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Re: FT2 design question

From: Just van Rossum
Subject: Re: FT2 design question
Date: Tue, 29 Feb 2000 22:48:52 +0100

(A little late...)

I wrote:
> You are aware of the fact that MM is basically dead? Adobe
> announced that they will continue to support it in apps/tools that
> support it now, but a) they won't release new MM fonts b) they've
> dropped MM from the OT spec

Werner replied:
>But acrobat uses it...

Adobe said they will continue to use it there (it's indeed indispensible
there), but they also said that that's a *very* special case of MM, capable
of doing things plain MM doesn't support. I think the main issue is
adapting the width axis on a per character basis (to match the metrics of
the original font).

David replied:
> That's excellent news.  I've never really understood the advantage
> of multiple master fonts from a user pĂ´int of view.  Sure, they're
> great to perform font-substitution in PDF files, but apart from that?

For end users in offices they're overkill and pretty much useless. For
professional typographic designers they are *very* cool:
- adapting weight very nicely to compensate for optical effect (eg.
back-lit displays) or printing techniques.
- optical scaling can be an excellent thing to have for printed matter.
- adjust the width axis to make a headline fit (I don't care for that
feature much, though.

Werner wrote:
>At least for CJK fonts it can save hundreds of Megabytes of fonts!
>I'm pretty sure that font companies like Morisawa which have developed
>such fonts (IIRC this has been done) won't drop MM support.  Look into
>Lunde's CJKV book for an example.

Have you seen the FontWorks stuff? They have a technology they call "stroke
based fonts". It seems a very elegant approach.

Some links:

For large fonts MM only saves space if you have more than two weights.
FontWorks have found ways to a) make a *single* font smaller, b) reduce the
effort to *create* a font by an order of magnitude. These are both very
important points, and I don't see MM offering anything but an "easy" way to
create more weights.

>I suggest to lower the priority but not to drop implementation of MM.

I really wouldn't bother unless Adobe resurrects it. MM has been removed
from the OT spec for good as far as I can tell. Do the other MM formats
still matter?


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