Ermin MeđedovićErmin Međedović Posts: 70
edited October 2012 in Type Design Software
Converts OTF and TTF to bunch of web ready format.
Anyone tried it already? Opinions?


  • FontPrep is, at best, a great way to get you and your clients sued for license violations. If you paid for a web font license you should have received web fonts. If you didn’t pay for a web font license, you should not start using your font collection as web fonts. If you need good free web font FontSquirrel will build them for you on the fly.
  • RalfRalf Posts: 170
    Looks useful for web developers who just want to convert OpenSource/free fonts for fast local testing.

    I would still rather recommend the FontSquirrel generator because of the various expert settings and concerning commercial fonts, well as James said: You are hardly allowed to create the webfonts yourself.
  • James and Ralf, I would never use it for nothing else but my own font production. As Sfntly, sfnttoool or Tim Ahrens.
  • Sorry, Ermin. I’m used to graphic designers wanting to use tools like this to convert over their entire font library. I assume it uses the Fontforge autohinter as TTFAutohint is GPL.
  • I saw a few coments on the Twitter about it, and I agree, as it can help type designers, it could do a lot of damage through EULA violation. I think I'll stay with sfnttool.
  • @James_Puckett Are you sure about that GPL license? Then Fontprep could be in trouble, see this:
  • James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,640
    edited October 2012
    I installed FontPrep and tried it out. They don’t violate the GPL because FontPrep is just a front end to a web service just like FontSquirrel but without FontSquirrel’s interface niceties. The benefits are that you get to use ttfautohint instead of the FontForge hinting in FontSquirrel, and you can queue up a whole lot of fonts. Just like FontSquirrel you’re at the mercy of the internet and someone else’s server, the FontPrep guys just dodge around that topic. So Fontprep gets the job done, but in the long type designers would be better off with a batch processing script for ttfautohint and FontForge.

    I’m not entirely surprised by this. I knew something was fishy when I saw that first thing Fontprep’s creators mention in the about section of the web site is neither fonts or programming, but their religious affiliation.
  • I also downloaded it to try it out. I usually use fontsquirrel to convert my own typefaces to web fonts, and this seemed a lot more convenient… but the fact that you have to be connected to the internet for FontPrep to work is disappointing and doesn't make it work any better.

    It actually seems a bit suspicious that it works this way. Maybe there's some reason why ttfautohint can be bundled with the application (doesn't seem likely to me), but I'd rather not upload my fonts to someone's server when I don't know why.
  • @James_Puckett So you think ttfautohint produces better hints than Fontforge? Or am I misunderstanding?
  • So you think ttfautohint produces better hints than Fontforge? Or am I misunderstanding?
    I don’t have an opinion one way or the other. Just pointing out that it’s one of only two things that might make Fontprep worth $5.
  • Dave CrosslandDave Crossland Posts: 1,046
    edited October 2012
    "TTFAutohint is GPL."

    GPL is one option, but the other option is the 'FreeType License' which is 'simple permissive'/'non-copyleft.' These licenses (most famous are BSD and Apache) are simple, giving developers total freedom to do anything they like, which includes incorporating the code into proprietary software. Copyleft licenses aren't so simple, they give developers total freedom to do anything they like, on the condition that they don't restrict whoever they pass the software on to. This reverses the way copyright is normally used to restrict people into guaranteeing freedom, thus, 'copyleft.'

    The 'pull' of copyleft comes from the legal view of a combination of someone else's copyleft software and your own; the combination is considered a single work that is derivative of both the parents, and so the copyleft is applied to your new part. So you get a big shoulder to stand on, but your shoulder is then available for others to stand on, so to speak.

    Normally a simple, permissive license will be compatible with a copyleft license, so you can combine two parents from each into a child that is overall copyleft, although its parts remain permissively licensed.

    But some simple licenses aren't compatible with some copyleft licenses, which leads to a weird situation where they can be included as parts of proprietary software but not libre software.

    FreeType is intended to be available under a simple, permissive license, but the authors made an a unusual requirement - for explicit attribution, so for example in your iPhone (which uses FreeType somewhere) you'll find in the setting/about screen somewhere a little note saying that FreeType is in there somewhere. But that requirement isn't compatible with the GPL's copyleft. So the authors just made it available under both the FreeType License or the GPL, and you can pick which one want to receive it under.

    (There is also the 'Lesser GPL' (LGPL) which says that the LGPL part has to remain libre, and any changes you make to that part must remain libre, but your part can still be proprietary. This is how the QT GUI toolkit and the OpenType shaping engine harfbuzz are licensed; it makes sense for common libraries because then proprietary and libre software application developers can collaborate on a common core. But fancy libraries (like Spiro) tend to be full GPL to encourage applications who want that kind of thing to be GPL, or go through the effort of making it for themselves.)
  • @davelab6 - Beyond the licensing implications, how does Fontprep compare to Sfntly?
  • sfntly can subset a large multi-lingual font in under 1 ms. That allows for using sfntly dynamically right in a call to deliver a font for a web page. Google and WebINK do this.
  • @diner I haven't looked into it, but this is just a convenience UI wrapper around existing conversion software, as far as I can tell. It may even _be_ sfntly underneath.
  • Adam TwardochAdam Twardoch Posts: 408
    edited October 2012
    Right-click on -> Show Package Contents, then go to Contents / Resources / fontprep_server / server / font_tools.

    There, you'll find:

    I'm not an expert on opensource licensing but ttf2eot is GNU GPL v2. In FontPrep, it's included as a compiled binary commandline app. Is this legal?

    Anyway, there seems to be more 3rd party code bundled inside, and I'm not entirely sure whether all of that is legit.

  • James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,640
    edited October 2012
    And if FontPrep includes a local server, why is it uploading my fonts to a remote server for processing instead of just doing the work locally?

    Edit: I just did some more testing. It appears that FontPrep is does everything locally with TrueType fonts and that the whole server and download concept is just FontPrep’s UI. The remote connection is just used to convert an OpenType font before the rest is done locally. Or at least that’s what seems to be happening, I’m not tracing system calls and sniffing the connection.
  • I’ve been using Fontprep for a few weeks now, and I think it’s a pretty damned good tool. It’s definitely worth more than $5.00. If it did subsetting it would be really great, but given that the author created it to generate icon fonts, I don’t expect to see that.
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