moyogo's little blog

Blogging about Open Source, fonts, language technology, maps and random stuff happening wherever I am.


Attracting devs

Ben threw some good ideas on the DejaVu mailing list after hearing Hồng Phúc Ðặng's presentation How to get contributors to your free/libre/open source project from Vietnam and Asia at LGM 2010. There are some really good ideas there. We just started translating parts of the DejaVu Fonts Wiki. Hopefully we'll start blogging more often.



Android’s source

Google released the source code of Android.

The Droid fonts (TTF files) are released as part of it under the Apache License version 2. How long before they are packaged and shipped with *nix distribs? Don't think there's time to squeeze it *Ubuntu Intrepid. Let’s add good stuff to them!


ATypI 08

I am currently attending the ATypI ’08 in St. Petersburg.

I gave a presentation on African fonts. The main concern is Latin script, used by about 90% of African languages. The presentation and more detailed paper will be available on the African Network for Localisation website.

The ATypI website will also have some of the presentations available for download.

I am currently sitting at David Březina's presentation on General issues of multi-script typography. This seems to be relevant for fonts like DejaVu that support several scripts.


Font dialog

If you use Gnome or GTK+ applications and fonts you’ll probably be interested to see what’s been on Planet Gnome recently. Alberto Ruiz made a mockup proposal for a font selection dialog. After some feedback from the lazy web he made a second proposal.

The first one was seriously flawed as people pointed out: it’s limited to Bold/Italics, non-Latin fonts almost all look the same when the preview is in Latin (at least on Linux) and if they are multi-script only Latin is showed, etc.
Pierre-Luc Beaudoin plugged his proposal with different look but same flaws.

The second font dialog proposal is much better and is inspired by Gnome-Specimen. Having a search feature sounds great, the preview looks nice. But it would be nice to have things people suggested like the ability to change the sample text, see font listed by language or organized categories, search fonts containing wanted characters, etc.

It would be nice to have a cross desktop way of organizing fonts in categories, flagging favorites, grouping some and what not. Fontmatrix could be used for that, we’d just need a library for desktops/toolkits to use.

Font dialogs are generally flawed, designing one that pleases everybody isn’t easy. Personally I think Apple's done the best job. Ed Trager wrote an article on the topic a while back: Designing a Better Font Selection Widget.



scaryideas has a large collection of print and video ads. Some are better than others. Enjoy !

Labels: ,


Afrique : 5 % de croissance par an

Hier soir je me suis mis devant la télé tard le soir. Après avoir zappé sur quelques chaînes sans programme attirant mon intérêt, je suis tombé sur France 3 diffusant Ce soir (ou jamais !), spéciale Afrique. Je venais juste de manquer le live de Baloji. Les discussions et débats de l’émission ont été relativement bonne. Plusieurs invités de l’Afrique francophone, une auteure, un ancien ministre, un écrivain, deux chanteurs-compositeurs et un humoriste ont donné leur avis sur l’Afrique, son passé, son avenir, ces problèmes et l’influence de la France et de l’Occident en général. Alpha Blondi était assez présent et a dit des choses qui m’ont vraiment fait rire.

L’intégralité de l’émission est visionnable sur le web (Afrique : 5 % de croissance en un an)

Labels: , ,


N’ko (ߒߞߏ) on computer

N’ko is this African script that was recently added in Unicode, and thus will be easier to use. However being included in Unicode is just the first step.

Being in Unicode just means that some sequences of bytes are defined to represent some N’ko characters. To be able to use N’ko you need several things. The first is a system that correctly underdstands those Unicode definitions. N’ko being a right-to-left script, sequence of N’ko characters have to be displayed accordingly. Then, like Arabic script, N’ko has words connected together and characters can have initial, medial and final forms depending on where in a word they are. For this you need fonts that have the right various glyphs for those characters and applications that can use those fonts properly. Because Unicode only includes N’ko since it’s version 5.0 which came out in November 2006 most systems do not know how to handle N’ko, for example Windows Vista, which came out a bit after, doesn’t.

The future looks bright however. N’ko support was added to Pango 1.17, the library that handles text layout on Gnome and Gtk+ applications, and is on it’s way to be included on other Linux libraries, on Windows and other platforms like Java. This will take time of course, but for those who can't wait, you can already use N’ko on the next-to-be version of Ubuntu, Gutsy. The GUI font, DejaVu, has basic N’ko support. Funny thing tho', at this moment the tentative Guinea keyboard layout that allows to type N’ko isn't included in
Gutsy. It’s kind of ironic not being able to type something.
There are various options to have a keyboard : install the Guinea keyboard manually, or install the kmfl N’ko keyboard.

Michael Everson has also been working on a N’ko font. Hopefully this will be a great document font widely available allowing people to share documents without trouble.

Labels: , , ,