[XeTeX] problem with xelatex, fontspec and non-ascii fontnames

Michiel Kamermans pomax at nihongoresources.com
Wed Dec 9 14:14:49 CET 2009

Hi all,

I'm trying to get fontspec to use a font that has a non-ascii name, 
which leads to an interesting problem of which I don't know how to get 
around: Because xelatex takes utf8 files, the font name I pass fontspec 
is in utf8. However, this makes makemf hiccup something aweful. If I try 
to use the font that in my list of fonts is called "誠印相細", I get the 
following error log:

Running makemf...
makemf: The ???? source file could not be found.
Running hbf2gf...

hbf2gf (CJK ver. 4.8.0)

Couldn't find `??.cfg'
maketfm: No creation rule for font ????.
! Font \zf at basefont=誠印相細 at 12.0pt not loadable: Metric (TFM) 
file or installed font not found.

(The question marks are not a pasting error, those are actually in the 

In my fonts folder, this font has the incredibly useful name 
"É+ê=æèì+.TTF", which makes it relatively hard to load it from disk by 
filename, rather than by font name. I tried renaming it to something 
that's actually human readable, but this makes windows applications that 
try to then use the renamed fonts either (best case) not actually use 
them or (worst case) plain old crash.

It looks a little like maybe xelatex/fontspec are calling makemf with 
the font's name in utf8, rather than iconv-ed back to the 
encoding/codepage the OS is actually using. Is that a correct guess, or 
is something else going wrong? And of course, what would be a way to 
make things work short of loading the font in font forge, and violating 
the font license by renaming it and saving it to an ascii name? =)

- Mike "Pomax" Kamermans

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