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CraftingType workshopsHow typography can give your brand personality | Typography | Page 2 | Creative Bloq

CraftingType workshopsMonotype type designer Dan Rhatigan on his type tattoos (9 of...



Monotype type designer Dan Rhatigan on his type tattoos (9 of 9)

The Crafting Type workshop is coming to these cities soon:

Portland, March 27, 28, 29 →

Boston, April 17, 18, 19 →

Learn more at craftingtype.com

CraftingType workshopsMonotype type designer Dan Rhatigan on the day to day of a type...



Monotype type designer Dan Rhatigan on the day to day of a type designer at Monotype (8 of 9)

The Crafting Type workshop is coming to these cities soon:

Portland, March 27, 28, 29 →

Boston, April 17, 18, 19 →

Learn more at craftingtype.com

Pravin SatputeMy activities at FOSSASIA 2015

This blog in continuation to my earlier blog on "FOSSASIA 2015 Highlights noticed by me"

Group Photo

Talk on Glibc Unicode 7 update:

        Glibc is an important component of operating systems. Recently we upgraded Glibc Unicode support from 5.1 to 7.0. This was major update after 4-5 years. It usually remains unnoticed, i wanted to highlight. Even though i work for redhat still it took around 7-8 month to get patch finally in glibc upstream. Around 25-30 audience was there in talk and it was well taken. Slides for my talks are available at slideshare.

Fedora:

        We kept Fedora DVD's and stickers At Red Hat booth. Was at booth 2-3pm first day and distributed dvd's to attendees. Also got a chance to meet Harish, Izhar, Prima Yogi, Aditya patawari, and Kushal. I proposed Fedora badge for people attending fossasia and asked participant to add name in piratepad.  Unfortunately it got rejected due to not planned in advance :(


        Fedora Breakout session. This was planned by Praveen Kumar, we gathered there, not many attendees were there but we got a chance to interact with "Hamara Linux" representative Aarti Dwivedi and Samyak Datta,LifeNectar explained them regarding Fedora, Fedora.Next and also on widely used Fedora remixes.

FUDCon APAC 2015:

        Being one of the member of organizing committee thought its good time to discuss on FUDCon APAC 2015 with people mostly participate remotely. We planned BoF, decided to do it in lunch time since most of the time people were busy doing other stuff. Updated group on number of papers received, planning happened till date, BarCamp style track, lightening talks.


Represented Red Hat Globalization team:

        Working in this domain almost 8+years and worked on almost all complex scripts including Indic, Arabic.  APAC is more characterized by non-english speaking countries and fossasia was the perfect place to interact with users for globalization needs. Interacted with couple of people for what languages they used on Fedora.


I attended almost all talks in OpenTech track and provided feedback to speakers. Had a good time interacting with most of the attendees over the lunch, socializing events. We had a nice hangout of brewerkz with Anish, Kushal, Praveen Kumar, Lennart Poettering and Rémi Denis-Courmont. 

Thank you fossasia organizers Hong Phuc Dang, Mario Behling, Harish Pillay, Roland Turner, Justin Lee and Darwin Gosal looking forward to attend next year as well. :)

CraftingType workshopsMonotype type designer Dan Rhatigan on the elements of type...



Monotype type designer Dan Rhatigan on the elements of type design (7 of 9)

The Crafting Type workshop is coming to these cities soon:

Portland, March 27, 28, 29 →

Boston, April 17, 18, 19 →

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Pravin SatputeLohit Devanagari 2.95.1 release

Done with 2.95.1 release. This release in continuation with 2.95.0 release, basically to resolves issues raised in it ;)

Noticed issue while Fedora 22 testing from Bhushan. While analyzing it found it is due to autohinting in Lohit fontconfig file.

We are now using ttfautohint while building ttf file and on this hinted font again using autohint. This does not working very nice as reported in bugzilla.

From bug #1203996
There was couple of more issues i noticed on Fedora 22. These all are fixed now. Soon building 2.95.1 version for Fedora 22. Will be available in Fedora 22 Beta release.

Announced in lohit-devel list
 

CraftingType workshopsMonotype type designer Dan Rhatigan on what brands want from...



Monotype type designer Dan Rhatigan on what brands want from fonts (6 of 9)

The Crafting Type workshop is coming to these cities soon:

Portland, March 27, 28, 29 →

Boston, April 17, 18, 19 →

Learn more at craftingtype.com

Jakub SteinerHigh Contrast Refresh

One of the major visual updates of the 3.16 release is the high contrast accessible theme. Both the shell and the toolkit have received attention in the HC department. One noteworthy aspect of the theme is the icons. To guarantee some decent amount of contrast of an icon against any background, back in GNOME 2 days, we solved it by “double stroking” every shape. The term double stroke comes from a special case, when a shape that was open, having only an outline, would get an additional inverted color outline. Most of the time it was a white outline of a black silhouette though.

Fuzzy doublestroke PNGs of the old HC theme

In the new world, we actually treat icons the same way we treat text. We can adjust the best contrast by controlling the color at runtime. We do this the same way we’ve done it for symbolic icons, using and embedded CSS stylesheet inside SVG icons. And in fact we are using the very same symbolic icons for the HC variant. You would be right arguing that there are specific needs for high contrast, but in reality majority of the double stroked icons in HC have already been direct conversions of their symbolic counterparts.

Crisp recolorable SVGs of the post 3.16 world

While centralized theme that overrides all application never seemed like a good idea, as the application icon is part of its identity and should be distributed and maintained alongside the actual app, the process to create a high contrast variant of an icon was extremely cumbersome and required quite a bit of effort. With the changes in place for both the toolkit and the shell, it’s far more reasonable to mandate applications to include a symbolic/high contrast variant of its app icon now. I’ll be spending my time transforming the existing double stroke assets into symbolic, but if you are an application author, please look into providing a scalable stencil variant of your app icon as well. Thank you!

CraftingType workshopsMonotype type designer Dan Rhatigan on web & screen fonts (5...



Monotype type designer Dan Rhatigan on web & screen fonts (5 of 9)

The Crafting Type workshop is coming to these cities soon:

Portland, March 27, 28, 29 →

Boston, April 17, 18, 19 →

Learn more at craftingtype.com

CraftingType workshopsMonotype type designer Dan Rhatigan on font shelf-life (4 of...



Monotype type designer Dan Rhatigan on font shelf-life (4 of 9)

The Crafting Type workshop is coming to these cities soon:

Portland, March 27, 28, 29 →

Boston, April 17, 18, 19 →

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CraftingType workshopsMonotype type designer Dan Rhatigan on making a typeface for...



Monotype type designer Dan Rhatigan on making a typeface for Dominos Pizza (3 of 9)

The Crafting Type workshop is coming to these cities soon:

Portland, March 27, 28, 29 →

Boston, April 17, 18, 19 →

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CraftingType workshopsMonotype type designer Dan Rhatigan, spotting type in use (2 of...



Monotype type designer Dan Rhatigan, spotting type in use (2 of 9)

The Crafting Type workshop is coming to these cities soon:

Portland, March 27, 28, 29 →

Boston, April 17, 18, 19 →

Learn more at craftingtype.com

CraftingType workshopsWomen in Type Design

CraftingType workshopsMonotype type designer Dan Rhatigan on his typical day (1 of...



