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Re: [Long] Do we need a font SIG ?



Hi,
On 9/14/07, Nicolas Mailhot <nicolas mailhot 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
http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Packaging/Fonts

> 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.

Regards,
Parag.


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