07.21.10

Gemini version available ♊︎

Apple Patents That Retard GNU/Linux/X Font Rendering Finally Expire, Microsoft Still a Barrier (ClearType Patents)

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 4:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Keyboard

Summary: As Apple’s monopoly on a certain font rendering method expires, FreeType enables BCI by default, but Microsoft still has patents in this area of subpixel rendering

Jan Wildeboer, Rui Seabra, and Carlo Piana pass the message that “MSFT has ClearType patents for subpixel rendering on LCD screens” (details in this page).

This was said in reference to the news that “FreeType 2.4 [is] now free from patent restrictions”:

The FreeType development team has released version 2.4 of the rendering library for TrueType and PostScript fonts. FreeType is used in almost all Linux and open source Unix systems. The latest version is also much more stabile when dealing with broken or damaged font files.

“Now that is good news,” Oiaohm wrote in IRC. “Font rendering on Linux will come up to everything else.”

Jan Wildeboer wrote: “Truetype hinting #swpat (Apple owns them) have expired. So now the BCI is enabled by default in FreeType” (see this page)

Florian Müller wrote about it too, but the news was mostly covered in short messages. This fine example of the harms of software patents (making products poorer than they ought to be) did not receive the attention it truly deserved. We previously covered the ill effects of software patents on font rendering and mentioned Apple in this context. Below we add some older articles for background and future reference.

______
2006

Optimal Use of Fonts on Linux

The font subsystem on Linux evolved a lot in the last years, from an old naming, handling and option of fonts, to the support of True Type, Bistream Vera, etc. As of release time of Fedora Core 2, components like Xft, FreeType and FontConfig, and higher level software usage of them has stabilized and is now considered mature.

Perspective: Microsoft’s forgotten monopoly

The story of how Microsoft used its monopoly in operating systems to acquire a dominant position in office applications and browsers has often been told. But there’s another Microsoft monopoly that’s rarely mentioned, even though most of us see it every day.

Microsoft’s fonts are used to display most Web pages on the planet. Even Linux and Mac users, who often have fled Windows to avoid dependence on Microsoft, read most of their content using Microsoft fonts.

Linux Libertine Open Fonts offers free Times Roman alternative

Currently, Linux Libertine consists of more than 1,750 glyphs for Latin, Greek, and Cyrillic alphabets and their derivatives, including ligatures and kerning tables. Some work remains to be done on the italics, but the roman or ordinary weight is complete, as well as the bold and underlined weights. A set of small caps is in development, and a grotesque or sans serif font (one without serifs) is planned, but not yet available.

2007

Finding Software That Slows Down Your Computer

The PC Spy is trying to make people aware of the worst software that is out there, and to no surprise Norton Internet Security 2006 is at the top.
 
[...]
 
It is pretty obvious that having a large number of fonts degrades performance in Windows. I think that I’ll be going through and deleting some of the ones that came with Vista because I really don’t need 400+ fonts.

Visual comparison of major OS’s font rendering

Personally I don’t like ClearType at all. And looking at it gives me headaches. Also, Linux’s myth of bad font rendering is finally over.

Checking out the new Open Font Library

Up until the last few years, typefaces were a neglected aspect in FOSS. However, the increased popularity of the GNU/Linux desktop and the emergence of software for designers is changing that. “The whole vectorization of the desktop with Inkscape is really doing a beautification of the desktop,” Phillips says. In such an atmosphere, the OFL looks like an idea whose time has come.

Clearing up the Novell ClearType controversy

So, although this story illustrates just how software patent issues can wind their way into open-source software, it doesn’t appear to have any direct link to the Microsoft/Novell partnership or the issues, such as the GPLv3 revision, that surround it.

Liberation Fonts

The first release is a set of fully usable fonts, but they will lack the fully hinting capability (hinting adjusts font pixelization so that the fonts render with high quality at large and small sizes) provided by TrueType/FreeType technology. That release is now ready. The second release will provide full hinting of the fonts, and that release will be available by the end of the calendar year.

Interview with David Turner of Freetype

If the patent owner of hinting gives the Freetype project a free license, would you accept it?
 
David Turner: It really depends on the terms of this “free license”. Basically if it means the patent can not be freely re-licensed to other people, I really don’t see why I would find that useful. If you absolutely need the bytecode interpreter, you can be patient and wait for October 9, 2009, when the patents expire.
 
[...]
 
There is no clear answer as to what is best. Personally, I can’t stand native TrueType hinted fonts anymore, they look too distorted to me, even if their contrast is better. My favorite Linux distribution is Ubuntu at the moment, and the first thing I do after installing it is to wipe the version of FreeType provided with it to get rid of the bytecode interpreter :o)
 
Also, I still don’t understand why Debian and Ubuntu keep distributing patent-infringing code in FreeType, while they keep MP3 and DVD playback out of their normal installs. I’m not even sure it’s DFSG compliant… 

Improving Linux font rasterization?