Monotype type designer Dan Rhatigan on his typical day (1 of 9)

The Crafting Type workshop is coming to these cities soon:

Portland, March 27, 28, 29 →

Boston, April 17, 18, 19 →

Learn more at craftingtype.com

OSP (Open Source Publishing)HTML sauce cocktail

We just finished a great workshop week @HEAR Strasbourg on the topic of printing HTML. Printing HTML is not a new idea, but in the last few years we’ve been compiling sets of tools and scripts to properly use HTML as a base for proper layout. This idea has taken on several flavors over different […]

Pravin SatputeFOSSASIA 2015 Highlights noticed by me

This blog i am writing specifically to point out some good points i noticed during the fossasia 2015 conference. Feel free to add missing in comments section :)

  1. Awesome location Singapore !! I am sure no one will object :)
  2. On the first day Tweets were displayed in the hall. Fossasia is not one who started it. But this was the my first conference where i saw it. It is good thing where audience can share what going in there mind w.r.t. ongoing talk  with other audience. It was also motivating audience to tweets, so good trick to make audience active ;)
  3. It was good first day with no parallel talks. I liked the approach, starting parallel tracks from day first sometime start splitting audience. Talks on first day were more generic. People also got a chance to know, how many people around and started planning hacking activity for coming days.
  4. Talk from Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister of Singapore was well taken by audience. Very few such ministers around who understand technology so well.  
  5. All food vessels at the lunch counter got empty in some time. It proves how tasty the food was. :)
  6. Second day started with 5 parallel tracks. OpenTech, Web Technologies, Python, Mozilla and DevOps. I attended almost all talks in OpenTech Track. Even though there was 5 tracks each track got sufficient audience. 
  7. Before lunch we took group photo. It was fun, whenever we were thinking all are in now, one new batch of people were joining and then again trying to accommodate all frame. Thanks to Michael Cannon for photo.
  8. One of the good points was almost all domains people were present. Even we had some talks related to Open Source in Healthcare AutistConnect, LifeNectar and OpenMRS.
  9. Lightening talks generally does not get scheduled but in fossasia those were scheduled. I will say it as a good move. First it gave speakers recognition and also might have given them chance to get funding for conference. Second since it was scheduled it happened in well planned manner. Some audience missed few talks due to minor schedule change in lightening talks. Still i will say lightening talks made good impact. Specifically it worked like person introduced his topic and requested audience to join breakout session for further discussions.
  10. Plenty of rooms were available for breakout sessions.
  11. Each day was followed by some social event. Going to remember social event at Labrador park seaside Singapore BBQ definitely for some more time. Did not attended other days social event since some other plans.
  12. I think due to huge success of fossasia2015 organizers decided to choose same location for next year fossasia as well.
  13. Number of booths were available, Dron demonstration was also interesting. Mozilla, MySql, 3D printer, Red Hat.
I had almost dropped my plan to attend conference, thanks to Harish. He gave opportunity to attend conference the conference. I am going to write one more blog on my activities at fossasia, it will be bit bigger than this, Stay tuned :)

CraftingType workshopsVideo: Talking Design Giving and receiving type design feedback...



Video: Talking Design Giving and receiving type design feedback with Prof Gerry Leonidas

Ben MartinGoogle Breakpad and the post crash experience

Google Breakpad has many components to it, but at the basic level it lets you capture information at the time a crash occurs and upload that to the net. A really cute part of Breakpad is that the binary doesn't need to have the debug symbols in it, you don't even need to have them on the client machine at any location. When you build version $githash then you use a breakpad tool to copy out the debug symbols into separate files. When the user discovers a crash they upload a minidump file to a server of your selecting. Then you can combine the extracted symbols from build time and the minidump file to generate a backtrace with line number information. So software users don't have to know about gdb or lldb or whatnot and how to make a backtrace and where to paste it.



I recently updated FontForge's use of breakpad to use a small server on localhost to report the bug. The application dmg file for fontforge will soon also include the extracted symbols for the build. By telling breakpad to use a local server, that server can lookup the symbols that are shipped and generate a human readable backtrace with line number information. Because its also a web interface and running locally, it can spawn a browser on itself. So instead of getting the Mac dialog supplied by the osx crash reporter app telling you that there was a crash, you get a web page telling you the same thing. But the web page can use jQuery/Bootstrap (or $ui tool of choice) and ask what the user was doing and offer many ways to proceed from there depending on how the user wants to report things. The https://gist.github.com/ site can be used to report without any login or user accounts. It's also rather handy as a place to checking larger backtraces that might be, maybe, 50-100kb.

But once you can upload to gist, you can get a http and other URL links to the new gist. So it makes sense from there to offer to make a new github issue for the user too. And in that new issue include the link to the gist page so that developers can get at the full backtrace. It turns out that you can do this last part, which requires user login to github, by redirecting to github/.../issues/new and passing title and body GET parameters. While there is a github API, to report a new issue using it you would need to do OAuth first. But in the libre world it's not so simple to have a location to store the OAuth secure token for next time around. So the GET redirect trick nicely gets around that situation.


For those interested in this, the gist upload and callback to subsequently make a github issue are both available. The Google Breakpad hands over the minidump to a POST method which then massages the minidump into the backtrace and spawns a browser on itself. The GET serves up all the html, css, js, and other assets to the browser and that served html/js is what I link to at the start of the paragraph which is where the actual upload/reporting of the backtrace takes place.

The only thing left to do is to respond to the backtraces that come in and everybody gets a more stable FontForge out of the deal. It might be interesting to send off reports to a Socorro server too so that statistics month on month can be easily available.

Jakub SteinerAudi Quattro

Winter is definitelly losing its battle and last weekend we had some fun filming with my new folding Xu Gong v2 quad.

Audi Quattro from jimmac on Vimeo.

OSP (Open Source Publishing)Conférence @ HEAR Strasbourg

Ramène ta fraise! We’re currently giving a html2print workshop @HEAR in Strasbourg that we’re punctuating with a conference presentation of OSP’s work tomorrow evening in the main hall @18:00. Come on over, ramène ta fraise! Results of the html2print workshop on their way and in construction, for now know that we’re reactivated automatic frog so […]

Pravin SatputeTomorrow (9th March) is last day to submit papers (talk, workshop and hackfests) for FUDCon APAC 2015

    Just thought good to write this small blog as a reminder for deadline for CFP submission [1]. We opened up CFP on 9th Feb, its almost one month before closing CFP tomorrow.
    As of now we have got an excellent response from community from paper submission perspective. Still one day to go. From my personnel experience i know lots of submissions happen on last day :)  Expecting few more on last day. Just make sure to think select appropriate category for your sessions. If not sure, go ahead and submit abstract, during screening will try to suggest suitable category.


