[XeTeX] Greek Unicode fonts for (Xe)TeX use

Pablo Rodríguez oinos at web.de
Mon Sep 4 14:12:25 CEST 2006

Joachim Trinkwitz wrote:
> Am 31.08.2006 um 13:25 schrieb Malte Rosenau:
>> One should note that this list doesn't say anything about the  
>> typesetting quality of the fonts, which may vary greatly. Apart  
>> from the commercial ones (Palatino, Minion Pro, etc.) only the GFS  
>> Fonts and Gentium were professionally designed and even those have  
>> all sorts problems.
> Could you please give us some hints which these problems are (apart  
> from the obvious as missing glyphs)? Do you think one should rather  
> avoid using these fonts?

Commercial fonts have also problems.

Polytonic uppercase accented letters seem not to have diacritical marks
in Garamond Premier Pro according to http://dadaix.free.fr/garamond/.

(I wonder whether Adobe Garamond Pro does have the same bug with
polytonic Greek capitals, if it has support for polytonic Greek at all.)

Garamond Premier Pro Opticals seem to have problems with optical sizes,
as already commented on the list.

Palatino Linotype has also some problems with kerning. "\emph{V},"
output such a result as it were a blank space between V and the comma.
And the italics are so shaped as it were a wrong kerning between the two
first letters in ἔχον.

I'm not aware of any problem with Gentium (it lacks bold versions, small
caps and probably other things, but these are obvious). I would like to
know which problems it has.

The GFS fonts have some issues.

At least in GFS Didot, GPOS kerning is wrong in many places (especially
the italic font).

German double-s has no uppercase character when using small caps (in
c2sc and smcp), which is wrong
In other words, germandbls.sc is missing, which seems to be very common
when designing fonts.

Maybe as matter of personal taste, I think that ordinals (ª, º) are set
to low in GFS Didot and GFS Bodoni.

The italics of GFS Neohellenic use the alpha glyph for a, which looks
weird outside Greece.

The bold italic font of GFS Didot have switched í and ì (which leads to
undesired results ;-)).

Some GFS fonts include composite characters that use an obsolete method
of glyph composition (and that don't work with xdvipdfmx). And all fonts
(or maybe only some of them) do have different font names in MacOS and
Windows and the Windows names have an "Rg" appended.

Because of these, I (still) don't use GFS fonts for important projects.
To be fair, I have reported all these issues (and others). They have
fixed many, but these remain. I really appreciate their work as type
designers and sometimes I wonder whether I am too demanding or whether I
report the issues in the most appropriate manner. But my experience form
the free/open source world has taught me not to regard bugs as features.

Erik Spiekermann says that the work of a typographer is not to design
the blank marks on the page, but the space between. (Xe)TeX does a lot
in this area, but fonts play no small role in this. Perhaps
(typographical) perfection is a way... and it is only reached at the end.

I hope it helps,


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