Freetype and adobe patents question

Michael Torrie torriem at gmail.com
Mon Jan 25 19:03:21 MST 2010


Stuart Jansen wrote:
> On Mon, 2010-01-25 at 14:30 -0700, Jeff Moyes wrote:
>> Is the following correct - the Adobe patents on type hinting have now 
>> officially run out and therefore we can now use the hinting features in 
>> FreeType 2.  (such as described in 
>> http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/ubuntu/enable-smooth-fonts-on-ubuntu-linux/)?
> 
> Go go gadget google!
> 
> http://www.freetype.org/patents.html

So it looks like the problem patents were from Apple, not Adobe, so
unless they have expired also, then no we cannot use the full byte-code
interpreter hinting mechanism in freetype legally.  That's fine because
hinting sucks anyway.

Currently I run all my linux machines with sub-pixel rendering enabled
and *no* hinting.  Hinting really distorts the fonts and after using OS
X for several years I find I cannot stand hinted fonts, even at small
point sizes.

Oddly enough I love using GDI++ on windows to provide mac-like fonts
(nice and smooth and dark) on XP, Vista, and Windows 7, which uses
FreeType to do the rendering, but on Linux, even with hinting disabled I
can't get OS X-style fonts.  I think it has to do with the contrast
settings used in anti-aliasing.  Does anyone know how to make freetype
on Linux produce more beautiful, OSX-style font output?




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