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Fonts & Encodings by Yannis Haralambous

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12.3. FontForge

Aside from the visual appearance of its interface, which lacks the splendor of that of Font-Lab, FontForge (formerly named PfaEdit) is extraordinary software! It includes a large portion of FontLab's functionality, a few features of its own (a debugger for TrueType instructions, an editor for OpenType tables, and even an editor for AAT tables), the ability to save fonts with more than 65,536 glyphs, even in CID format—and all that for the low price of zero dollars. Thus it is a great free software package, and, unlike collective free-software projects such as Emacs, Mozilla, Gimp, etc., FontForge was developed entirely by a single person: a Californian by the name of George Williams.

In addition, being free of charge, FontForge can also be localized as much as one wishes. There are already French, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Vietnamese, and Japanese versions.

FontForge runs under Unix/X Window. Not to worry if you use Mac OS X or Windows. Under Mac OS X you need only install X11 first; it has been supplied with the system since version 10.3. Under Windows, you must install CygWin [301, p. 10]. The procedure is duly explained on Font-Forge's Web site [352].

As with all free software, one can compile FontForge oneself. Nonetheless, if one is not a seasoned programmer, compiling the software will entail a small risk: a problem may arise if the system's configuration is slightly more recent than that of the initial developer. And if a problem arises, one is ...

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