list (even before
I installed the hundreds of fonts that I have).  I have used font
managers like Fonty-Python and those included in Adobe products before,
on Windows and Mac OS Classic and they are usable but not perfect.

And the way Fonty-Python works is a hackish workaround, as the author
says himself in the comments on Mark's blog[1], but it's the best that
can be done using the current infrastructure.  It actually has to
install and uninstall fonts (by symlinking them in '~/.fonts'), which is
not the same as hiding them from the default font dialogs (it breaks
when you try to view a document without installing the fonts used in it

> What I'm concerned with in this thread is the experience of an average
> user, who cares very little about fonts, just wants their applications
> to work, and be able to display readable text in their language.  We
> want to have the simplest, cleanest infrastructure to provide this.

What I describe provides an infrastructure that can be used for making
things better for both ordinary users (they would mostly use what I call
the 'defaults' font group) *and* for graphics professionals (even a
better solution than Apple, Adobe, etc. have now!).

It's just like apt/dpkg with its system for software installation,
dependencies, etc. sits under gnome-app-install, Synaptic, aptitude, ...
The default "font manager" could be similarly easy as g-a-i, while an
advanced GUI for power users could be provided as a package for

[1] <http://www.markshuttleworth.com/archives/119#comment-97178>
[2] <https://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/ubuntu-devel-discuss/2007-May/000997.html>

Jan Claeys

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