Goodbye WordPad, whither Type 1?

Microsoft is removing Wordpad from future builds of Windows 11. Windows 11 still supports Type 1 fonts at the moment, and WordPad was one way to use them. LibreOffice Writer does not seem to make them available. It appears AbiWord still does, but the last release was in 2021, and the main Abisource website is inaccessible.

Comments

  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 2,704
    edited January 7
    It isn’t so much about “Windows” but specific APIs.

    The antique GDI API is about as old as Windows. It was later updated to natively support Type 1, but every Windows text API introduced since then does not! Not GDI+, WPF or DirectWrite. 

    GDI+ was introduced in Windows 2000. It did not get massive adoption, but has a few notable adherents (including the WordArt feature in Word). Windows Presentation Foundation was introduced in 2006. DirectWrite was introduced in 2008–09.

    So, yes, Type 1 support at the OS level on Windows is super sketchy because it is only available in an ancient, deprecated API. This is not new and is not at all likely to “improve.” Very few apps people still use, that handle text interactively for users, use GDI.

    Adobe, the inventor of the format, has long since withdrawn support of Type 1 fonts: announced January 2021, fully in effect by January 2023.

    Type 1 support is a set of space travelers in cryo-sleep, almost all of whom have died, and prospects are very grim for the remaining two. Even if they were revived, there are not enough of them to repopulate their species.
  • John ButlerJohn Butler Posts: 240
    I own licenses for Type 1 fonts I spent several thousands on in my younger years and have not since bought OpenType replacements for. I like being able to still use them now and then.
  • Unsurprisingly, I am with Thomas on this one. Type 1 had a good run, but it’s ancient in software terms, and understandable that software developers would rather eliminate all the code that supports it.

    Luckily, there are two realistic options for those who need to use Type 1 fonts: Either find a way to run old software that supports it, or convert Type 1 fonts to OpenType.

    For what it’s worth, I am a bit of an OCD archivist person, and I do sometimes open — or reproduce — old documents where the original font and its metrics are important. So I sometimes want to use my old fonts too. It’s pretty inconvenient, but life goes on.
  • Yves MichelYves Michel Posts: 143
    Doesn't Fontlab Transtype 4 convert Type 1 fonts into OpenType fonts?
    https://www.fontlab.com/font-converter/transtype/
  • Unsurprisingly, I am with Thomas on this one. Type 1 had a good run, but it’s ancient in software terms, and understandable that software developers would rather eliminate all the code that supports it.

    Luckily, there are two realistic options for those who need to use Type 1 fonts: Either find a way to run old software that supports it, or convert Type 1 fonts to OpenType.

    For what it’s worth, I am a bit of an OCD archivist person, and I do sometimes open — or reproduce — old documents where the original font and its metrics are important. So I sometimes want to use my old fonts too. It’s pretty inconvenient, but life goes on.
    I still use a 2003 G5 Power Mac. OLD software is all that will run on it. Type 1 fonts and Adobe CS still live there. 
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 2,704
    Sure, and as long as you have your old OS, apps and fonts, you can keep on using them together indefinitely! It is not like there is some sort of kill switch that made them stop working.

    But John is concerned about situations where there are some newer elements in play, such as future builds of Windows 11, and what apps are available today. For setups that are not frozen at 20 years ago, but continue to run current/recent OSes and apps, the users of those are already having a hard time using Type 1 fonts, and it is going to continue to get harder.
  • John ButlerJohn Butler Posts: 240
    I know I can always convert them, and I have multiple tools for doing so. I no longer have the shrink-wrap licenses they were packaged with, and I don’t know whether the terms of a shrink-wrap license from thirty years ago from companies whose ownership has changed one or more times contain references to format conversion or remain enforceable, nor do I care to plumb the litigious depths of such hypotheticals in these my declining years.
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,648
    edited January 9
    I know this a bit off topic since @John Butler was asking about Type 1 support on Windows, but it seems appropriate to mention here what the Type 1 situation is currently on macOS:

    For several years now, macOS has had increasingly weak support for Mac Type 1 fonts. Currently, the fonts will still work if you install them (except in recent Adobe apps), but they've lost their custom icons in the Finder, showing just a generic document icon instead. The outline fonts are still identified as PostScript Type 1 Font in the Finder, but the screen font file is identified as TrueType—which it's not. They were previously identified as "Font Suitcase."



    Installation is also partially broken. If you try to open the screen font in the Finder, Font Book will complain that there is no font data. However, if you use the Add Fonts command in Font Book and select the folder containing both the screen fonts and outline fonts, it will install it no problem. A simpler and more reliable method is to copy a folder containing the fonts into one of the system font folders, such as your user fonts folder in your home directory.

    Finally, for quite a while now, Mac font suitcases (used for Type 1 screen fonts and older Mac TT fonts) are not supported by iCloud. So if you place a Mac font suitcase on iCloud and then try to access it on another Mac, the file will show zero K, since all the font data is stored in the resource fork. The reason is iCloud doesn't support resource forks in files, only data forks. They are still supported by the OS itself (so far). FWIW, Dropbox fully supports this older Mac file type. Not sure about other cloud services.
  • John ButlerJohn Butler Posts: 240
    No, definitely thanks for the insight about macOS. My most recent Mac is a nine-year-old Intel-based MacBook Pro. I get a “new” used Mac every decade or so for running Mac-exclusive stuff.
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 1,086
    It certainly is true that anyone using fonts professionally needs to be certain of having an unimpeachable license to them. So dropping Type I support creates a problem, even if OpenType has replaced it for any fonts to be made in the future.
    Having read elsewhere about WordPad being removed from the latest versions of Windows 11, I was considering looking into alternatives. I needed to use the Wayback Machine to get version 2.9.4 of AbiWord; I found my machine already had 2.8.6 installed, that I had downloaded once before. It appears to be both lightweight and full-featured, and thus I think I will be more likely to use it than two other lightweight free word processors I probably downloaded around the same time - AbleWord and Scribus - although perhaps I investigated them because of some important features they have.

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