    We had around 4 weekly meeting during CFP open time and lots of things happened. Some points includes
    1. Logo finalization.
    2. CFP for flyers.
    3. Fedora 21 release party at Venue. [2]
    4. Code of Conduct for conference. [3]
    5. Lots of decision from conference arrangement perspective. Including Food, FedPub and Speakers accommodation.
    6. fudcon.in site improvements.
    7. Reached lots of organization with CFP details.
    These are only few which i remembered, for more details go through piratepad

   

1. http://fudcon.in/call-paper
2. http://pravin-s.blogspot.in/2015/02/points-on-fedora-21-release-party-at.html
3. http://fudcon.in/code-of-conduct

OSP (Open Source Publishing)Laidout

Tom Lechner Our description of the first encounter we had with Tom would probably be similar to the one of any of the two hundred people, sitting in the audience of the Libre Graphics Meeting in Brussels, back in May 2010.   The Libre Graphics Meeting is an annual meeting for users and developers of […]

Understanding Fonts (Dave Crossland and friends)What are the most important things the software freedom movement can do for itself?

On 2015-01-10 I responded to the FSF’s call for feedback on their ‘High Priority Projects List’ with an email, which I’ve added a bit more to and posted here.

The call goes like this:

we’re looking for projects of great strategic importance to the goal of freedom for all computer users … not every project of great strategic importance to the goal of freedom for all computer users will be a software development project. If you believe other forms of activism, internal or external (e.g., making free software communities safe for diverse participants, mandating use of free software in the public sector), are most crucial, please make the case and suggest such a project!

I believe the biggest strategic mistake the GNU project has made in its 30 years is to shirk away from supporting and promoting projects that pay full time labor wages for the development of free software, without compromising and also distributing some non-free software.

Just as “the future is here but its not evenly distributed,” there are some people in the software freedom movement who have financial skills to complement their technical skills, but while the software freedom movement is having great success at distributing technical knowledge about how to use and develop free software, it is having great failure at distributing such financial knowledge.

But we can fix this.

At many of the public speaking engagements by RMS that I have attended, and in my own experiences as a public speaker presenting software freedom, the first question from the audience is,

“I understand the ethical issue of software freedom, but how can I earn a living developing free software?”

This is often asked first, and is often asked repeatedly. Both have happened to me when the focus of the presentation was on this topic; I believe many people’s default assumption, their deeply held belief, is that it is not possible.

Demonstrating unequivocally that it is possible, that many people do it, but you just haven’t heard about them, is, I believe, the most important strategic improvement the movement can make.

At RMS’ presentations, his reply will vary by the phrasing of the question and his mood, from a brusque

“This is an irrelevancy, your freedom matters more than your rent check”

to

“Many companies develop free software, take an employee job at one of them”

to

“You can charge for development services, support services, branded goods, or other complementary goods.”

I believe he is shy of this because attempts to develop free software commercially are usually attempts to develop free software for profit, and that often leads to proprietary software.

For example, the first piece of commercially developed free software was GhostScript. The GNU project started in 1983, and in late 1986, following RMS’s suggestion https://web.archive.org/web/20041013082602/http://devlinux.org/deutsch-interview.html L Peter Deutch began developing GhostScript as an evening-and-weekends hobby project while working for proprietary software development company https://www.gnu.org/bulletins/bull3.html; the year of Adobe’s IPO. Len Tower’s announcement of its inital release in the gnu.announce usenet group in 1988 https://groups.google.com/d/msg/gnu.announce/72qocYYvQng/opig0vreliAJ included a ‘doing business as’ alias for Peter, and he soon quit his day job to work on GhostScript full time.

Peter said,

“as the author of GhostScript, has done what very few people have managed to do: he has managed to work on a project of his choosing, to release it as free software, and to do so while generating a sufficiently positive cash flow that he can now consider retirement,” – https://web.archive.org/web/20041013082602/http://devlinux.org/deutsch-interview.html

And he has only done so by maintaining a single-party development organization that sold proprietary licenses to the latest version ‘Aladdin GhostScript'; he had a written agreement with RMS to always release a free version, which became ‘GNU GhostScript’, although the agreement didn’t say when.

This may have been the first time that commercial development of free software would go awry for the software freedom movement, but it would not be last.

Indeed, perhaps the default outcome of attempts to develop free software commercially is to distribute proprietary versions.

But there are some ‘success stories,’ some ‘case studies’ we can make of organizations that only distribute free software, that charge customers fees, and that pay people full-time wages to do so. This doesn’t necessarily mean for-profit companies, and it is something the FSF has done; indeed it seems this was one of the primary purposes of the FSF in the late 80s and early 90s, when all GNU projects were ‘high priority.’

In 1989 Cygnus Solutions was founded with capital saved from proprietary software development at SUN http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cygnus_Solutions. Some of the early marketing material is available from cofounder-investor John Gilmore http://www.toad.com/gnu/cygnus/ which offers insights into how to sell free software. While Cygnus eventually succumbed to distributing proprietary software, I mention it because of EGCS, the commercial fork of GCC v2 in 1997 https://gcc.gnu.org/news/announcement.html. That was the first time I know of that the multi-party, full-time-funded developers of a GNU program had accelerated development to point that unfunded leadership of GCC by GNU was untenable. While this was reportedly acrimonious at the time, eventually EGCS became the next major version of GCC.

I recommend that any GNU project or other free software project that is developed by multiple parties who pay developers full time wages is a high priority project – not for development support, but for promotion to show that it is possible to make free software full time.

My favorite contemporary example of this is https://guardianproject.info although I have not been in contact with those developers for a couple of years so I’m not sure how they are doing, but a few years ago I heard that they employed a small team of developers in NYC and paid them around US$100,000/year wages – which a starting salary in NYC or the Bay Area in 2015.

Videos like https://www.fsf.org/blogs/community/user-liberation-watch-and-share-our-new-video are incomplete without addressing this. I wish that the video will be edited to say that it is possible; that gas has to be put in the vehicles and pay for with money, and its possible to earn money by developing free software, and here’s examples of people who do it today and started back then and here’s a simple memorable slogan for the model.

Some people in the software freedom movement know how to set up their finances and how to set up organizations such that they can work on software freedom issues full time. Many people don’t. That’s what I mean with the “The future is here but its not evenly distributed” stuff.

RMS is naturally the first person to have done this. First, his lifestyle is an early example of the ‘early retirement extreme’ – http://earlyretirementextreme.com/ – model, where you (a) avoid having children and possessions and cut your spending and (b) save a lot of a regular salary until you have enough savings to generate enough interest that you can stop working and live this extremely low-budget lifestyle indefinitely. Second, he set up the FSF (which doesn’t pay him a wage) to raise funds and page wages to developers to develop high priority projects.

There are some active free software projects today which have attracted venture capitalist funding. What’s the diff between what typical proprietary software founders must do and what the founders of these commercially developed free software projects do?

I believe this improvement has direct practical benefits for the movement. The biggest category of ‘missing’ free software I see is end-user applications with pleasant user experiences; this video says something about free software being invisibly ubiquitous, but that is because a lot of free software is developed for computer industry companies and very little free software is developed for end-users.

I believe that many developers grow up loving the principle of software freedom, but after graduating find employment with proprietary software developers because they do not know how to earn a living developing free software.

I believe that it is strategic to spread the understanding of how to earn money developing free software, from the scale of an individual sole proprietorship to that of a multinational corporation.

I propose that what success looks like here is when this knowledge is as widespread as that of how to license software freely, or, indeed, how to write programs that run only on free software. (I remember a time when most developers did not, and I’d like to think that the situation is now flipped and there are not many developers left today who do not know any free systems…)

I wish there was an active free software job market website. There was a project within GNU to make a job site software for this, mentioned at http://lwn.net/Articles/216075/ nearly 10 years ago, but it was abandoned.

