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More font updates
12-14-2013, 10:02 AM
Post: #1
More font updates
Original blog posting

Yesterday, I mentioned that I was having technical problems with the Windows bitmap conversion of WTerm, forcing me to rename the font WTm. I have fixed this problem. I also discuss the Cousine font losing its delta hinting.

The problem with WTm

The problem is that Windows .fon files are not fully documented, and the open-source tool I was using to convert the fonts was having issues making the font one MSYS would recognize. After hours of trying different things Fontforge finally made a MSYS-capable .fon file by having three fonts in the file, only one of which I used. The font name was one-letter long; I changed it to a three-letter name by using a binary editor.

Fixing WTm

Simon Tatham, the same guy who wrote the PuTTY client I am using to write this blog, also wrote his own .fon generation scripts in Python. His scripts were able to take the hacked-together .fon file and convert it in to a .fon file with the correct font name (WTermA, to distinguish it from the scalable WTerm font). The resulting file is smaller since it now only has one font in it.

I have made a local mirror of his scripts and fonts (which, being bitmap fonts, are public domain in the US):

http://samiam.org/fonts/terminal/Simon-Tatham/

Download and using WTermA

WTermA, the updated and fixed WTm, is available here:

http://samiam.org/fonts/terminal/WTerm/

It has the file name WTermA.fon. To use this file, download it, then click on it in Windows to install the font. After installing the font, it can be used in MSYS by modifying msys.bat to look like this:

start rxvt -backspacekey -sl 2500 -fg #00c000 -bg #000000 -sr -fn WTermA -tn msys -geometry 80x25+15+15 -e /bin/sh --login -i

Cousine lost its delta hinting

One of the hardest parts of making a font is giving it good hinting. This is a tedious, time consuming process. As a result, very few open-source fonts include delta hints.

The best-looking open source with delta hinting has been the monospace OFL-licensed Cousine. When I downloaded the new Cousine today, it was a shock to discover that, when Google changed its license from the OFL to the Apache license, the updated font no longer has delta hinting.

That in mind, I have mirrored a copy of the older Cousine with delta hinting, which can be downloaded here:

http://samiam.org/fonts/terminal/WTerm/

While retina displays will become universal in a decade or so, until then delta hinting is a technology that allows for crisp, readable fonts on todays displays.
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