The idea is simply awesome. The execution is not.
What they seem try to match are the old fonts the Microsoft doesn’t use by default anymore. And why they don’t use them by default anymore? Because they suck. Microsoft spent a few millions to create a completely new font family, and it was released with Vista and Office 2007 and a few other products.
The new font family is superior, there are tiny differences that make them really shine if compared to any open source fonts or even their own older ones. Using those in proper way brings for instance basic Office 2007 documents in line of what for instance Apple’s iWorks can produce – the outcome can be so beautiful that it hurts your eyes. It’s really professional and nice. And it’s mostly thanks to the fonts.
Any project trying to match Times+Arial and friends is just moot. The target should be considerably higher.
Apparently the new fonts lack hints; hopefully that will be fixed.
The reason for matching the fonts that are in widespread use is so that existing documents that use those fonts (and there are millions of them) display correctly.
… and at the same time when someone makes some actually good looking document with the new fonts it is practically guaranteed that it looks horrible on the Linux desktops. Because there is no font, AND the disparity is even greater because the Microsoft’s new fonts are far ahead.
Then there’ll be more people wondering why their documents and web sites etc look bad on Linux and blaming the Linux. Also trying to create something as good looking from scratch on Linux/whatever will be impossible (due the lack of fonts), which makes it look even worse.
I’ve used it since this morning. They’re great.
Times+Ariel are nowadays synonyms of Serif and Sans. Possibly it’s going to be change by Vista but it won’t be a one day migration.
One more comment. The free / open source stuff will never take the visionary lead to the frontier until it starts acting like someone leading. Reactivity, and loss of initiative is not the way to win battles.
erik: in case you didn’t know MS also spend a lot of money updating Arial and Times New Roman to Unicode 5.0 (in the scripts that were already supported). So I doubt these fonts will fade out.
Besides European languages, the new fonts are useless. They don’t have any of the Latin Extended characters needed for proper international support from Unicode 5.0.
In any case, the new Vista/Office default fonts are not really widely used in documents so what would be the point to provide free alternatives to unsure fonts when you can do for fonts that are sure thing widely used.
Fonts like Palatino, Garamond, Myriad, Lucida, Frutiger, etc. are much more widely used than the new MS fonts, although things might change with time but that’s unsure.
@erik free interop with the existing set (even if it’s not the latest one) is a great first step. For visionary lead see http://www.unifont.org/fontguide/ http://www.openfontlibrary.org/ and http://scripts.sil.org/OFL_fonts
Is it just me or is hinting pointless today?
On my MacBook running OS X switching between Arial and Liberation at 9 points/pixels is basically identical. Probably because OS X is creating the fonts at a multiple of that size (18 or 36) and then reducing it to create the anti-aliasing. I assume similar is happening on my Ubuntu desktop which I’ve set to best shapes as I’m used to the OS X font look, though I’ve not tried it.
On a hi-res laptop, Nokia 800 or an iPhone like device with a really small dot-pitch then what is it buying you?
It’s going to look the same on paper for sure. So it sounds like these new liberation fonts already do everything I’d ever want them to. Hopefully the font substitution can be baked into Ubuntu by defualt so that no-one has to understand what’s going on.
I did not know the new fonts lack glyphs (that’s the correct term?) for other than western languages.. That’s not very good indeed. I’m sure they will add those later. (It’s a huge task.) Meanwhile, many will continue using the older ones.
The problem just is, and I can’t get around it in a way, that those new fonts look awesome. Simply awesome.
I by the way forced my browser to use the new MS fonts for all the web pages. This blog page actually became instantly noticeably better looking.
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Jeff Waugh builds castles1 in the sky2 made of fairy floss3.
This blog is entirely his own, and does not represent the opinions of current or former employers.
1 Big and/or interesting online infrastructure in the 2 Cloud, mainly using 3 Open Source software and Amazon Web Services.