[XeTeX] Finding out if a font supports a particular Unicode character and using it

Chris Jones cjns1989 at gmail.com
Thu Feb 4 02:36:58 CET 2010

On Wed, Feb 03, 2010 at 01:35:53PM EST, Peter Baker wrote:
> Chris Jones wrote:

>> Sorry for the misunderstanding. I thought you were a developer and
>> that my testing and feedback might be of interest to you.

> It is! It is! and I thank you for your feedback. Here I was just  
> explaining (a little too grouchily perhaps) why I'm not terribly  
> interested in trading in the FontForge dependency for something less  
> familiar to me.

That's probably what irked me.. :-)

All the more embarrassing, since this is somewhat 'OT' to this list.

> I should say that, while I'm not a "developer" in the sense of someone
> who devotes all his time to computer work, I am one of those who,
> being  reasonably well informed about some aspect of computing, try to
> express  their gratitude for open source software by making a little
> contribution--in my case, font design and a little bit of programming.

Much appreciated where I'm concerned since the tool fills a small niche
that was, as far I know, quite vacant. Note, that I was not the original
poster and I do not have immediate need for such a tool, but on the
other hand, it is a very useful addition to my toolbox.

> In a few days I'll post a new version that owes a lot to your comments
> and those of others: it will use a much more compact and less
> memory-hungry index scheme (converting automatically from the older
> scheme), will include options the allow you to avoid the pain of
> repeatedly indexing big fonts, will allow deletion of fonts from an
> index, and will index more kinds of fonts.

I'll be looking forward to the new version. I'll probably set up a
nightly cron job to recreate the index while I'm not using the system,
since once that is available, interactive searches run in a matter of a
few seconds.

> But you'll still need FontForge.

If I used FF on a daily basis, I would send in a bug report. If I go
crazy, InkScape is just about the only other application I've had
problems with on my hardware -- but they were CPU related. On the other
hand the usual memory hogs, such as Gnome or the mozilla products, are
quite useable on my hardware. I did google a bit for similar issues with
fontforge, thinking that there may be something else in my setup that
makes it require so much memory, but I did not see anything conclusive.
If you are curious, and depending on your bootloader, it's probably
quite feasible to fool GNU/Linux into thinking that you only have 300
Meg or so of installed RAM and run a quick test your end. But, I can
live with this issue, it just bothers me that the fun of playing with
such a nice useful utility such as fontswith should have been spoilt by
these pedestrian considerations, at least on my system.


More information about the XeTeX mailing list