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 20/11/2017: Why GNU/Linux is Better Than Windows, Another Linus Torvalds Rant

    Links for the day



  2. “US Inventor” is a “Bucket of Deplorables” Not Worthy of Media Coverage

    Jan Wolfe of Reuters treats a fringe group called “US Inventor” as though it's a conservative voice rather than a bunch of patent extremists pretending to be inventors



  3. Team Battistelli's Attacks on the EPO Boards of Appeal Predate the Illegal Sanctions Against a Judge

    A walk back along memory lane reveals that Battistelli has, all along, suppressed and marginalised DG3 members, in order to cement total control over the entire Organisation, not just the Office



  4. PTAB is Safe, the Patent Extremists Just Try to Scandalise It Out of Sheer Desperation

    The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA), which gave powers to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) through inter partes reviews (IPRs), has no imminent threats, not potent ones anyway



  5. Update on the EPO's Crackdown on the Boards of Appeal

    Demand of 35% increases from the boards serves to show that Battistelli now does to the 'independent' judges what he already did to examiners at the Office



  6. The Lobbyists Are Trying to Subvert US Law in Favour of Patent Predators

    Mingorance, Kappos, Underweiser and other lobbyists for the software patents agenda (paid by firms like Microsoft and IBM) keep trying to undo progress, notably the bans on software patents



  7. Patent Trolls Based in East Texas Are Affected Very Critically by TC Heartland

    The latest situation in Texas (United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas in particular), which according to new analyses is the target of legal scrutiny for the 'loopholes' it provided to patent trolls in search of easy legal battles



  8. Alice Remains a Strong Precedential Decision and the Media Has Turned Against Software Patents

    The momentum against the scourge of software patents and the desperation among patent 'professionals' (people who don't create/develop/invent) is growing



  9. Harm Still Caused by Granted Software Patents

    A roundup of recent (past week's) announcements, including legal actions, contingent upon software patents in an age when software patents bear no real legitimacy



  10. Links 18/11/2017: Raspberry Digital Signage 10, New Nano

    Links for the day



  11. 23,000 Posts

    23,000 blog posts milestone reached in 11 years



  12. BlackBerry Cannot Sell Phones and Apple Looks Like the Next BlackBerry (a Pile of Patents)

    The lifecycle of mobile giants seems to typically end in patent shakedown, as Apple loses its business to Android just like Nokia and BlackBerry lost it to Apple



  13. EFF and CCIA Use Docket Navigator and Lex Machina to Identify 'Stupid Patents' (Usually Software Patents That Are Not Valid)

    In spite of threats and lawsuits from bogus 'inventors' whom they criticise, EFF staff continues the battle against patents that should never have been granted at all



  14. The Australian Productivity Commission Shows the Correct Approach to Setting Patent Laws and Scope

    Australia views patents on software as undesirable and acts accordingly, making nobody angry except a bunch of law firms that profited from litigation and patent maximalism



  15. EPO 'Business' From the United States Has Nosedived and UPC is on Its Death Throes

    Benoît Battistelli and Elodie Bergot further accelerate the ultimate demise of the EPO (getting rid of experienced and thus 'expensive' staff), for which there is no replacement because there is a monopoly (which means Europe will suffer severely)



  16. Links 17/11/2017: KDE Applications 17.12, Akademy 2018 Plans

    Links for the day



  17. Today's EPO and Team UPC Do Not Work for Europe But Actively Work Against Europe

    The tough reality that some Europeans actively work to undermine science and technology in Europe because they personally profit from it and how this relates to the Unitary Patent (UPC), which is still aggressively lobbied for, sometimes by bribing/manipulating the media, academia, and public servants



  18. Links 16/11/2017: WordPress 4.9 and GhostBSD 11.1 Released

    Links for the day



  19. The Staff Union of the EPO (SUEPO) is Rightly Upset If Not Shocked at What Battistelli and Bergot Are Doing to the Office

    The EPO's dictatorial management is destroying everything that's left (of value) at the Office while corrupting academia and censoring discussion by threatening those who publish comments (gagging its own staff even when that staff posts anonymously)



  20. EPO Continues to Disobey the Law on Software Patents in Europe

    Using the same old euphemisms, e.g. "computer-implemented inventions" (or "CII"), the EPO continues to grant patents which are clearly and strictly out of scope



  21. Links 16/11/2017: Tails 3.3, Deepin 15.5 Beta

    Links for the day



  22. Benoît Battistelli and Elodie Bergot Have Just Ensured That EPO Will Get Even More Corrupt

    Revolving door-type tactics will become more widespread at the EPO now that the management (Battistelli and his cronies) hires for low cost rather than skills/quality and minimises staff retention; this is yet another reason to dread anything like the UPC, which prioritises litigation over examination



  23. Australia is Banning Software Patents and Shelston IP is Complaining as Usual

    The Australian Productivity Commission, which defies copyright and patent bullies, is finally having policies put in place that better serve the interests of Australians, but the legal 'industry' is unhappy (as expected)



  24. Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Defended by Technology Giants, by Small Companies, by US Congress and by Judges, So Why Does USPTO Make It Less Accessible?

    In spite of the popularity of PTAB and the growing need/demand for it, the US patent system is apparently determined to help it discriminate against poor petitioners (who probably need PTAB the most)



  25. Declines in Patent Quality at the EPO and 'Independent' Judges Can No Longer Say a Thing

    The EPO's troubling race to the bottom (of patent quality) concerns the staff examiners and the judges, but they cannot speak about it without facing rather severe consequences



  26. The EPO is Now Corrupting Academia, Wasting Stakeholders' Money Lying to Stakeholders About the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    The Unified Patent Court/Unitary Patent (UPC) is a dying project and the EPO, seeing that it is going nowhere fast, has resorted to new tactics and these tactics cost a lot of money (at the expense of those who are being lied to)



  27. Links 15/11/2017: Fedora 27 Released, Linux Mint Has New Betas

    Links for the day



  28. Patents Roundup: Packet Intelligence, B.E. Technology, Violin, and Square

    The latest stories and warnings about software patents in the United States



  29. Decline of Skills Level of Staff Like Examiners and Impartiality (Independence) of Judges at the EPO Should Cause Concern, Alarm

    Access to justice is severely compromised at the EPO as staff is led to rely on deficient tools for determining novelty while judges are kept out of the way or ill-chosen for an agenda other than justice



  30. Links 14/11/2017: GNU/Linux at Samsung, Firefox 57 Quantum

    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