There are ‘per issue’ funding sites, like https://freedomsponsors.org/ and https://www.bountysource.com/ – but these (so far) don’t raise a full time wage; also https://gratipay.com is worth mentioning which is the inverse, where you pay someone for nothing in particular except you like what they do and want to send them a tip.

The most well known model for funding projects is now the ‘street performer protocol’, thanks to the http://www.Kickstarter.com business. But this protocol is from a game-theory or economic-math model point of view not ideal for funding projects that create non-rival goods: it suffers an inherent free rider problem… “why not just bookmark the project and have everyone else pledge and come back after its funded and fetch a copy?”

To overcome this, http://www.Fund-io.com seems interesting, although its base format is not FSF-approvable because it involves a period of time where copying is monopolised, it does have a subscription format that might work for uncompromisingly for free culture projects. A similarly motivated response is the http://www.snowdrift.coop model, and that is actually an active project.

However, I’m skeptical of the snowdrift.coop implementation of the model, because I think its core messaging and framing is too stringent, and implicitly and explicitly it requires people to share values other than software freedom. That is itself something that happens often, and I think drives people away. A concrete example is http://libreboot.org/github/, which I read as saying “The opinions expressed by [an open source developer] are incompatible with those of [the FSF]. Users and developers of free software are strongly advised not to use [his #1 worldwide most popular source code hosting service] for any of their projects.” I think this is not a positive attitude and does not help advance the cause of software freedom; I think a better response is to ask, how can we use this source code hosting service using only free software? And then to write what doesn’t exist yet. Also, both snowdrift and libreboot folks will be at libreplanet, so I hope to discuss these ideas there in person : )

I wonder that the FSF could certify projects in a similar way to hardware; certifying that they only publish all their work under an appropriately free license, and additionally certifying that people involved in the project make free software full time. The FSF’s first organization would be the FSF itself, so its clear that it isn’t asking anyone to do anything which it doesn’t do itself. However, I fear that this could risk further diluting the FSF message but implicitly and explicitly requiring people to share values other than software freedom.

I have a memory from a long time ago (2004) that I asked RMS about marketing, and he said something like, the FSF doesn’t do marketing, because marketing is a euphemism for lying, and it is what for-profit companies do, and it harms society, so he won’t have the FSF do it. The FSF now has campaigns managers, and I think they could learn to be more effective if they studied (and the FSF hired people with experience in) for-profit marketing and advertising management for tactics to use for the not-marketing the FSF does.

So, finally, my best practical recommendation is that the FSF put projects on the HPP list that enable anyone to run a small business using only free software. Software to run a business that enables a young hacker and their friends to develop free software full-time. Accounting software like http://gnucash.org and http://sfconservancy.org/npoacct/ seems like a start. Billing software. Direct marketing software. Customer support software. Whatever fits the narrative.

The 2nd big category of questions I am asked about the software freedom movement is about its inherent hypocrisy, when most people are not actually running a 100% free software system despite 30 years of trying. This makes it seem like a impossible utopian project which has already failed and its just crazies hanging on to keep the dream alive. When actually, we have real progress on this front – certainly since the last time I attended Libre Planet in 2011. In 2015 you can say “I run 100% free software on this hardware” by paying a modest fee for a X200 – http://shop.gluglug.org.uk/product/libreboot-x200/ – and I have high hopes for https://www.crowdsupply.com/purism/librem-laptop .

I wonder that in the 5-10 year time frame, a similar project to Librem for a phone could be possible. https://hsivonen.fi/phone-freedom/ makes a good case for what practical steps the movement must take to make the software platform for such a phone to be useful in a way compatible with the GNU manifesto’s vision; the current era of ubiquitous high speed internet and hand held computers that can make phonecalls could not be foreseen in 1983, but the ideas are strong and I think will carry through.


Whew. Since then a friend on the FSF’s HPP Review Board mentioned that a handful of other HPP opinion pieces have also been blogged so far, and asked me to post the above publicly, so here we are.

Also a friend who was a GNU contributor in the past wrote of the initial version of the above:

QUOTE STARTS

I still say there is an economic role in waiting for small businesses that serve between 2 and 50,000 customers. These businesses would be the suppliers of trusted installs to their customers. Roughly speaking, these small businesses would replace corporate “app stores”.

There is a natural scarcity of trusted-to-download-and-run software. You don’t run binaries from just anyone, so to speak.

Corporate proprietary software types compete to eliminate the natural scarcity of trusted-to-download-and-run software. For example, Apple competes to make its costs-per-download from their app store close to $0. They want the store — everything from vetting apps for placement in the market to actually delivering and activating an app — to be as automated as possible. To cost nearly nothing. Then when they divide up the $0.99 price of an app, most of it is profit (for them).

They do a bad job. They have to do a bad job. They create a massive single point of failure for society. They also can’t “curate” the collection of software with any real concern for customer needs and interests. Also, they can’t keep that shit safe — it is a series of IT disasters waiting to happen. So they do a bad job.

The small-provider model is more robust. Instead of one mega app store there’s many small ones and so automation is less critical. Single-points-of-failure are at least reduced. There is competition for how to curate the software collection.

Now on the one hand that cottage-industry approach sounds like something the right hustlers could do today, given a little inventory. I’m not sure what the right HW to support would be. I’m not sure what free software to support. But I would guess there are niches that could grow.

Any brave hustlers doing that would probably be drawing off debian or something close to it but that isn’t going to be a generalizable or high quality solution for the long run.

Therefore (I am thinking) if there were some of these small guys starting up anyway and if they are smart and serious about this that this would create an opportunity to begin to think about how to turn them into a kind of syndicate. On one level they compete to dominate “service areas” of 1..50K customers. On another level they collaborate to keep the supply of trustworthy and quality software coming.

This raises the question of what forms that collaboration takes.

One form might be for these small providers to pool revenues to create something akin to royalties.

Schematic example: I have a libre phone (let’s imagine). I have a libre software supplier for that phone — a local small business. I pay some subscription fee and I can download apps from the library. My phone’s software supplier voluntarily pays out some of my subscription fee as “royalties” on stuff in the download library.

Given the potential existence of these “royalties” I hand-wavingly say that there-in lies the answer to software with a high quality user experience. In this system I have described people will, much more than with existing proprietary systems, be able to reward quality with their pocketbooks.

I don’t know how to bootstrap it. I like your mention of GNU Cash as a possible priority, in that regard.

END QUOTE

Later on 2015-02-06 I sent a second email to HPP, and this version is slightly edited:

I just came across http://www.propublica.org/article/the-worlds-email-encryption-software-relies-on-one-guy-who-is-going-broke is a great article that specifically mentions RMS lectures having a material impact on the software freedom movement – and it is his lectures that led me to spend the last 8 years working on libre fonts – and that shows the lectures ought to spread the idea that you can uncompromisingly develop libre software and raise a living wage for yourself by doing so.

In 1997, Koch attended a talk by free software evangelist Richard Stallman, who was visiting Germany. Stallman urged the crowd to write their own version of PGP. “We can’t export it, but if you write it, we can import it,” he said. … [ 2 German government grants funded the work full time ] … But in 2010, the funding ran out.

