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Re: [Freefont-bugs] FreeMono glyphs

From: Primoz Peterlin
Subject: Re: [Freefont-bugs] FreeMono glyphs
Date: Thu, 29 Aug 2002 16:22:02 +0200 (METDST)


Dear Peter,

On Thu, 29 Aug 2002, Peter Novodvorsky wrote:

> I compared FreeMono glyphs with Microsoft courier ones. They
> are very-very similar. I just want to make sure that licensing
> is ok. Do you know, how this glyphs appeared?

But of course! That's the whole point! Who would want to change from their
Microsoft fonts to something that would look radically different and still
claim to be "visually compatible"? :)

> Here is image:
> ...

There is no doubt that all Courier-lookalikes look somewhat similar, cf.
e.g. <>, and they all
trace their roots from the design Howard Kettler drew for IBM typewriters
in 1955.

So there is little doubt that URW Nimbus Mono (which FreeMono really is)
looks similar to Monotype Courier New (which Microsoft Courier New
really is). If I would have to tell one apart from the other, I would
focus on letters c, f, G, Q and T. The Cyrillic part shows less

Of course, if you compare FreeMono with URW Nimbus Mono L Regular
they look exactly identical. :)

The story about URW (Unternehmensberatung Rubow Weber) in its short form
is, as I remember it, about this: in early 1970s (1972?) Rudolf Weber,
someone called Rubow and Peter Karow founded the URW company in Hamburg,
Germany, which specialized in digitizing typefaces. Their own program,
Ikarus (originally written in Fortran on a VAX minicomputer) used Hermite
splines to describe glyph outlines (which was IMHO their first use ever in
digital typography). The results were good enough that some traditional
(metal) typefoundries outsourced the digitizing business to them. Through
some agreement with them, URW itself was also allowed to release the fonts
digital form. Some time during the 1990s the original URW company went
bankrupt, with URW++ Design & Development, Hamburg, being their legal
successor. In 1999, URW++ donated the core 35 PostScript fonts under GNU
GPL license to the Ghostscript project. Free UCS outline fonts descend in
part from those.

With kind regards,

- --
Primož Peterlin,   Inštitut za biofiziko, Med. fakulteta, Univerza v Ljubljani
Lipičeva 2, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenija.  address@hidden
Tel +386-1-5437632, fax +386-1-4315127,
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