#2 Some feedback on STIX fonts

Release 1.0.0
closed
nobody
5
2016-12-01
2010-07-25
Mailhot
No

Dear sir,

Fist of all, I'd like to thank STIX for releasing its fonts for public
use. We've been distributing it as a default component in Fedora
Linux since Fedora 10: http://fedoraproject.org/
They will probably percolate from Fedora to Red Hat Enterprise Linux
this year.

We are also very happy about your decision to drop a custom licence for
the standard OFL font licence.

I regret that you didn't change your font naming to something more human
friendly during the beta. Applications have been tested against Times
New Roman for years, there is no reason to stick to Postscript-like
whitespace-free names any more.

In a related problem, STIX declares a lot of different font names,
consuming a lot of precious space in application font lists. Could you
please try to cut down a little here? Or at least provide guidance to
distributors on the minimal font set they can distribute as default that
is sufficient to display engineering text without taking so much place
in font lists?

Lastly, a plain text *.txt licensing file would be appreciated, as the
current PDF one is a bit bulky.

Now, as part of Fedora's ongoing QA work, we run automated sanity tests
on all the font files shipped in the distribution. It is very important
that all our fonts, especially those installed by default, pass those
tests with minimal warnings. Our ability to collect font problems in the
field is limited (most users do not report the font problems they
experience) and we have to rely on automated testing.

Moreover we've found out that most foundries do not test for the same
problems as us. Therefore our testing usually complements nicely the one
performed by font authors, and makes it a free service to thank them for
releasing Free/Libre/Open fonts.

This testing found several problems in STIX fonts. This is not surprising
for such a young font set, but we'd be grateful if you could look at them
and confirm we made the right choice in selecting STIX as a default
typeface.

I've attached the full test logs to this message. As a quick summary, we've
found two classes of problems that need fixing your side:

* Various fontlint errors.
Fontlint is the font testing suite created by the fontforge
project.
http://fontforge.sourceforge.net/fontlint.html
Fedora, OpenOffice.org, and others, have been adding new tests
to fontlint whenever a bad font broke an application on our
platforms.
(see the fontlint data files in attached logs)

* Partial script coverage.
We understand that creating a typeface that covers the whole
Unicode range is an enormous amount of work and not something
that can reasonably be asked of most font authors. Therefore our
test limits itself to detecting almost-complete scripts, and
only triggers when less than ten glyphs are necessary to
complete one or more of them (very often it triggers on the few
diacritics necessary to support minority languages).
Thus our test identifies areas where only a little more work can make
the font files useful for many more people. Please use this
opportunity to improve your fonts.
(see the fc-query data files in attached logs, and the explanation in
summary.txt)

We also run unicode block coverage tests, but they are a
lot less useful in practice
(see the unicover data files in attached logs)

I hope this feedback will be of some use to the STIX projet. Once again,
thank you very much for releasing this wonderful free/libre/open font
set!

Best regards,

--
Nicolas Mailhot
Fedora fonts special interest group
http://fonts.fedoraproject.org/

Discussion

  • stipub

    stipub - 2012-06-20

    First of all, regrets that this response to your comments is so untimely. Please be sure that your your comments were and are valued and were not ignored. The focus of the project the past two years has been to augment the initial STIX version with versions that are suitable for use with Microsoft Word and LaTeX and teh work is still in progress.

    We believe that some of the concerns that you've raised have been addressed, for example the Word version packages the glyph into a text font with the four standard faces and a math font.

    We have had a number of requests to more fully support Unicode and while the intent is not necessarily to support the full range of Unicode we do intend to consider these requests in a subsequent release of the fonts or failing that explain why we chose not to.

     
  • Mailhot

    Mailhot - 2012-07-08

    Thank you for your answer. The 1.1.0 release is indeed much better (if you ignore the STIX-General folder) however the following problems remain :

    1. needlessly bulky pdfs when a plain text file would do as well (we respect authors wishes and distribute fonts with their documentation, so that's almost 1 MiB of data just for the pdf files on thousands of systems)

    2. font metadata does not show they are OFL-ed

    3. unfriendly archive layout (convention is to use project-version as name with an included project-version as top directory)

    4. lots of almost-complete scripts

    5. some font bugs picked by automated tests

     
  • Mailhot

    Mailhot - 2012-07-08

    I've attached test suite results for stix 1.1.0

     
  • stipub

    stipub - 2014-06-11

    The issues raised are being reviewed for possible inclusion in version 2.0.0 which is currently in development.

     
  • stipub

    stipub - 2016-12-01
    • status: open --> closed
    • Group: --> Release 1.0.0
     
  • stipub

    stipub - 2016-12-01

    STIX version 2.0.0 was released earlier today. It includes improvements to both the text and math portion of the font, a repackaging that includes each supported font type (ATF, WOFF and WOFF2) and additional Unicode coverage.

    We appreciate any and all past and future requests for enhancements and bug reports.

     

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