FontLab Studio and High Sierra

I’ve run into a serious issue with FontLab Studio (build 5714) after upgrading to High Sierra -- everything seems to work fine *except* the ability to paste or append glyphs (which is fairly crucial). I'm still trying to troubleshoot this before conclusively blaming this on High Sierra and was wondering if anyone else has run into this issue.



  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 1,857
    edited September 2017
    I am sorry to say that I can confirm that this is a problem for FontLab Studio 5.1.5 I'm going to go write a blog post right now and publicize it.

    I had not heard any other reports, but then again, lots of people don't upgrade instantly to the new version. Our preliminary testing didn't spot such a problem, but this was not immediately obvious without doing that particular operation.  :(
  • Usually I don't upgrade right away. I'm not sure what sort of evil first-adopter demon possessed me this time. I've learned my lesson.

  • I am still on Yosemite ;-)  If it ain't broke...
  • Up until two years ago I was still on Leopard :-)

  • Adam TwardochAdam Twardoch Posts: 449
    edited September 2017
    Unfortunately, I can confirm: in macOS 10.13, copying glyphs in the Font Window only copies the glyph name but not the actual glyph data, and copying contours in the Glyph Window only copies the EPS fallback representation but not the native one. 

    It seems that Apple once again broke something. We'll be investigating but I cannot give a timeframe. 
  • Also, this affects both FontLab Studio and TypeTool.
    FontLab VI and Fontographer seem to be unaffected, as far as we know.
  • Hi Adam,

    Could you clarify what you mean when you say that only the EPS fallback representation is copied? I've been able to copy and paste contours in the the glyph window and haven't noticed any issues with that, but perhaps I'm missing something.

  • That's because FLS copies its contour data into the clipboard in its native format and also as EPS, for interchange with e.g. Adobe Illustrator. When pasting, it checks for the native format, and in its absence, for the EPS data (so it can paste something coming from AI). On macOS 10.13, that EPS data is being written but not the native data. 

    I need to check more details to see what the repercussions are. 

    Could you go to System Preferences > General, uncheck Allow Handoff (if it's visible in the lower part of the window) and see if this does any change? 

  • Handoff has always been turned off on my system (I have no iOS devices, just a single desktop, so it makes little sense to turn it on).

    When I paste a contour, the result seems to be as intended even if it is going through an intermediate EPS stage. I work almost exclusively with postscript contours though, which I assume can be converted more seamlessly than TrueType. Thus far, the only thing which I've now noticed is changing is that tangent points are changing to corner points (which isn't a major problem). Is there any other information present in the native data which cannot be recovered from the EPS data?
  • As I suspected, the problem shows primarily in Multiple Master fonts. 

    On macOS 10.12, using native clipboard format, when you select some contour portion and copy, the corresponding contour portion is being copied from each master. Then, when you paste, each master gets the appropriate contour portion pasted (note the arc in the black master visible in blue): 

    Since Apple broke something in macOS 10.13 and only the EPS fallback format is used, that format is single-master only. So when I copy, only the contour portion from the current master is copied, and then when I paste, that same contour portion is pasted across all masters (you can see that instead of the thin and the black "B" arcs, the "C" glyph here got the thin arc in both masters): 

  • Adam TwardochAdam Twardoch Posts: 449
    edited September 2017
    For single-master PostScript curve contour selections, there shouldn’t be any difference between the FLS5 native and the EPS fallback clipboard format, apart from the tangent-to-corner point conversion (which indeed happens, and it’s sort of by design). 
  • Thanks, Adam, for the detailed explanation. It sounds like I should be safe (albeit a bit crippled by the append glyphs issue).

    Unfortunately, I only found the FontLab problem after I encountered an entirely different High Sierra issue -- Time Machine decided it needed to do a complete (~ 6TB) backup from scratch after the upgrade rather than the usual delta backup. Of course, that meant it needed to erase all my previous backups to make space, so I now have no easy way to roll back to Sierra.

    Which might be another reason for others to delay upgrading.
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,532
    “Upgrading” is much too nice a euphemism for planned obsolesence.
  • Just a thought. As Adam mentioned Illustrator and EPS. 

    Have you tried updating/installing Java to fix the issue, as that seems to be quite common for Mac updates for Adobe Illustrator. 
  • I don't see how Java could have anything to do with it, in this case. We now know what Apple changed (clipboard) and at least partly why (to enable copy/paste across two different computers).

    That said, if somebody tries Luke’s suggestion and has some evidence one way or the other, that is always appreciated.
  • Our office primarily used Windows in the 1990s. We had a clipboard application installed on all the computers that was network aware.

    Items (including files) could be set for one user or all users to see at the time of copy. It was a right-click context menu option.

    There's not much new under the sun.
  • There is a cross-platform app called Synergy that allowed you to work on multiple computers placed side by side as if it was one.

    When you moved the mouse pointer to the edge of one computer's screen, the pointer appeared on another computer's screen, even if one was a Mac and the other was a Windows PC.

    You could use one computer's keyboard to operate anything of the connected machines and the clipboard was also shared. But each computer displayed the content on its own monitor, so it wasn't a "remote desktop" solution, of which there are many and which all are quite slow. 

    Synergy uses the network only to transmit the mouse movements, keyboard entry and clipboard, so it was very lightweight. The illusion is quite perfect and at the time when I used both a Mac and a PC, I used Synergy for quite some time. 
  • I just wanted to point out that I have updated our blog post with some workarounds. Still a problem and a pain, but at least there are some options to get by while we look for something better.
  • Synergy has had clipboard sharing across computers for many years, crossplatform. 
  • So that you’re aware — was reported Adobe programmes had issues with High Sierra. 

    ‘Now updates from Apple, Adobe and Wacom seem to have largely fixed the problems. Here are the details.’ Here is a link to the article

  • Adam TwardochAdam Twardoch Posts: 449
    edited October 2017
    After exchanging information with Apple engineers, we have an initial assessment of the problem (which is indeed a result of the changes in how macOS handles clipboard data). We are still investigating the way in which this problem can be fixed. 
  • Thanks, Adam, for the update and for your efforts.

  • I hope you all got your exit strategy in place. Next year, with macOS 10.14, FontLab Studio 5 will not run at all because 32 bit applications will be obsolete.
  • Well, I'm assuming by then that FontLab Studio VI will be in non-beta form (right now I'm sticking with FL5 largely because I'm more comfortable with its interface, but also because doing real work in a beta makes me a tad nervous).

    (just in case, though, I have my trusty snow-leopard VM for running 32-bit software and PPC software, and SheepShaver for running even older software, and Mini vMac for running *truly* ancient mac software when waxing nostalgic).

    [Official Luddite]
  • >>but also because doing real work in a beta makes me a tad nervous<<

    I concur
  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 1,217
    Still strong with Yosemite and FL-5.  Working with VI is so frustrating and time wasting.
  • Jens KutilekJens Kutilek Posts: 247
    edited October 2017
    FontLab 5 on Windows 10 in a virtual machine may also be a good backup option :)
  • >>Working with VI is so frustrating and time wasting.<<

    Say that again, brother!

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