For almost two years, Koch continued to pay his programmer in the hope that he could find more funding. “But nothing came,” Koch recalled. So, in August 2012, he had to let the programmer go. By summer 2013, Koch was himself ready to quit.

This is as fine an example of the pervasive, general lack of understanding about how to raise salary amounts of money to pay developers to work on free software full time as I could imagine; it proves that it is possible, that our community can do it, but that we don’t understand how to do it reliably.

Fortunately in this case, some ‘Rich Uncles’ have stepped in to fund Werner for the next year, because of the publicity the article raised, it seems — but the problem of funding a usable GnuPG looms:

“Looking forward, however, I think of GPG as a glorious experiment that has run its course. The journalists who depend on it struggle with it and often mess up (“I send you the private key to communicate privately, right?”), the activists who use it do so relatively sparingly (“wait, this thing wants my finger print?”), and no other sane person is willing to use it by default. Even the projects that attempt to use it as a dependency struggle. These are deep structural problems. GPG isn’t the thing that’s going to take us to ubiquitous end to end encryption, and if it were, it’d be kind of a shame to finally get there with 1990’s cryptography. If there’s any good news, it’s that GPG’s minimal install base means we aren’t locked in to this madness, and can start fresh with a different design philosophy. When we do, let’s use GPG as a warning for our new experiments, and remember that “innovation is saying ‘no’ to 1000 things.” – http://www.thoughtcrime.org/blog/gpg-and-me/

“Any solution that isn’t easy to use and easy to understand is a poor solution. And GPG is neither.” – http://daringfireball.net/linked/2015/02/26/moxie-marlinspike-gpg

But after the Snowden news broke, Koch decided to launch a fundraising campaign. He set up an appeal at a crowdsourcing website, made t-shirts and stickers to give to donors, and advertised it on his website. In the end, he earned just $21,000.

Perhaps with a better model like http://www.fund-io.com or http://www.snowdrift.coop the results could have been higher, but really the problem is a lack of understanding the craft of the salesperson.

The campaign gave Koch, who has an 8-year-old daughter and a wife who isn’t working, some breathing room. But when I asked him what he will do when the current batch of money runs out, he shrugged and said he prefers not to think about it “I’m very glad that there is money for the next three months,” Koch said. “Really I am better at programming than this business stuff.”

The business stuff isn’t more difficult. Its just more obscure. Here’s a book I enjoyed on the topic:

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=The-Secret-of-Selling-Anything.pdf


And finally, since you read all this way to the end, here is a copy of my 2008 MA dissertation on the history of the software freedom movement (I think this is pretty solid), how that relates to typography (I think this part is… okay), and some of the ideas I had about what I intended to do about it after I graduated (I think this part is rushed, and lacks my best thinking at the time, which has since evolved…) Here’s the file: dave_crossland_matd2008_dissertation.pdf

Pravin SatputePoints on Fedora 21 release party AT MIT COE pune on 21st Feb 2015

Celebrating Fedora 21 on 21st Feb 2015, last one we did on 21st Dec 2014 :)

Fedora 21 is in itself special release due to Fedora.Next initiative, after merging Fedora core with extra this one is major step moving into future. Fedora 21 is also one special release for India, i do not remember if we had any release party for Fedora 20 in India, please correct if i missed anyone. But for Fedora 21 it is going on and on !!

This was the 3rd release party of Fedora 21 in which i took part. Thanks to Praveen Kumar for initiating this release party. Unfortunately he was away for some personnel work but Rupali came up to help with the organization.

Planned agenda for this meet in quick time with team. We were expecting major chunk of audience from MIT COE itself. Later took permission from MIT COE and decided to open up this for community and started spreading message around.

Shatadru designed nice FLYERS for this release party from the artwork available from Fedora artwork team.



MIT COE is bit far for most of the people staying around Magarpatta city, still we managed to be there in time. Mine talk was first at 10:30 reached there at sharp 10:25 :)

There was one more reason behind this release party was to do preparation for FUDCon happening in 26-28 Jun 2015. See the facility talk with professors, discuss with students educate them on Fedora and clear the doubts.

Me impressed lot with MIT COE campus and it is really live campus. On F21 release party there was already couple of events were going on, students were really busy managing and participating into it. We saw there one stall specifically for Linux quiz.

Due to these other event initially we got very few audience for release party. So we started bit late around 11pm. Later few more students joined. Overall i am happy with the audience since they were few but all were truly interested in event.

There was 3 talks were planned Mine (introduction), Anish (Workstation) and Parag (How to contribute to Fedora) and Later panel discussions.  

During my talk i asked everyone to introduce themselves and inform what they are expecting. There were interesting topics those came up.
  1. Difference between Fedora and Ubuntu?
  2. Why should i go for Fedora?
  3. What is FUDCon?
  4. How can we participate in FUDCon
  5. What about Embedded systems and Fedora?
Since we were planning for Panel discussion, we thought that will be good time to answer most of the questions.

I did my talk well in time, slides of talk available At slideshare [1]

Then Anish explained about Workstation product feature and target audience for it. Anish also helped audience for better understanding of Free Software and opensource software philosophy. It was good since in F21 release party At Mumbai we found that few people were not clear behind Free software philosophy.

Then Parag talked on How to contribute into Fedora, he explained lots of area's where one can get involved.
 At the end of Parag's talk we made transition from Talk to Panel with Amit and Siddhesh took the lead and later everyone contributed including me, Niranjan, Parag, Rupali and Anish. Panel discussion was awesome and Amit and Siddhesh kept on talking for long and discussed on number of topics. Then we understood that we can keep on talking on Fedora for whole day without break ;) 
 Decided to conclude in panel discussion and start actual celebration with cake cutting. Cake arrived on time with Samosa snacks and TEA :)

We decided to do few more events like Workshop in MIT before the FUDCon 2015. Had meeting with MIT COE principle for FUDCon planning which only some of us attended.
  



Thought its already big blog,i might have missed few things and few names, so feel free to add them in comments :)    

1. http://www.slideshare.net/pravinds/introduction-to-fedora-project-and-fedoranext
2. https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Release_Party_F21_Pune

Nicolas Spalinger (advogato diary)25 Feb 2015

Libre Graphics Magazine issue on fonts

Go check out the latest edition of the Libre Graphics Magazine.

The issue (2.3) is about type, libre/open fonts and related topics from the perspective of a fairly wide selection of authors.

Go ahead: preview, buy, subscribe :-)

CraftingType workshopsCT: Hong Kong Early Bird Discount @ 10% for 7 more days

For the upcoming Hong Kong workshop, we are offering a 10% discount for all registration types for another 7 days (until Feb 27th)

 Register today

Pravin SatputeUpdates on Second FudCon 2015 planning meeting

If you still not aware what happened in first meeting. Do go through Praveen Kumars blogpost  [1]

Almost all members available in last meeting were present today as well. It shows there commitment for volunteering and making Fudcon 2015 successful. I am happy and appreciate that.  Few members traveling to devconf tonight still they were present and contributed lot including Amita, Anisha, Huzaifa and Siddharth. Amit was on IRC (From Bruno) and Siddhesh on IRC+Phone.

After the lots of suggestions on fedora-india mailing list [3], in this meeting we decided to have remote participation possible via phone.

