Making Ubuntu the ideal environment to design libre/open fonts


The vast majority of font designers use OS X and some use Windows-specific tools. With common standards (opentype) more are thinking cross-platform and most are using some libre/open plugins along with the current proprietary stack of font design tools (FontLab and friends). Improving the available tools, integrating them and providing a rich and intuitive design environment similar to what the font design community is already accustomed to will help.

Use cases

Simon wants to add glyphs to an existing open font and would like to have all the stack needed to do proper font design easily installed. He would like a friendly and non-restricted environment where he can reuse his experience from designing fonts on other OSes. He would like as much interoperability and standard-based apps as possible so that his fonts can be developed and used cross-platform.


We will list available

  • tools
  • research papers
  • tutorials
  • font sources to contribute to
  • font sources to branch from

And gather useful information about the font design community

  • FLOSS-friendly designers
  • FLOSS-friendly websites and forums
  • font design community real-life meetups (conference and workshops)


Creating a meta-package to get the font design toolkit easily installed:

see apt-get install open-font-design-toolkit (this set of design tools will be adjusted as needed)

Creating online and offline resources for open font designers.


Integrating the following tools:

  • fontforge, fontforge-doc, inkscape, gimp
  • freetype-tools, libfont-ttf-perl, fonttools, gwaterfall, freetype-demos, oto, sfddiff, fontQA, ttx, robofab, superpolator
  • gfontsampler, gucharmap, guci, scribus-font-preview
  • a selection of useful mozilla extensions

Doing an UI review for fontforge, suggesting usability enhancements. Helping with the GTK+ port, looking at a common format with FontLab either though import/export filters or a common XML-based format like UFO. Integrating the various small scripts lying around.

See FontforgeImprovements.

See the various tools as listed on the Open Font Library wiki:

And the various utilities on

Integration with revision control and best practises around source tree layout is also desirable.


Data preservation and migration

Outstanding issues

BoF agenda and discussion

discussion of related specs: OpenFonts FontManagement


FontDesignToolkit (last edited 2010-09-28 15:02:14 by sal63-1-82-243-96-232)