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David Berlow said:
John Hudson said:
Congratulations on the release, Adrien. What's the best location for providing feedback, bug reports?
Adrien Tétar said:
David Berlow said:
LeMo aka Frank E Blokland said:Congratulations!
LeMo aka Frank E Blokland said:It must have been a busy 5 months of development, I reckon
LeMo aka Frank E Blokland said:Just curious: did you write all the code in Python (using for instance Trolltech's QT Designer or so)?
LeMo aka Frank E Blokland said:
And because Dave started this topic: will Google finance the further development of your tool?
John Hudson said:
Out of interest, Dave, what aspects of this new project do you think make it look like a better investment than FontForge, which has obviously been around a lot longer? Are there lessons from the FontForge experience that you think Adrien and supporters of TruFont should be aware of?
Jack Jennings said:
It the eventual goal to have feature parity with FontForge?
It the eventual goal to have feature parity with FontForge?
Sorry for continuing this somewhat off-topic FontForge saga
Robofont is the primary inspiration rather than FontForge […]
[…] Glyphs-like multi-glyph editing, and UFO support.
My guess is that the Trufont 1.0.0 release will not only be more or less feature-complete compared to RoboFont, but will go beyond that with its 'batteries included' or 'core' extensions (that may live in github.com/trufont) so that it isn't offensively barebones to designers.
I expect to spend 2016 focusing on contributing to Trufont to see how far it can go.
I think that Trufont should become a unique font editor that provides additional value to the existing ones.
it will become difﬁcult for Frederik and Georg to get a proper return on their investments
I don't think they have much to worry about; FontLab v6 surely poses a much greater threat than Trufont, and even then, in a commodity market branding is everything.
Glyphs' brand is very good, thanks mainly to their excellent and attentive customer service. RoboFont hasn't seen a point release for a while - last two were in 2013-01-14 and 2013-10-07 - and the "no previous knowledge" politics does not fare well in the customer services department.
If font developers want to convince their potential customers that it is normal to pay for an original product of which the development requires a lot of skills, knowledge, time, and patience, they should be willing to support the people who develop original tools for the production of these fonts too.
And they do, and I expect they'll continue to do so. FontLab 6 is explicit in their marketing that they expect (and are working to conveniently be) an interoperable part of all high quality font development workflows, alongside other tools. The days of Fontographer or FontLab or Ikarus being a one-stop-shop are long gone.Additionally, most font developers supporting RoboFont are doing so by releasing a lot of libre-licensed extensions on Github; Frederik and Georg both have active Github accounts. Your assertion that contributing to libre licensed tools is acting against the interests of proprietary tool developers seems a bit strange to me
Dave Crossland said:I don't think they have much to worry about;
I don't think they have much to worry about;
But this raise the question of the main target audience for such a project, which are probably students, and does it worth the effort?
People like myself who want software freedom in development, reliability and support of software can not get what we want from proprietary software, so all efforts to develop libre font tools are worth the effort ipso facto.
...can not get what we want from proprietary software...
I guess I just don't understand what it is that you cannot get from proprietary software, other than "free". One gets what one is willing to pay for; it has always been that way. Otherwise there is little or no motivation for software developers to continue to make their product better.
I have looked at libre products in other areas in the past and while I was impressed by the effort involved on the part of the programmers, the end result was not as good as that of commercial versions. Profit is the best driver.
LeMo aka Frank E Blokland said:
Recently a renowned colleague wrote me that he would stop buying OTM if an open-source version of the program would be released. If that happens, it will become difficult for us to compete with a free clone of our tool, I reckon.
I guess I just don't understand what it is that you cannot get from proprietary software, other than "free".
One gets what one is willing to pay for; it has always been that way. Otherwise there is little or no motivation for software developers to continue to make their product better.
There has been little or no motivation for Adobe to make OpenType Font features conveniently accessible to users; there has been little or no motivation for FontLab to fix bugs knowns about for years.
Sometimes proprietary software is available without a fee, and sometimes libre software requires a fee to access a copy.
You got what you paid for, and that was it. RoboFont calls this being a "victim" in its design principles.
What I want to get is the ability to get involved in how my tools work, so that when those inevitable moments arrive when I want the tool to work in a way that the developers are not providing, then I can take personal responsibility to get what I want to happen, happening.
That kind of ability is a particular one, I think accurately called freedom.
I have looked at libre products in other areas in the past and while I was impressed by the effort involved on the part of the programmers, the end result was not as good as that of commercial versions.
Profit is the best driver.
I can't speak for Dave, but as a software developer there are times when it's frustrating that you can't crack open some piece of software to either fix some issue or to add some missing functionality.
That being said, that means that GUI OSS is going to be a fairly limited appeal if that's the only additional draw.
Jack, you're an active user of RoboFont. Are you completely happy with it? Are there things you think that Frederik will never fix or support?
I must admit that I rather bristle when people paint the idea of software freedom being a wooly, abstract, impractical concept. To me it is an entirely practical thing. If all else is equal, who would prefer a proprietary tool to a libre one?
