[OS X TeX] Fonts included with Textures?

Ross Moore ross at ics.mq.edu.au
Thu Mar 28 05:10:39 CET 2002

Hi Adrian,

> >>
> Ross
> > Why do you think that the .pfb gets converted to .pfa before sending ?
> > Which print-spoolers do that, and why ?
Thanks for this quote; I had not seen it before:

> This is directly from the manual that accompanies the Lucida fonts: "The 
> actual outline fonts themselves are in Printer Font Binary (PFB) form. 
> PFB files are typically used on IBMPC compatibles, and are what the 
> Windows PostScript driver and ATM expect to see. PFB files are compact, 
I think this is the most relevant phrase.

Remember that we are creating PDF files.
These need to be read by PDF readers, such as Adobe's Acrobat and relatives.
These presumably use technology similar to ATM.
So if ATM prefers .pfb then it makes sense to use .pfb inside PDF files.

That is exactly what pdfTeX does.

Indeed, pdfTeX does not like .pfa fonts at all, in my experience.
This may be seen as a deficiency of pdfTeX, but that's the way it is
at present, so I believe.

> but need to be 'unpacked' into the more verbose hexadeimal PFA format 
> before being sent to a postScript printer. Most applications that use 
> Type 1 fonts can do this."

The point is that being sent to a printer is not the *only* use,
nor indeed need be the primary use, of PDF files created with TeXshop.
Distribution on the web, and showing correctly within other people's
browsers, is a much more significant use, subject to un untold number
of vagaries related to transmission and what platform the unknown surfer
is using.
Any extra cycles burnt locally on your powerful Mac, to uncompress .pfb
into .pfa for transmission on the local network, is surely of little
significance in practical terms.

> > There is no a priori reason why any ascii/binary conversion between
> > the two forms needs to take place.
> >
> > Indeed, the binary form is more likely to be closer to the internal 
> > format
> > than is the ascii format.
> Alan Hoenig, the author of TeX Unbound: LateX and TeX Strategies for 
> Fonts, Graphics and More has said that his NexT/LateX set up deals 
> directly with .pfa fonts---they do not need to be converted to .pfb.

Yes; that's easy to do.
You just use a different .map file for print jobs, than for PDF jobs.
It's quite normal to do this with  teTeX .

This is done with configuration files for  dvips .
e.g. we have a printer here called  math .
I have config files named  config.math  and  psfonts.math  .

These files are read, when using   dvips -Pmath  <filename>.dvi

In fact, since my default printer is  $PRINTER='math' , then I get this
automatically with  dvips .

The file  psfonts.math  lists the font files such as  CMR10.pfa, etc.
whereas  pdfTeX  reads  cm.map  with names  cmr10.pfb, etc. .

As an aside...

There was a time when we had a hard-drive attached directly to the printer.
This had *all* the CM fonts stored for easy access.
Then, the file  psfonts.math  did not have any filenames at all.
It just listed the fontnames:  CMR5, CMR7, CMR10, etc.
This had the effect of omitting the fonts entirely from dvips files,
directed to the printer. It was not necessary to include the fonts,
as the printer already had them. The question of .pfa or .pfb  was
not relevant, as the printer had full control of getting the fonts
>from its local hard-drive. 

Nowadays, printers are faster, have more RAM, and do not come with
expensive SCSI connectors. So this technique is no longer used;
every job needs to include all of its own fonts.
Evidently it can still be done, using flash-RAM, but that's expensive
for little practical gain.

> My thought was: given that there is a fair bit of NexT legacy in OS X, 
> it should not need .pfb outline formats either.

The issue is not local to MacOS X.
It's a matter of what is practical for the PDFs that you produce.

> So Ross, can you clarify this? Is conversion necessary and if so why?

I think you want .pfb files, because that is what pdfTeX can handle,
and that's best for Acrobat (Reader).

> Having struggled with these font matters now for two weeks, I think it 
> should all be reclassified as Necromancy.

That's a good word for it!



> Adrian Heathcote
> >

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