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Old 06-17-2007, 07:53 PM   #9
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: northern New England, USA
Posts: 510

Originally Posted by dthomsen8 View Post
Why is it that there is such diversity in specifying a sans-serif font to work on three operating systems? Are there legal restrictions, or just a narrow approach by the operating system developers?
I think it's the difficulty of figuring out what fonts are likely to be present under three operating systems. Are there fonts all Macs have installed? All versions of Windows? All Linux distros whether current or legacy? Even when fonts come with the operating system, there is no assurance that users have them all installed. Many people (like me) remove some default fonts that aren't strictly necessary.

I would suppose that the same problems exist for a serif font, too. I am guessing that there are two problems, one the technical challenge to create a font that works on three operating systems, and another to get that font or fonts widely distributed for users to actually see it when browsing.
It is no technical challenge to create a font that works on Linux. Any TrueType font will work. Both Type 1 and the old Type 3 PostScript fonts work. A PostScript font with a PFB file and an AFM file will work. Linux understands and supports Unicode. However, licensing restrictions prevent many of these fonts from being distributed with the Linux distro. So the font won't be installed unless the user installs it.

This makes it difficult to specify a font you can expect will be installed on most Linux systems. Of late, most distros come with the DejaVu family (TrueType, open source, can be freely distributed, works with Windows, too, and I imagine the Mac). The Bitstream Vera family is popular, too. Many Linux users have Gentium. I'd say the DejaVu family is the best bet but there is no Type 1 or TrueType font that *must* be installed on a Linux system, so you can't be 100% sure a user will have any particular font installed.
--Judy M.

Registered Linux User #397786
Being productive with VectorLinux 7 Standard

Last edited by JVegVT; 06-17-2007 at 08:18 PM.
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