Of course I understand, as stated in the design principles, that RoboFont is built as a platform. "The extensibility of its object model allows a designer to build whatever they can think of on the base of RoboFont." Therefore some RoboFont users might say that it doesn't matter if Frederik will not fix or support something, because one can write your own version of whatever you need that runs inside RoboFont.
The problem I have with this is that for some things, I would need to have access to the internals of RoboFont; this things are not available to each user, only to Frederik. A few years ago I discussed this with Frederik and he kindly said that, well, in a real situation like this I would only have to email him and he'd share the source code I needed. That's a wonderful offer, but what if he says "no"?
I hear RoboFont users complaining about the speed of the program in various ways. I suspect that it isn't possible for RoboFont users to improve the speed, without complete access to the source code. However, TruFont is built with PyQt5, so it should be able to fix all speed problems that arise.
In the FAQ there are a number of questions to which the answer is simply and firmly, "No." Chief among them is if there'll ever be a version of RoboFont for computers running something other than Mac OS X.
Adrien runs Windows, and doesn't want to use a Mac. Thus, TruFont.
The following story has illustrative value, I think, in keeping with the discussion of Trufont and open source font tools as that discussion has unfolded in this thread.
Not so long ago, I had a great desire to create a new tool for fonts using, as a basis, proprietary software from Monotype. I needed a way to make compressed EOT files using Monotype's proprietary MicroType Express (MTX) technology.
The tool that Microsoft was offering for the purpose, named WEFT, was a piece of abandonware, unworkable in a production environment. And Microsoft seemed totally uninterested in making better tools whether or not EOT was adopted as the standard webfont format or not. The ball was in Monotype's court.
Being able to make an EOT in a production environment was critical:
At the time, everyone involved in the negotiations at the W3C - negotiations which ultimately ended up crowning WOFF as the standard format for webfonts - everyone involved assumed that Monotype held all the legal cards because of Monotype's patent on the method for making EOTs. And that without licensing from Monotype - which Monotype could refuse - webfonts that worked with legacy versions of Internet Explorer was simply not a practical proposition. Such a situation would, unfortunately, set "fonts on the web" back years and years because without a practical tool for creating EOT's you couldn't deliver the font to any of the legacy versions of Internet Explorer.
In the world of patents and copyright, things are often not as simple as they seem - a fact which works to the supposed rights-holders advantage every time. I remember talking to Dave C. about it at the LA Typecon some years ago. As I was searching for ways around the patent restrictions.
The practical effect of Monotype's patent on MTX and therefore EOT sent a chill wind through the proponents of open source. It gave Monotype a sword of Damocles which they promised to remove by taking MTX public domain, if EOT was chosen as the standard web font format. But it still smelled like an ultimatum, and I really, really don't like ultimatums. The prospect of waiting years more for fonts on the web was unacceptable.
The solution I came up with was a Windows command-line executable called EOTFAST.
It did indeed use the proprietary software mentioned above and I did not need a license from Monotype to do it.
How was I able to do that? Simple - I did some homework. There is a principle in patent law called "patent exhaustion". What that means is that those who license their technology are not entitled to double dip. If a company that makes pencil sharpeners licenses a patent from another company to use their patented rotary wood sharpening blade system and incorporates it into their product, that company cannot then, in turn, ask you - as a customer who bought the pencil sharpener - to pay extra to license the blade system. It came with the initial purchase. The deal is done. Finished.
As lawyer and legal scholar Douglas E. Phillips explains in his book, "The Software License Unveiled":
Similarly, having bought and paid for a license for Windows, you're perfectly free to make use of the dlls that control the making of an EOT. No further license necessary. (I also found out that EOTs were not only supported by IE but Powerpoint and Word, as well.) The software necessary to create them was already in Windows. And as long as you did the work within the scope of your license for Windows, there wasn't a damn thing Monotype could do or say about it. They had exhausted their rights by licensing the technology to Microsoft.
As a courtesy, I sent an email to Si Daniels and Microsoft's rep in the CSS fonts group, Sylvain Galineau, (working for Adobe, last we spoke) and I explained the situation and released the product.
(For the record, it was the legal baggage related to how EOTs handled the embedding restrictions that made it unpalatable to the majority. The compromise of Woff gave the font producers their "garden fence" against unlicensed use without that baggage.)
Now, to turn to matters of marketing : rather than just slap EOTFAST up on SourceForge or wherever, I decided to give it the patina of a "professionally" made product. I say "professionally" facetiously because it certainly was professionally done. I took a .com domain name for it. I gave it an icon. Good documentation was provided. It was all zipped up nice.
I just don't know how to present a product any other way. Ok, so it's free. But you still gotta dress for success, it's a matter of pride.
And that's the story of EOTFAST. Which I still use constantly today.
A few years down the road, to their credit, Monotype did publish a universal release saying that anybody who wants to is free to use the MTX technology. And so it turns up here and there in non-Windows spaces like the Font Squirrel Generator, to name one.
Lastly, Dave mentioned Red Hat which markets its products and services at the same level as companies selling proprietary software solutions.
After thinking about it, another company that figured out how to market itself and its products to compete against proprietary software financed by monster companies like Microsoft, is Mozilla. They built brand names. They presented themselves in the marketplace in a way that builds user confidence. I just wish we saw that with some of the smaller projects in the open source community more frequently.