EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

07.21.10

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 this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Links 4/2/2016: Red Hat Upgraded, Ubuntu Tablet

    Links for the day



  2. The Siege Continues: Patent Lawyers Want More Patents, Including Software Patents, In Spite of Alice

    Lawyers who make money from patent disputes make rather apparent their aspirations, which include patent saturation even in domains that are patents-exempt



  3. European Patent Office Pretends It's Business as Usual and Prepares New Vanity Pieces

    The PR strategy of the EPO, whose destructive patent strategy continues unabated (for now), latches onto Colombia and strives to manufacture mythology wherein the public, patent examiners and patent applicants are all very happy with the EPO



  4. The 'International' Trade Commission Imposes/Reinforces Software Patents to Establish Another Embargo

    The International [sic] Trade Commission is meddling in competition and allowing a US giant, Cisco in this case, to potentially block rivals (no imports from abroad) using software patents



  5. Readers' Article: A Strange Conspiracy of Silence in the German Media (Part I)

    The views of some of our readers regarding reluctance in the German media to challenge the EPO's violations of German law, probably because Germany benefits from being a host nation of the EPO



  6. Benoît Battistelli's EPO: From Show Trials and Mock Trials to a Self-Aggrandising Propaganda Event Later Today in Rijswijk

    A headsup from a reader regarding today's highly misleading event in Rijswijk (e.g. to mislead the media or seed positive media coverage in the Netherlands) and how it was set up



  7. Caricature of the Day: EPO President

    New caricature about Benoît Battistelli, his bodyguards, and the assault on free speech at the European Patent Office



  8. Company Known as European Patent Office Provides Tips on How to Patent Software in Europe

    The European Patent Office (EPO) uses its attendance at CeBIT, which is a corporate expo, to promote software patents in spite of the European Patent Convention (EPC)



  9. Links 3/2/2016: Dell GNU/Linux Laptop, Wine 1.8.1

    Links for the day



  10. The Most Detailed Explanation (Yet) of What's Wrong With the EPO

    The EPO's insistence that it remains above the law is not only coming under fire by the media but is also being challenged based on people who are familiar with the applicability of law to international organisations



  11. Angry Trolls: Rovi (of Angry Birds Fame) Helps Microsoft's Largest Anti-Linux Patent Troll, Intellectual Ventures (Corrected)

    nce known as a game maker and later made notorious for mass surveillance on gamers, Rovi now liaises with the world's largest patent troll



  12. Patent Invalidation Statistics and Cost of Patent Litigation (Even If Bogus) Show That Patent Scope and Examination Standards a Problem in Europe, Not Just the US

    Far too many bogus patents (patents that should not be granted in the first place) and spurious patent lawsuits that end up in favour of the defendant serve to show the external cost (or externality) when it comes to low-quality patent systems that strive to grant a lot of patents irrespective of merit



  13. Es Oficial: Por Medio de Entrismo, Microsoft Ha Convertido a la Pro-Linux Nokia en un Parásito de Patentes Anti-Linux

    Microsoft ha convertido a Nokia en un troll de patentes que ahora ataca a Linux y Android.



  14. Richard Stallman: Patentes Europeas de Software Regresan con la Corte Unitaria de Patentes (UPC)

    Debates acerca de la UPC estan siendo peleados por profesionales de software (entidades prácticantes) y elementos PARÁSITICOS como los abogados de patentes.



  15. SUEPO (EPO Staff Union) Appears to Have Launched a New and Improved Web Site After Attempts to Crush ('Decapitate') SUEPO

    SUEPO, the largest staff union of the European Patent Office, shows signs of strength rather than signs of weakness amidst attacks on the staff and a lot of media coverage, political interventions, and much more



  16. Links 2/2/2016: Chimpbox Quad Core, UNICEF Supports FOSS

    Links for the day



  17. Münchner Merkur Explains That EPO Staff is Defecting to SUEPO, Even The Council Distrusts Battistelli Now

    Press report from Munich, highlighting the crisis of leadership at the EPO, where the President is increasingly viewed as a villain



  18. Microsoft's Policies Alienate Even Microsoft's Biggest Fans, Including Pro-Microsoft Web Sites

    Microsoft's aggressive behaviour and low-quality products leave even some of its last remaining 'fans' disheartened and upset



  19. Slides of New Talk Which Explains the Connection Between the Unitary Patent (UPC) and Software Patents

    Benjamin Henrion's Sunday talk about European software patents -- a presentation which speaks of the Unitary Patent Court that the EPO lobbies for and what it means to software patents



  20. UEFI is Bricking PCs, Yet Again

    A few remarks about a new defect which is starting to attract media attention this morning, serving to highlight the lesser-discussed dangers of UEFI/EFI



  21. Under Battistelli's Regime the European Patent Office is Rapidly Rotting

    Technical problems, patent maximalism (in a desperate effort to artificially elevate patent-related figures) and other serious issues observed inside the European Patent Office (EPO)



  22. It's Official: By Means of Entryism, Microsoft Has Turned a Pro-Linux Nokia Into an Anti-Linux Patent Parasite

    Microsoft has made a sort of patent troll out of Nokia and Nokia now attacks Linux and Android



  23. Microsoft Infiltrates Politics and Can Engage in Election Fraud in Iowa Right Now

    It is apparently acceptable to put a convinced serial abuser in charge of the country, simply because it frames this as volunteering



  24. Links 1/2/2016: Linux 4.5 RC2, KDevelop 5.0 Beta 2

    Links for the day



  25. MEP Konstantina Kouneva (Former Trade Unionist) Again Takes Action Against the European Patent Office for Union-Busting Actions

    Bulgarian-Greek politician Konstantina Kouneva (or Kostadinka Kuneva) is getting actively involved in EPO affairs once again, in order to support and protect unionists like she once was (before entering politics)



  26. Political Complaints About European Patent Office Abuses Keep Flooding in After Firing of Staff Representatives (Busting of Unions)

    Complaints from the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU) against the European Patent Office (EPO) and their letter to the European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour, Marianne Thyssen



  27. La Avara USPTO deja Ambiguedades, ¨Per Se¨, para el Patentamiendo de Software en los Estados Unidos A Pesar del Caso Alice

    La oficina de Patentes de los Estados Unidos, USPTO esta tratando de esquivar las decisiones de los que escriben las leyes en ese país, probablemente por codicia y no por motivaciones de control de cálidad.



  28. La EFF (Fundación De Frontera Electrónica) Habla Acerca de las Patentes de Software de Xerox, Trayendo Memorias de los Trolles de Patentes de Microsoft y sus Asociados

    La compañía más conocida por (sinónimo internacionalmente con) fotocopiadoras esta ahora acumulando patentes las cuales son pasadas a trolles de patentes (desesperadamente buscando dinero) y se ha convertido en parte de un amplio problema.



  29. Article Huesped: Introduccion al Creciente Rol de Microsoft en el Project R A Traves de la Fundación Linux y E.E.E.

    Preocupaciones acerca de E.E.E (embrace, extiende y extingue) de Microsoft, quien esta vez tiene como objetivo la ciencia y muchas escuelas (mucha gente joven)



  30. Links 31/1/2016: OpenELEC 6.0.1, Linux Lite 2.8

    Links for the day


CoPilotCo

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

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts