can someone explain the origin of the os/2 table's name?

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.


  • Dave Crossland
    Awesome post @GregH!