Ubuntu Font Family

Ubuntu Sans Italic Aa Bb Cc Dd Ee Ff Gg Hh Ii Jj Kl Ll Mm Nn Oo Pp Qq Rr Ss Tt Uu Vv Ww Xx Yy Zz 0123456789 ~ ! @ # $ % ^ & * ( ) - + = The Ubuntu Font Family are a set of matching new libre/open fonts in development during 2010-2011. The development is being funded by Canonical on behalf the wider Free Software community and the Ubuntu project. The technical font design work and implementation is being undertaken by Dalton Maag. Members of the Ubuntu core development team are packaging the font in .deb format. The font was released under a libre-licence and is now packaged in Ubuntu 10.10.

Note: the first version of the font .deb made available to Ubuntu Members on 2010-07-07 accidentally contained 'nda' in the package name. This was immediately fixed within twenty-four hours. A non-disclosure agreement (NDA) is not required to test the Ubuntu Font Family.

Timeline

aa As they were developed, snapshots were being gradually rolled out on a phased basis, to wider circles of people, and in larger snapshots as the opportunity of each six-monthly Ubuntu release approached:

  • Ubuntu 10.04: very early snapshot used for the 2010 X/K/Ubuntu re-branding exercise

  • Ubuntu 10.10: Should have four fonts in sans-serif style: Regular, Italic, Bold, Bold Italic

  • Ubuntu 11.04: Additional fonts, and expanded language coverage, including Monospace for terminal use

Phased beta

The initial Alpha and Beta testing of the Ubuntu Font Family has been rolled out in phases under progressively more open distribution conditions:

  • Canonical design team ("DX"), proprietary, NDAed, Sup3r S3cr3t (later 2009)
  • Canonical employees, proprietary, NDAed (early 2010)
  • Ubuntu members + web-preview, proprietary (July 2010)
  • more to come!...

The font family is a long-term project and the phased feedback process is not something that everyone has immediately embraced! It is however a historical development: Dave Crossland (of the Open Font Library) notes on the LWN article that this the first time that a traditional proprietary font foundry company has been prepared to release any beta test versions of their in-development fonts. Non-profit foundries have released design reviews and public betas. Hopefully in the future the Ubuntu Font Family can be held up as an example of success and open up the possibilities to go even further. Lets make this work!

From a font-designer's point-of-view, half-finished fonts have had the unfortunate habit of getting distributed and spreading the wild ("like viruses"). Mainstream use of incompatible revisions of a typeface cause issues such people's documents re-flowing where characters or metrics are refined between the earlier and the final versions.

References

Ubuntu Developer Summit-M:

Design team

Dalton Maag

News

Coverage

  • 1,200 glyphs
  • 200-250 languages
  • native languages of 3 billion people!

Fonts

The Ubuntu Font Family is a sans-serif typeface family with an intended coverage of thirteen fonts:

Font

Regular

Bold

Italic

Bold Italic

Ubuntu

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Ubuntu Monospace

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Ubuntu Light

Yes

Yes

Ubuntu Medium

Yes

Yes

Ubuntu Condensed

Yes

Scripts

Latin

Extended: A+B+more...

Greek

Monotonic+Polytonic+variations

Cyrillic

Extended

Arabic

Hebrew

Mathematical

Limited

Technology

  • OpenType-based TTF (TrueType)

  • Alternative glyphs (e.g. proportional/non-proportional/superscript/subscript numerals)
  • Debugging glyphs (U+EFFD, U+EFFE, U+EFFF, U+F000) giving face, version, grayscale level and pixels-per-em digit display)

The pixels-per-em 7-segment digits are driven by the hint engine (substituted from the Deja fonts), so if hinting is by default off (eg. Firefox) then the output will show as a pair of '88' numerals.

For some idea of what OpenType alternatives allows, see the following video of Firefox developments in progress:

Design process

noHO The four Latin characters, 'n o H O' helped to define a guide for around 80-percent of the remaining characters.

Extensive manual hinting has been performed for rendered sizes below 60 pixels-per-em.

Software tools

Dalton Maag are using the following tools:

  • Fontlab Studio

  • Microsoft Visual Truetype (VTT)
  • In-house Python-based accent placement scripts

In Ubuntu:

  • Gucharmap (Applications ▸ Accessories ▸ Character Map)
  • fontmatrix (apt-get install fontmatrix)

  • FontForge (apt-get install fontforge)

  • open font design toolkit (apt-get install open-font-design-toolkit)

Ubuntu Font Family (last edited 2013-09-10 10:30:35 by fitoschido)