[Foundation-l] Fonts was: Wikimedia Foundation 2008-2009 Annual Plan

Gerard Meijssen gerard.meijssen at gmail.com
Thu Jul 3 06:27:48 UTC 2008

I like Dejavu. Dejavu at this moment does not cover what we need. We do need
Chinese, Japanese and Korean; to be fair we need more then UTF-8 is able to
offer. What I intended to do is indicate ways of spending money. The
question is how to spend money and how to get the most bang for our buck.

Creating content in for instance the four languages that I singled out,
would be relatively cheap. We can generate a lot of content that will apeal
to the people for whom it is their mother tongue or for whom it is a major

Creating new fonts or making existing fonts Open Source is a worthwhile
goal. We can work on the extension of Dejavu, it is not unlikely that we can
Open Source existing fonts more cheaply. In the end, the real difference is
made when an end user is provided with information in a better way.

In the original thread the argument was about spending money. We should when
it furthers our goal. Fonts is in my opinion one. In the end, when we spend
money we want to have a result. When we are to invest in Dejavu, the work
done has to be welcomed by the people behind Dejavu.

In my opinion, the first order of busines re fonts is getting something out
that is available and free. Esthetics are secondary. When the WMF provides
the funding, it will be heavy lifters doing the work not our volunteers.


On Thu, Jul 3, 2008 at 7:58 AM, Gregory Maxwell <gmaxwell at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Thu, Jul 3, 2008 at 1:34 AM, Gerard Meijssen
> <gerard.meijssen at gmail.com> wrote:
> > Hoi,
> > As I have to spell it out for you:
> >
> >   - Wolof:  3,612,560 people
> >   - Swahili: 772,642 first language 30,000,000 second language users
> >   - Xhosa: 7,214,118 people
> >   - Zulu: 7,214,118 first language 15,700,000 second language users
> Dejavu status:
> zu     Zulu                                     100% (52/52)
> 100% (52/52)       100% (52/52)
> sw     Swahili                                  100% (52/52)
> 100% (52/52)       100% (52/52)
> xh     Xhosa                                    100% (52/52)
> 100% (52/52)       100% (52/52)
> wo     Wolof                                    100% (66/66)
> 100% (66/66)       100% (66/66)
> (
> http://dejavu.svn.sourceforge.net/viewvc/*checkout*/dejavu/tags/version_2_24/dejavu-fonts/langcover.txt
>  unfortunately the status hasn't been updated in a little while)
> For those who are unware the Dejavu fonts are a family of high quality
> truetype fonts (http://dejavu.sourceforge.net/wiki/index.php/Main_Page)
> with a fairly wide coverage of unicode.
> Dejavu does not yet cover all of unicode (the most notable big gaps
> are the Chinese, Japanese, and Korean character sets).  The primary
> reason Dejavu does not yet cover everything is because quality is the
> highest priority (well below being free).  A comprehensive font which
> is ugly or otherwise has poorly matched characters (incompatible
> metrics and such) is not something that many people will want to use
> if they have any choice. Most modern systems can substitute characters
> from other fonts if the selected font has holes in it, so Dejavu
> allows that to happen until it has quality replacements that fit
> nicely with the rest of the characters.
> Dejavu's focus on quality means that it's suitable for everyday use by
> everyone with a supported language, and not just by extreme-polyglots
> who are perhaps more tolerant of ugly print.  Dejavu has been the
> default font set on the current GNU/Linux distributions for some time
> now.
> I'm sure the Dejavu folks would welcome contributions from Wikimedians
> interested in improving the coverage and quality of the font.
> It may also make sense at some point to declare it to be the 'standard
> font' for the projects, and prefer it via CSS for improved consistency
> as well as support for the panoply of bizarre characters that even
> English Wikipedia utilizes.  (at least for users who are willing to
> download it and install it... at well over a megabyte for the complete
> character set, sending it dynamically is pretty much out of the
> question! ;) )
> (Preferring something like the currently non-free code2000 font would
> also provide better coverage of unicode... but on most projects doing
> so would get you shot: that font is not visually appealing in the
> slightest)
> > It is people who speak languages. It is people we aim to provide
> information
> > to.
> >
> > As to the Mozilla Foundation; the point is that our aim is to provide
> > information to all people. It is essential that the infrastructure is
> there
> > to achieve it. Fonts are essential in this game. The Mozilla foundation
> is
> > to provide functionality to people that are already on the web. In what
> we
> > aim to do, we do not say that people have to be online in order to be
> part
> > of our potential public.
> Indeed. Fonts are important. But they are important to a great many
> people outside of Wikimedia.  Other projects like Fedora Linux, and
> OLPC depend on good fonts even more than we do, so the bulk of the
> work has already been done by others and is already freely available
> without any action on our part.
> What gaps remain must be filled, but that is work that should be
> coordinated through the real heavy lifters in this space, and not
> Wikimedia which does not have a past history of font production or
> distribution.
> Cheers
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