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Re: incompatible metrics
you're correct -- i was comparing two fonts (with three names) that
have identifiably different names. i'm still not sure that just
"times new [roman]" is the proper name for the autologic font, as
the (old) font catalog distinctly contains a "2" in the name.
it's really a tough matter, and one on which users really do need
to be educated (though i'm not at all sure how) to the fact that
there is so much diversity with similar names. and the names aren't
necessarily always similar! although you speculated that "all
variations on the times-roman theme are likely to have the word
`times' in their name", i find the following in one of my reference
books (The TypEncyclopedia, by frank j romano):
Times New Roman (Monotype)
English Times (Compugraphic postscript)
London Roman (Wang)
Press Roman (IBM)
Times Roman (AM, Autologic, Dymo, Harris, Mergenthaler)
if you think this list is long, the one for helvetica is even longer.
this is *all* pre-postscript (the book was published in 1984).
i have reason to believe that what talaris calls "dutch" is yet
another times-like entry. and i am sure that if i looked carefully
enough through old seybold reports, i'd come up with even more.
a periodic topic of discussion in the iso fonts working group (a
subgroup of sc18/wg8, in the u.s. part of x3v1; i've been a member of
this body since 1986) is the problem of automatic font substitution
in blind document interchange. (that is, if someone sends out a
final-form document, and the receiving site doesn't have the
requested font, what should be done.) this is good for many long,
often fruitless, hours of indecisive verbiage. the problem existed
before i arrived on the scene, and it will certainly continue to exist
long after i've set my last piece of type. i don't think we're really
going to find a general solution here, but education is certainly part
of the answer, and making sure that real distinctions are recognized
and accounted for.