While the discussion continues it looks like that in the long term the major toolkits have to get together to talk about implementing the mentioned techniques. Or, as suggested by David, a initiative dedicated to bringing patches upstream is launched. It could try to work with upstream on the one hand, but with the distributors on the other hand – if the users see the results because the distributions include the patches it might help influencing the decision of upstream.      
But there is no way of reaching perfect font rasterization with changes in FreeType only. 

3 Examples of Bad Microsoft Word Typography

From the makers of Arial, here are three examples of bad typography in Microsoft Word. Bad typesetting in Word finds its way into résumés, business plans, research papers, government documents, even published books. These small inconsistencies and imperfections may be un-noticible in small doses, but paragraph-after-paragraph they stack up—resulting in ugly, visually-incohesive documents. Word isn’t for professional typography work, but that’s no excuse for these typography sins.     

Microsoft, Apple extend font licensing agreement

Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp.said Thursday they have renewed their font licensing agreement. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. Under the agreement, Apple users will have ongoing use of the latest versions of Microsoft Windows core fonts, the companies said.

Open source fonts

If you’ve ever gone looking for legitimately free fonts, you’ve probably found that there are a lot of really bad ones. But there’s also a lot of discussion out there about “open source fonts.”  
 
Some who post about open source fonts are really just talking about free-as-in-beer typefaces. Some, however, have embraced the open source philosophy as applied to typography.   

2008

Ubuntu and Fonts

In this short tutorial i discuss some handy fonts related tips that could improve user’s desktop experience . The tips include installing Microsoft True type fonts enabling one to render documents and web pages created in Microsoft Windows properly in Ubuntu Linux, Installing a set of cool looking fonts released by RedHat – Liberation fonts package , making fonts look good on your LCD Display by turning on subpixel smoothing , installing some cool and free fonts on your Ubuntu Desktop and finally how to install any font if  you have it’s ttf file .        

Ubuntu Hardy – Liberation Fonts now Fully Hinted?

A recent update came through for liberation fonts. It wasn’t clear, but it looks as if there is now full hinting available. Looks very nice! Might have  to add this to my Win XP work laptop as well.  

Liberation Fonts Increase Interoperability For Linux Users

Most problems when opening Word documents under GNU/Linux are due to missing fonts. Therefore, Red Hat published a set of fonts metric-compatible with the Windows core fonts last year.

100+ Beautiful Free Fonts for Ubuntu

If you are a graphic and web designer, the default fonts that came with Ubuntu will surely be not enough for your needs. However, if you know where to look, you can find plenty of additional fonts that can help get the job done.

Ubuntu Basics – Appearance

Like it or not, the Arial font looks good on Windows just as Helvetica looks good on a Mac (unless you’re some typography nerd that insists on arguing which looks better/worse/etc.)

Arial looks even better when used in Ubuntu.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. Microsoft Staff Trying to Subvert the Freedom of Gemini (Without Disclosure of the Paymaster)

    Looking back at the past couple of years, it seems like Microsoft staff and boosters were more than eager to steer developers away from freedom and into Microsoft's cage



  2. Gemini Gone Mainstream: German Media Now in Geminispace

    With the likes of TAZ embracing Geminispace/Gemini Protocol we seem to have reached some sort of inflection point; taz.de did in fact add official presence to Geminispace



  3. Links 28/1/2022: LSFMM 2022 and 2021 UI Study Results From Elementary's Distro

    Links for the day



  4. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, January 27, 2022

    IRC logs for Thursday, January 27, 2022



  5. Links 28/1/2022: GNU Poke 2.0 and OPNsense 22.1 Released

    Links for the day



  6. Links 27/1/2022: Archinstall 2.3.1 and Nix 2.6.0

    Links for the day



  7. On the Internet, Trust Should Not Become Centralised

    “Trust” is a word that lost its meaning in the era of “TPM” and fancier names for 'Palladium'; we need to reject this idea that computers need to check with Microsoft if the operating system is trusted (not just Windows!), check with Gulag/Chrome if a Web site is trusted, and whether it's OK to run some application/s on one's own computer (as if Jim Zemlin et al get to decide what is trusted)



  8. Microsoft-Connected Publishers Suffer and Perish With Microsoft (While Peddling 'Fake News' for Their Beloved Sponsor)

    IDG and other fake news outlets/networks/sites (selling to companies flattering articles about themselves or renting out 'news space' to them, not just ad space) want us to think Microsoft is doing very well, but it's just that same old Ponzi scheme



  9. Links 27/1/2022: Mabox Linux 21.11 Herbolth and PipeWire 0.3.44

    Links for the day



  10. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, January 26, 2022

    IRC logs for Wednesday, January 26, 2022



  11. [Meme] EPO: Pursuing an Eastern and Western District of Europe (for Patent Trolls and Software Patents)

