I saw John Hudson mention in a separate thread
that the recent size specific design mechanism also had the effect of bumping the OS/2 table
to version 5.
My question is actually a historical question that I assume somebody here can answer for me.
Given that TrueType was developed as an apple spec which was, as i understand it, licensed to Microsoft, what is the reason for the OS/2 table's name
. As I understand it (and remember it), by the time Windows 3.1 was released (incorporating tt support), Microsoft had already parted ways with IBM in developing OS/2. Was the name chosen as some sort of backhanded slight from Apple?
Was it supposed to indicate behavior specific rendering behavior for OS/2 first
(presumably attempting to make OS/2 an intriguing tech-proposition for visual designers?). Or was the name just retained to indicate non-apple rendering and metadata extensions? Or was it initially designed for OS/2 when the spec was written and then later incorporated and licensed by microsoft for use in windows as OS/2 appeared to be flailing? The closest to an explanation i can find is:
The 'OS/2' table consists of a set of metrics that are required by OS/2 and Windows.
via apple's truetype reference
Would be very curious either way since I haven't had any luck tracking down any info via google searches. it seems like there must be some funny or apocryphal story behind the reason why the table was named so specifically.
In the 1989 timeframe, Microsoft was fully committed to developing OS/2. I was working on the fonts for OS/2 at the time, and we initially got Royal running on OS/2. Right when we started working with Apple, the metadata—mostly in the hhea table—was targeted for Mac OS 6. One of my first tasks with Royal was to figure out how the metadata we needed for OS/2 and Windows could be mapped to the Macintosh values. Ultimately we couldn’t map them all, so we notified Apple that we planned to add two additional tables to the Royal spec—OS/2 and WIN (Microsoft had to capitalize the names of our tables.) Because the design of fonts between OS/2 and Windows was very similar (the same folks at Microsoft did most of the graphics for both OS/2 and Windows—with some input from IBM based on their FOCA values) we decided to consolidate the OS/2 and WIN tables into just one table—OS/2. This is why the spec says “…a set of metrics that are required by OS/2 and Windows.” The parting with IBM occurred later in 1990. Microsoft had already made enough fonts using the OS/2 table that we decided it would be too expensive to rename the table to the WIN table. At this point we ported the TrueType code to the Windows 3.0 codebase, and we eventually shipped it as Windows 3.1.
Incidentally, in this same timeframe (late 80’s), IBM made the decision that they would not be supporting TrueType in their version of OS/2, instead they would be using Adobe’s ATM. Also, the original motivation of FreeType, as I understand it, was to bring TrueType to the OS/2 platform.
Ultimately the OS/2 table has become somewhat of a catch-all for additional bits of data, which is why we are now on the 6th version of the table.