I was taking minutes today and it was difficult since lots of things were getting discussed very fastly. Please excuse me if i missed some :)

Agenda was as follows: 
  • Website 
    • http://fudcon.in website up
    • Finalize CfP text  http://piratepad.net/YaC3hNcOZ8
    • Graphics status update?
    • Praveen K and Siddhesh now know Drupal a bit, so will own the website
    • amit can contribute in 2 weeks from now
    • More volunteers/mockups welcome!
    • SSL support?  Asked Saleem about it    
  • Accommodation 
    • We negotiated good rates with Cocoon (INR 3000 + taxes)
    • Double-occupancy, Free wifi, breakfast
  • Travel updates? 
  • Marketing 
    • Fedora magazine
    • LinkedIn group
      • https://www.linkedin.com/groups/FUDCon-India-2015-8240994
    • Make a list of MLs to post the CfP to
    • also reach out to ambassadors in apac for confirmation / planning
    • Post CfP link to social media
    • Video update?
      • appear.in is good for sharing between a few people
    • fudcon.fedoraproject.org
      • will need some trac ticket?
  • Budget 
    • Make and maintain a publicly visible sheet to track expenses?
    • I think we should have a wiki where we export the sheet in use.  ethercalc lets anyone edit, which is not exactly ideal for a budget-tracking sheet.  For people interested in handling budget, just contact the owner for budget acc. to the wiki
    • publicly visible, not editable :) So wiki would be fine


Minutes are as follows: (Bit long)
  • http://fudcon.in/ up now !!  (praveenk)
    • Presently using 2011 logo
    • Siddhesh was working on LOGO with suchakra.  https://fedorahosted.org/design-team/ticket/352
    • If logo taking time we will go for CFP without LOGO
    • (amit) +1 let's not wait for logo for cfp, cfp is more important for travel and budget reasons
  • Graphics requirement 
    • LOGO (may take one week)
    • BADGE (i am going to fudcon)
    • Image for slogan ("F for Freedom")
    • current one is F for Free, doesn't look right nor good.
    • Flyers for CFP (It should have QR-Code)
      • We need to create ticket for same. https://fedorahosted.org/design-team/ticket/353 (Shatadru) 
  • Once CFP is up we can use it for marketing. (Tweet, Facebook, Linkedin, google+)
  • Rough CFP draft @ http://piratepad.net/YaC3hNcOZ8 
    • It has two version one for email (bit smaller) and bit broader for web page.
    • Email version does not required guidelines.
    • We need to have different forms based on session (Talks, Workshop, Hackfest)
    • Can take this text for web for now.
    • Suggestion: We can have two drop-down (proficiency level and topics categories)
    • Prerequisite for attendees. (It can be optional). 
    • We have option to upload slide also. Or one can provide link as well.
    • Deadline for talk submission 1 month from announcement.
  • Marketing 
    • Speakers
      • Professionals
      • Fedora users
      • System Administrator
    • We can discuss with Kushal, Siddhesh
    • Amit's Fedora magazine post is still in pending stage
    • We need to list out all location where our CFP should go. 
    • Colleges (Shrink, Amita)
    • Organizations 
    • Opensource organization.
    • Please add org list here http://piratepad.net/FudCon-outreach-list  
    • For speakers we might be not need to go colleges. Mailing list will be sufficient.
    • Social media
    • Colleges list
    • CFP text to send on respective mailing list. All should have consistent text.
  • Volunteers 
    • One can add his name on https://www.piratepad.ca/p/FUDConPunePlanning-27-Jan-2015
    • Also good if he can ask on #fedora-india (Freenode) or  fedora-india mailing list.
  • Hotels 
    • Discussion with Cocoon hotel. (3000/night with Breakfast)
    • We can have BUS for speakers from Hotel to Venue
    • COEP has reached out to us and volunteered to help in whichever way they can.
  • FudPub 
    • 100  number of participants
    • Still looking for location. Should be mostly openspace.
    • Please update if any option for FudPub
  • Lunch 
    • Speakers, volunteers and faculty
    • It will be in college. College only support VEG
    • Lunch looking for around 150 people.
    • Once we will get speaker list and how many we need to pay.
  • Outreach: Reach colleges and use flyers. 
  • Mobile application 
    • lets get v0.1 of the app first with the features described. we can add to it then.
    • open source  way
    • Should be used in future as well
    • good to have it integrated with drupal (COD)
    • social wall, for live feeds
    • Feedback form (link it to every talk)
  • Budget 
    • At least presently not looking for any sponsor.
    • Will have better picture one we get speakers travel requirement.
  • Fedora 21 release party At FudCon venue (MIT) 
    • Date is not confirmed yet, but around 3-4 week of Feb
    • Interested people do join.

Ohh, that is really lot :) Above information is copied from piratepad for minutes [4] Formating from pad to blog was really pain :(

Let me end blog here. Please note most of the piratepad links are there. Feel free to update it with suggestions or one can always send suggestion on fedora-india mailing list or IRC #fedora-india.

Most of the people from organizing committee are traveling to Brno, Czech Republic for Devconf, so we will not have meeting next week. Hoping we will have CFP ready by this weekend.


1. http://kumar-pravin.blogspot.in/2015/01/first-fudcon-india-planning-meeting.html
2. http://www.devconf.cz/
3. https://lists.fedoraproject.org/pipermail/india/2015-January/005708.html
4. http://piratepad.net/fudcon-pune-planning-20150203

Eben SorkinThe updated free Merriweather is finally available from Font Squirrel

The updated Merriweather Serif is available to download from Font Squirrel. http://www.fontsquirrel.com/fonts/merriweather It hashas much improved screen rendering and support for Cyrillic; better Latin language support for Polish, Czech, Slovak, Hungarian, Azerbaijani and many others that had been missing before. … Continue reading

Ben Martinlibferris on osx

So libferris is now compiled and installed thanks to some of my handy work on Portfiles and macports doing the heavy lifting. I've put the Portfile into the distribution for many of the repositories; ferrisloki, ferrisstreams, stldb4, ferris, fampp2. And moved the source control over to the github -- https://github.com/monkeyiq/ferris

It's still a bit of a bumpy compile for ferris itself. Using clang instead of gcc, using the different stdc++ lib, the lack of some API calls on osx relative to Linux and the assumptions I'd made that IPC, advising the kernel on IO patterns, memory mapping and again advising on page patterns, would all be available APIs and contants. I have a patch from the compile which I need to feedback into the main libferris repo, making sure it still works fine on Linux too.

So now I can dig into xml files from the command line on osx too. I have to test out the more advanced stuff and the web services. The later use some of the 'Q' magic dust, qjson, qoauth, qtnetwork et al so they should be fairly robust after the port.

I should also update the primary file:// handler in libferris to use some of the osx apis for file monitoring etc to be a friendlier citizen on that platform. But going from no ferris on osx to some ferris is a great first move. A bundle would be the ultimate goal, /Applications/Ferris install in a single drag and drop.

Pravin SatputeLohit Odia 2.91.0 ready for testing under Lohit 2 project

   Started working on this in last month with Shilpa. When initial started working on this script, found it bit difficult. But Odia script is very similar with Devanagari and over the time found comfort with it.