    With the EPO so flagrantly lying and paying for misinformation maybe we should expect Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos to have delusions of grandeur… such as presiding over the Eastern and Western District of Europe, just like Mr. Gilstrap and Mr. Albright (political appointment by Donald Trump, ushering in “the swamp”)



  12. Gemini at 2,000: 86% of Capsules Use Self-Signed Certificate, Just Like the Techrights Web Site (WWW)

    As shown in the charts above (updated an hour ago), the relative share of ‘Linux’ Foundation (LE/LF; same thing, same office) in the capsules’ certificates has decreased over time; more and more (in terms of proportion) capsules choose to sign their own certificate/s; the concept of ‘fake security’ (centralisation and consolidation) should be rejected universally because it leaves nobody safe except plutocrats



  13. [Meme] UPC: Many Lies as Headlines, Almost Exclusively in Publishers Sponsored by EPO and Team UPC to Produce Fake News (Lobbying Through Misinformation)

    Lest we forget that EPO dictators, like Pinky and the Brainless Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos, have long littered the EPO's official Web site as well as publishers not directly connected to the EPO (but funded by it) with disinformation about the UPC



  14. EPO as the 'Ministry of Truth' of Team UPC and Special Interests

    The 'Ministry of Truth' of the patent world is turning the EPO's Web site into a propaganda mill, a misinformation farm, and a laughing stock with stock photography



  15. Microsoft 'Delighted' by Windows 11 (Vista 11) Usage, Which is Only 1% Three Months After Official Launch and Six Months After Release Online

    Microsoft boosters such as Bogdan Popa and Mark Hachman work overtime on distraction from the failure Vista 11 has been (the share of Windows continues to fall relative to other platforms)



  16. Links 27/1/2022: Preinstalled GNU/Linux (Ubuntu) and Arch Linux-Powered Steam Deck 30 Days Away

    Links for the day



  17. Don't Fall for Microsoft's Spin That Says Everything is Not Secure and Cannot be Secured

    Microsoft keeps promoting the utterly false concept that everything is not secure and there's nothing that can be done about it (hence, might as well stay with Windows, whose insecurity is even intentional)



  18. At Long Last: 2,000 Known Gemini Capsules!

    The corporate media, looking to appease its major sponsors (such as Web/advertising giants), won't tell you that Gemini Protocol is rising very rapidly; its userbase and the tools available for users are rapidly improving while more and more groups, institutions and individuals set up their own capsule (equivalent of a Web site)



  19. Links 26/1/2022: Gamebuntu 1.0, PiGear Nano, and Much More

    Links for the day



  20. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, January 25, 2022

    IRC logs for Tuesday, January 25, 2022



  21. Links 26/1/2022: No ARM for Nvidia, End of EasyArch, and WordPress 5.9 is Out

    Links for the day



  22. Why the Unified Patent Court (UPC) is Still Just a Fantasy and the UPC's Fake News Mill Merely Discredits the Whole Patent 'Profession'

    Patents and science used to be connected; but now that the patent litigation 'sector' is hijacking patent offices (and even courts in places like Texas) it's trying to shove a Unified Patent Court (UPC) down the EU's throat under the disingenuous cover of "community" or "unity"



  23. Links 25/1/2022: Vulkan 1.3 Released, Kiwi TCMS 11.0, and antiX 19.5

    Links for the day



  24. Gemini Milestones and Growth (Almost 2,000 Known Gemini Servers Now, 39,000 Pages in Ours)

    The diaspora to Gemini Protocol or the transition to alternative 'webs' is underway; a linearly growing curve suggests that inertia/momentum is still there and we reap the benefits of early adoption of Gemini



  25. [Meme] Get Ready for Unified Patent Court (UPC) to be Taken to Court

    The Unified Patent Court (UPC) and Unitary Patent system that’s crafted to empower EPO thugs isn’t legal and isn’t constitutional either; even a thousand fake news 'articles' (deliberate misinformation or disinformation) cannot change the simple facts because CJEU isn’t “trial by media”



  26. The EPO Needs High-Calibre Examiners, Not Politicians Who Pretend to Understand Patents and Science

    Examiners are meant to obstruct fake patents or reject meritless patent applications; why is it that working conditions deteriorate for those who are intellectually equipped to do the job?



  27. Free Software is Greener

    Software Freedom is the only way to properly tackle environmental perils through reuse and recycling; the mainstream media never talks about it because it wants people to "consume" more and more products



  28. Links 25/1/2022: Git 2.35 and New openSUSE Hardware

    Links for the day



  29. IRC Proceedings: Monday, January 24, 2022

    IRC logs for Monday, January 24, 2022



  30. Links 25/1/2022: GPL Settlement With Patrick McHardy, Godot 4.0 Alpha 1, and DXVK 1.9.4 Released

    Links for the day


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts