[XeTeX] [OT] Free fonts for fontspec examples?

François Charette firmicus at ankabut.net
Wed Jul 14 15:45:13 CEST 2010

  On 14/07/2010 14:24, William Adams wrote:
> On Jul 14, 2010, at 6:16 AM, François Charette wrote:
>> Still, I cannot refrain from asking: what is exactly the point of such fonts? Any edition of an historical text should be first and foremost legible and intelligible to modern readers, without distracting them. To accurately reproduce an original source, digital color photos do a far better job, no?
> Yes, but such photos aren't searchable or indexable --- they're also significantly larger in terms of file size and are quite difficult to update and alter to correct errors or reflect modern sensibilities.

The edition itself should indeed be searchable, indexable and the accompanying apparatus 
should provide clear evidence for all changes the editor(s) made to the original 
source(s). The photographic reproduction should only complement the edition, which as a 
rule should not aim at reproducing the paleographic peculiarities of the original sources 
from which it was made. Even when a source exists in only one manuscript (or printed book) 
reproduced in full (in print or in electronic form), I believe it is advisable to provide 
a modern edition as well.

On 14/07/2010 15:31, Peter Baker wrote:
> O reason not the need!
> One of the nicest things about being an amateur in the Open Source world is that I don't 
> have to worry about producing a thing that's useful to enough people to generate a 
> reliable income stream. I cheerfully admit that I can't think of a lot of practical uses 
> for this font in its "historical" mode (with hist, hlig and one or two other things 
> switched on). But I really enjoyed making it.
> Now in its default mode it has a number of compromises that make it a perfectly decent 
> decorative font for various purposes. I use it for headers in Keynote presentations, and 
> I have a scheme to use it for chapter heads, subheads and running heads in my current 
> book project.
> Peter 

Note that I was asking the question in a provocative way in order to better understand the 
aims behind designing such historical fonts in general. I really do find Peter's work 
admirable! As a scholar who works with medieval manuscripts myself, I know that such fonts 
can be very useful in various situations. And there are no doubt plenty of legitimate 
non-scholarly usages one can think of, such as the ones you mention above.


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