   Shilpa did most of the work and i did verification and fixed few issues. One thing again i noticed during release is using of AFDKO. It is good and we should use AFDKO fully in Lohit project for better quality. Will see if we can do it in long term.

  For now regarding 2.91.0 release. Following are important points:

  • Followed Unicode specifications.
  • Re-writing all GSUB rules.
  • Open type rules are available in .fea file for easy re-usability.
  • Feature file compiled with AFDKO.
  • Supports 'orya' and 'ory2' opentype specifications tag.
  • Developer friendly glyphs names with AGL syntax format.
  • Corrected glyph class for all glyphs. 
  • Improved shape of ka-viramasignodia-taodia.
  • Added Glyph positioning rules for below based matras.
  • Test file available with release tarball.
  • Auto testing support with harfbuzz hb-shape.Tested with Harfbuzz and Uniscribe (W8 and XP)
   Update Lohit project page for information regarding download. During release i found few issues which are noted in TODO file. Will fix them before next release. If you find any issue do report on github. Also note TTF file available on my fedorapeople page.

   I remember in FUEL conference i got some improvement suggestions. Couple of them were related to adding Latin to Odia fonts. Presently dont have resource for same but looking forward to solve it in future.

  

CraftingType workshopsCrafting Type instructor Thomas Phinney takes you through 8...



Crafting Type instructor Thomas Phinney takes you through 8 optical corrections in this hour-long video tutorial, hosted by Fontlab

Pravin SatputeCompiling Lohit fonts feature file with Adobe Font Development Kit

This first came to notice with issue "OTM error #13". Everything was working perfectly with fontforge, creating feature file and importing feature file back :)

But certainly above issue open up number of issues with this process. Font designers were not able to import .fea file due to this issue.

Thanks to Dave and Frank for pointing to issue and directing me towards Adobe Font Development Kit (AFDKO). Adobe is the one created specification for .fea file and provided nice tools to compile it.  Most of the information already available AT http://www.adobe.com/devnet/opentype/afdko/topic_overview.html 

 This blog is specifically to update how i am using AFDKO in Lohit project.

Steps:
1. Write open type tables for Lohit fonts in Fontforge.
2. Export .fea file
3. Generate .ttf by importing .fea file to it using following commands.
4. makeotf -f Lohit-Tamil.ttf -ff Lohit-Tamil.fea

Makeotf is python wrapper over makeotfexe. makeotfexe can not process .ttf generated from fontforge. 
In first step makeotf convert .ttf provided to unix Type1 font.

It fails with error but it generates unix Type1 font required for makeotfexe.

What errors :)

  makeotf command pass following arguments to makeotfexe

  "makeotfexe "-f" "Lohit-Tamil.ttf.tmp" "-o" "Lohit-Tamil.ttf.temp_cff" -ff "Lohit-Tamil.fea" -ga -gf "Lohit-Tamil.ttf.temp.GOADB" -mf "FontMenuNameDB" -shw"

In above argument  "-ga -gf "Lohit-Tamil.ttf.temp.GOADB"  are not required but somehow automatically gets added by makeotf.

* We should replace -ga with -nga for not using GlyphOrderAndAliasDB. GlyphOrderAndAliasDB file is provided for ease of writing feature file.

* User can write feature file with user friendly names and use GlyphOrderAndAliasDB for adding name required as per standard.

* If one not using  GlyphOrderAndAliasDB, he should remove "-ga -gf "Lohit-Tamil.ttf.temp.GOADB"  and put -nga instead.

But makeotf done one good job of converting source font 'Lohit-Tamil.ttf' to temporary Unix Type1 font file 'Lohit-Tamil.ttf.tmp'

You will requires FontMenuDB file. Its content should be as per fonts. Font Lohit
[psatpute@dhcp201-194 bengali]$ cat FontMenuNameDB
[Lohit-Devanagari]
    f=Lohit Devanagari
    s=Regular
    l=Lohit Devanagari

5. run makeotfexe removing problem cuasing arguments.
 makeotfexe "-f" "Lohit-Tamil.ttf.tmp" "-o" "Lohit.ttf" -ff "Lohit-Tamil.fea" -nga -mf "FontMenuNameDB" -shw

And here get you Lohit.ttf build by adding .fea file with AFDKO.

Hope so it will help to some others as well.

I specifically found this very useful for finding issues in Lohit-Devanagari.fea files.

Pravin SatputeGet ready for FudCon 2015, its going to happen in Pune, India.

    Yes, its confirmed now. [1] Took long time though :)

    Excited for this. Recently we organized Fedora release party At Mumbai [3] and i found truly Fedora lover there. One word i said them most probably FudCon will happen in Pune this time and looking forward to see you all there. Its actually going to happen now and time for gathering together. With the power of collaboration and Free and open source technologies making Fedora better and better.

     I have attended FudCon 2011 but only as a speaker and attendee. This time i am one of the member of organizing team. I am sure things will go smother since number of members have experience of FudCon 2011 organization. [2]

    If you are interested in getting involved in FudCon 2015 activities do join fedora-Iindia mailing list and ask on #fedora-india @Freenode if any further queries.

  Cheers !!


1. https://lists.fedoraproject.org/pipermail/famsco/2015-January/001666.html
2. https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/FUDCon:Bid_for_Pune_2015
3. http://pravin-s.blogspot.in/2014/12/few-points-of-fedora-21-release-party.html

CraftingType workshopsQuora: How exactly do people create new fonts?

Quora: How exactly do people create new fonts?:

Answers include one by CT instructor Thomas Phinney, who will be leading the Portland and Chicago workshops that are just around the corner!

Understanding Fonts (Dave Crossland and friends)Liveblog Notes: On minimum quality in typeface design

These are live blog notes from the lecture by Gerry Leonidas at the 5th Encontro de Tipografia, Barcelos, Portugal, November 29, 2014.

Usual disclaimer for live blogging: These are informal notes taken by me, Dave Crossland, at the event, and may or may not be similar to what was said by the people who spoke on these topics. This is probably FULL of errors. What do you want for free? :) If something here is incorrect it is probably because I mistyped it or misunderstood, and if anyone wants corrections, just should tweet me – @davelab6 – or post a comment. Thanks!

[ Slides at https://speakerdeck.com/gerryleonidas/on-minimum-quality-in-typeface-design ]

We were talking about industry yesterday [the usual libre font fight – dc] and we had a good discussion. I thought of the car industry in the 60s and 70s. This Renault was a hatchback. This renault was a joke, badly powered, badly made, and none survive. They did the Citroen na, a rust bucket too. But they also did this, the most interesting car in Europe.

An industry that makes really good and really bad quality things is unfortunate. We all want a minimum level of quality in things. What is the minimum level we can achieve in type? That is something we can all work towards. We can not always makes works of genius, but things that are good enough.

For European cars this has happened… Reviews, magazines that look at things, standardisation, collaboration… You can buy a car now and it will not be terrible. It will be good enough.

Lets consider 3 key ideas and some extensions to them.

  1. Industry and ownership.

  2. Value and visibility of it

  3. Information and quality, to judge it by

Then trends, genres, and creativity, and an intent to act.

We touched on this in the panel discussion. This is the manchester drawing office of Linotype in the 40s. The people there are little cogs in a big gear. This is Joana’s desk; could be anyone, anywhere. There are no longer limits on the supply of type.

