[texworks] Mac OS TeXworks + fontconfig

Charlie Sharpsteen chuck at sharpsteen.net
Wed Jun 29 01:24:20 CEST 2011

On Sun, Jun 26, 2011 at 6:52 AM, Stefan Löffler <st.loeffler at gmail.com>wrote:

> **
> Hi,
> the way I see it, we have two requirements:
> 1) render embedded fonts correctly
> 2) support (at least) the 14 pdf base fonts even if not embedded
> I think (1) is fulfilled by poppler/freetype automatically (the Quartz vs.
> fontconfig issues only occur when setting up system fonts as replacements,
> right?).

Yes, as far as I can tell Fontconfig/Quartz are only used to locate font
files in cases where the document requires a font that is not embedded.

> As for (2), the Quartz approach satisfies this by using system fonts,
> whereas fontconfig requires X11 fonts (which, however, seem to have become a
> sort of system fonts in recent OS Xs, anyway; if they don't - or there is a
> chance users don't have it - we should probably bundle the necessary font
> files with Tw, just to ensure we don't violate the PDF standard).

Fontconfig appears to use mostly system fonts with one or two X11 fonts
thrown in. If the user does not have X11 installed, the main component that
is missing are the Fontconfig configuration files that tell it where to find
things. If we stuck with Fontconfig, a possible alternative to bundling the
14 required fonts would be to bundle a configuration file that tells
Fontconfig where to locate system fonts.

> Other than that, I don't think we have any strict requirements. In
> particular, I don't think the PDF standard mentions any other than the
> standard fonts anywhere (although I have to confess I haven't read all the
> 1300 something pages ;)).
> So, it is certainly nice to have good replacements, but not required. BTW:
> could it be that those fonts are available (and recognized properly) on CJK
> systems, anyway, and it's only non-CJK systems that require (and fail to
> find) suitable replacements?
> Likewise, the concern about fontconfig was that it can spam the file
> system, but apparently in recent versions this is no longer the case,
> either?

I didn't notice any "temp" files being accumulated on 10.5.x or 10.6.x.

>  So, all in all, I see two choices: bundle base-14 fonts (we do this partly
> for Windows as well), or drop good font substitution.
> I would tend to go with fontconfig here, for reasons of simple usability.
> But not being a Mac user this is nothing more than a gut feeling.
> Have I missed something? Jonathan, any thoughts?

I'm leaning in the direction of sticking with Fontconfig as well. Mainly
because although we have good Quartz support for the "base 14 fonts", they
are very English-centric and Fontconfig appears to make better fallback and
substitution choices for non-English languages. As a white boy from Alaska,
I feel entirely unqualified to make these sorts of decisions :)

However, I do need to know which library to build 0.4.2 against.

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