Mysterious extension changes

Has anyone else experienced a typeface changing its own extension from .otf to something else? Is this something my OS has done? I've noticed it with typefaces I've grabbed from Time Machine archives but also other instances too...once it changed its extension to .suit but I don't get where that comes from??

Also trying to change it back to .otf just made it corrupt. I wrote the foundry (Hoefler) and they just sent me new otfs, but I wonder how this happens? I don't use font management software, I just load what I'm using right into the native font library in the OS.


  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 1,457
    I have never seen this happen.  I also don't use any font management software.  This is bizarre.
  • I too have never seen this happen. When any weirdness happens in OS X the first thing I do is start Disk Utility and run Repair Disk Permissions.
  • That would be pretty bizarre. I've haven't heard of it before, but I've learned never to say never... asked a couple of my former colleagues at Extensis in case they have heard something, as well as a friend at Apple.
  • I should add that ".suit" is an old extension sometimes seen on font suitcase files. This is part of old Mac resource fork fonts, are a container for either a TrueType font or the bitmaps and metrics associated with a PostScript Type 1 font, or just a plain bitmap font alone.
  • Hm. Well thanks, everyone. If they'd been old font files I wouldn't have thought much about it, but I'd purchased them in 2012, from then-H&FJ, so... anyway it's not a big deal, they sent me new .otfs, I have just been wondering ever since.
  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 1,457
    I still have many of my old Adobe type 1 fonts and suitcases on my Mac from the '80s and have never had a problem with them.
  • Our Apple friend writes: “To my knowledge, Apple software never renames font files. The person should file a bug and attach an Apple System Profiler report.” As Ned is a lead engineer on the Core Text subsystem of the OS, I assume he would know.

    If you were a font newbie, I'd be wondering if it was possible that H&FJ supplied you with multiple formats of the fonts in the first place, and you accidentally grabbed the wrong one from the backup.
  • .suit suggests to me you're using some version of Extensis Suitcase - - but you say you're not using a font manager, so,  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ :)
  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 1,457
    edited August 2015
    a suitcase in the 80s was a folder that contained the font files not included into the outline--mostly the separate bitmap file that the screen used to show you.  It also contained information about the font.  This kind of info is now part of the font file, including the various tables. While the software name "Suitcase" was a proprietary software to help you organize your font collection, it was not required to see a suitcase folder and contents.  Once Adobe switched to OpenType and dropped Type 1, and Apple began using dot extensions, they needed an extension to contain all of these and used .suit.  Extensions were not visible at that time so the folder simply said "suitcase" for the baggage that needs to travel with the font.

  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,629
    edited August 2015
    Chris, that's not quite right. A font suitcase is really just a file.

    In the original Mac file system, files could have two different components or "forks", a data fork and a resource fork. The data fork is just like a file on any other operating system. Documents for applications mainly stored stuff in the data fork, with a little metadata in the resource fork. The resource fork is in a special format and is invisible to non-Mac operating systems, and was reserved for system resources, such as code, icons, window info, and fonts. So, in a font suitcase, everything is in the resource fork. Which is why, if you try to move a Mac font suitcase to a non-Mac OS, you get an empty file.

    File extensions were not needed on the classic Mac OS, but users sometimes added them. For font suitcases, .suit was common, but I've also seen .bmap and .scr. None of these have ever been needed on Macs, even now. If you delete the .suit extension, the Mac OS will still identify it as a font suitcase because of the creator/type metadata in the file's resource fork. Extensions like .suit are just conventions invented by users.
  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 1,457
    Thanks, Mark. .bmap was the one I saw most.  I know they are not needed now.
  • a suitcase in the 80s was a folder that contained the font files not included into the outline

    However, in (since) the 1990s a TrueType font suitcase could contain the FOND and sfnt data (so, bitmaps + outlines). 

  • Hi Elizabeth,

    I’m curious whether the guts of the file in question could tell us a bit more about the mystery. Would you be willing to send it to Serif_Holmes[at] ?

  • sent! though I don't know if it will be helpful...
  • These screen shots are making me all nostalgic...
  • Just to reiterate, the ".suit" extension has nothing to do directly with the Suitcase application, except insofar as Suitcase originally helped deal with font suitcases—a resource fork format for which the files sometimes used a .suit extension, back in the days when the extension for any given Mac file was optional and might vary.

    So some font suitcases had no extension, some had a .suit extension, and if they were for PS or bitmap-only fonts, they might have a .bmap extension. But in those olden days anybody could stick any extension on any Mac file and it wouldn't affect the file's functionality at all.
  • Thanks for sending the file! It’s pretty small with 4K. After a detailed investigation with my magnifying glass my guess is that it is the remainder of a hard link that obviously is broken. Time Machine works with hard links and one can find some anxious reports of broken links on the web. I checked the file against a symbolic link and I don’t think it is the latter. I have no idea yet why the suffix has been changed (did some programs create hard links underhand like Mac Moriarties?), but Wacky Wild Type Watson and  I will investigate that!

    Best, Serif H.
  • Yesterday by nightfall –the filtered light was a harbinger of autumn– WWTW pointed me to a case, which may well be related. WWTW thought that this was enough proof, but although I agree it is elementary, I said to him: ‘WWTW, you know my methods!’ I do not consider this a unique case and I suspect that Murky Mac Moriarty also manipulates hard links of fonts. WWTW and I will investigate this further: we will start with the Suffix of the Baskervilles!

    Serif H.
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