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[Groff] Musings on the adding of fonts

From: Sigfrid Lundberg, NetLab
Subject: [Groff] Musings on the adding of fonts
Date: Tue, 26 Feb 2002 18:51:05 +0100 (CET)

1. My first experiment turned out successful, and without any pains. I had
a commercial type 1 font. I just ran the afmtodit program, and installed
the files in ./font/devps/. One thing, though: It seems that the .pfa
files have to live there as well. The file names in the download must not
contain paths. A pain to be forced to have those files there, and
to to be able to point to them. Otherwise the result was beautiful.

2. Then I tried some TrueType fonts, and software (the freetype library,
pfaedit, autotrace and the like). Pfaedit is not even version 1 yet, but
still very useful. To get the font metrics for a truetype font is a piece
of cake. To get a type 1 font out of it is also OK. But where is the
kerning table? Any pointer to info on kerning and ttf would be much

Another experience: Obviously, ttf, the more modern technology, is capable
of handling 16 bit encodings. This might not be a big deal, since pfaedit
can presumably split the font, and groff handle "virtual" fonts built from
pfa-pieces. A pointer on this issue, as well please.

4. Adding fonts to devdvi is equally simple. I've always been very fond of
the computer modern fonts. Now, having read about pdftex, I found
references on how to translate .mf into type 1. TuGboat seam to have a who
series of articles on this, published between late 80ties and now. I've
read a handful of them, including one on how to create type1 fonts more or
less directly using metapost. This is feasible for production of new
fonts. To do so for existing ones is impossible, it seems.

However, if the bitmaps are created at high enough resolution, it is
possible to calculate outlines, and from them outline fonts. I've tried
pktrace for this. There is a problem lurking: the encoding file
(font/grops/text.enc) might not be the encoding pktrace like the best. But
once I've understood that I could install a second one based on TeX.

When doing the tranlation, you get TeX font metrics as byproduct...  but
alas grodvi and grops seem to live their lives independent of each other.
A tfmtodit, which would produce font files for grops would help. Tfmtodit
doesn't even read the font/grodvi/DESC file.

There is a nifty program, in postscript that will give you the afm. getafm
from the pfa.  But again you'll get no kerning table. Pfaedit solved my
problem, you pull down a menu and it will read the tfm! Pfaedit
'autohints' the font and 'simplifies' it. Then just create your type 1
font, run afmtodit, and install.

I have not tried my fonts on the laser printer yet, but they looks nice on

This became a long posting :) Thank you for your attention!



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