To Unfetter a Better Letter
May 10, 2007
It’s a weird world we live in. It takes a company that makes money from free software to pay for fonts to be free to replace fonts that aren’t free. Ok, as usual I’m oversimplifying and trampling on the reality of things. But if it’s any consolation, I simplify for my own benefit (read as: I’m an idiot) not for the faithful readers.
Red Hat contracted with Ascender Corp., one of the leading commercial developers of fonts, to develop a set of fonts that are metrically equivalent to the key Microsoft fonts.
It sounds odd, unnecessary and possibly even frivolous, but I high-five Red Hat for this move in the same way that I previously high-fived Bitstream for their fonts a while back. It really speaks volumes on the ubiquity of Microsoft-related dependencies when companies actually pay money to duplicate seemingly fundamental aspects of computing. People get so sick of similar-but-not-identically-formatted documents that they actually open their wallets. Action happened with the OS. Then with applications. Then with formats (XHTML/CSS comliance, ODF), and now with freaking letters. Throw in pixels if you want to consider sub-pixel hinting. Discontent keeps getting more and more microscopic.
Are “metrically equivalent” fonts legal? I hope so. But there’s nothing worse than a Jagged Letter Fill. (Wow was that pun brutal. ) Thanks Red Hat. It’s unfortunate that this move was considered a necessity.