The early DTP equipment was expensive by today’s standards. The printer was thousands of euros. The drawings people made were a lot of work, a lot of decisions, and they kept some memory of the process. They were the output of a highly organized process. This contains a lot of value; the company sees this as a product to print books and magazine with, and that is one part of the nature of typeface; what a typeface is.

This is Victorian technology: High Victorian technology that lasted a very long time. It relied on centralised machines. They are glorified lego pieces, they are merely machines and you could understand how they worked and fix them.

In the 20th century, the technology became opaque, first as electronics and then as computers. The machine may not have any connection to the way you use it. Who really understands how my intentions translate into the machine? We have a different world, we operate in abstractions… but the old ways determine the language we use. That drawing from the 40s is an outline contour, and its no coincidence that this drawing in a computer it also an outline contour.

The pace of change in the type industry in the late 80s was astonishing. In old company the board rooms minutes and ATypI records you can see plans for growth, for development in the late 80s of the pre-digital technology, and how it was a total surprise how quickly the industry was disrupted by computers; new kinds of machines that changed how cheaply and quickly things could be done.

What tools like fontographer and pagemaker did was allow people to take forms that were captured in a physical medium and capture them instead in a digital, transferrable medium. PostScript, platform independent technology, severed type from printing.

The browser is a typesetter. Webkit is a typesetting engine, it is the engine behind Chrome, Safari and Opera. A web font service’s server machines somewhere that serve the font files are like the floppy disks with font files for the first platform independent technology.

When industries open up, existing ideas about ownership and contribution change. There is no longer a physical object that you can patent and own and secure.

Next, visibility. You could store drawings, there was a Monotype Collections Room, and when the pre-digital Monotype collapsed as a hot metal company, those drawings were the key thing that was preserved. Machines were saved too, but they were secondary to the type designs captured in the drawings.

Linotype survived the transition to becoming a digital type technology vendor, but in the process everything for the typesetting business was destroyed. Linotype survived as a rightsholder.

Also in Germany at that time, URW’s Ikarus was a digital tool for the previous technology; the original fontographer, and then fontlab, for many years, and today there is glyphs and robofont and fontforge. There are also people working on metafont and similar technologies, and web based versions which are still interfaces to data somewhere.

What is a typeface in the world of data?

What I see when I hit print? Is it what is seen on a web page? What is the typeface? Can you point at it and say, “this is it.” Which is truer to the forms? Is my intention in the font editor’s drawing environment the ‘real’ thing? When I scale it down and color-in the outline contour black, it looks different.

Having a good answer to this is important if you are trying to make a living making typefaces.

The growth of tools has another effect. Font making environments themselves become commodities, and that means their price trends to zero. We are not there yet, but in terms of investment in software, it is negligible for someone to start making fonts. Soon anyone can go to any internet cafe, open a browser, and start designing type. I think in a few years we will have reasonable web-based font editors.

Improving font editors impact the speed of type development. For many Fontlab was annoying and cumbersome, but the move to alternatives like Glyphs and Robofont has not improved the quality of type. What has changed? The speed of production, the speed designers can learn to become type designers. It is a distraction to talk about the tools themselves – what are the typefaces?

The marginal cost of a new font trends to zero, too. (That means, the cost of the next typeface is zero.) If you need to spend x days to make a new type, is that too much hassle for the revenue the type can generate for you? There will be someone somewhere who will design a typeface for a smaller fee, and they will do it. So will typefaces become valueless? But I am talking of typefaces in the most generic sense. A font file. Everyone has the means of production. to manufacture type, to generate font files.

That leaves me to think that if we look at the files we miss the point. The type isn’t to be judged by the files. We must look outside the type to make sense of them. Which are good and which are bad?
Information and quality… How do you evaluate quality? If one thing costs zero, and then another costs thousands of pounds? In the presence of something that is free, how do you justify a market of people charging a lot of money?

I love this font, I love these shapes. I would like them 3d printed so i could touch them!

So what we need to do is look at this separately, to look at it in the content of other things. To look at that font in relation to 8 others.

What was it intended for? There was a brief. It is not a piece of art, it serves a purpose, for a client – imagined or real – and made within a budget of time and money. There are documents intended for it to be used it in, and those inform its decisions. This is a typeface for continuous prose. This is interesting, this is normal, this is not good, and so on. Now I can judge a thing with references outside it, even if in my memory and not in front of me – and if so, even that that is a subjective and hazy process, as we all have different experiences and awareness of what is out there.

A typeface does not have enough information to explain itself. You can say the curves are well formed. It is easy to hit that mark. A typeface can only be evaluated in relation to a context that is external to the typeface.

There is a famous book, “Godel Escher Bach,” a book about A.I. that talks about the meaning of the self. The author Douglas Hofstadter worked with typefaces, and asked, “What are the patterns that people use to recognise letters?”

  1. Ownership and contribution change with the means of making, but our language and ideas span technologies

  2. Value of design is disembodied

  3. Evaluation relies on context

This car, who remembers it? This is Citroen in bed with Mazarati! They made a beautiful car, but it is totally useless. You must take a great deal of care of it, it is temperamental, all the things a car should not be. It is build for one thing: Gazing at it.

So if you want to make a text type, Minion is hard to beat. Then there are types like Cardea which are a bit individual, and then things like Capucine which are outliers. You can graph this in a cloud.

Trends. The dense core of this “context cloud” changes slowly over time. Normality in text type 40 years ago was serifed, but today my kids see sans as the normal. The smart designer tries to second guess this, and capture something that will be desirable in a year or two when their project reaches publication.

Genres. These change, as screen resolution changes and our ideas of what is comfortable to read changes.

Motivators. Things that are in a genre that make you aware there is something different, that motivates you to use it instead of something you already had. That something may not be as unusual as Capucine, but it will be something interesting. Types in this area often win competitions.

We can set objective criteria for well formed shapes, spaces and behaviours. You need to have a fair set of evaluation criteria in a university. I already have a deck on speakerdeck about this; pointers for type reviews.

When I sat at the ATypI Amsterdam Type Crit, reviewing Rui Abreu’s work (http://www.r-typography.com) I found this to be a stressful experience. At the University where I teach, people have weeks to get to know me, but an on-the-spot review with someone for the first time who does not know what I am like, or will think about or say, is a challenge.

This is the list of things in my mind:

  • fit of typeset text within the brief

  • key dimensions within a paragraph body. A poem needs lots of space. A dictionary is compact. So, ‘it depends’, on the context of use. What is regular? What is bold? How to decide? If you superimpose all regular fonts, there are the 2 strokes in an ‘n’ and the thickness of the stroke to its height, or the proportion of stem to counter – these are in a narrow range. The bold has similar constraints.

  • stroke thickness range. So the generation that grew up with super hinted screen fonts, have really heavy bolds, because regular was 1px in stem, and bold had 2px stem. Double! Because you didn’t have the resolution. Verdana bold is really extrabold or black. We had a silent agreement, that its not really bold, its what we need at at that time. And now screens are different and we wish for a semi bold Verdana.

  • stroke modulation

  • in/out stroke recipes

  • alignments in h and v axes. This is something you come back to again and again during the development of a typeface.

  • transitions between letter elements.

  • relating of inner and outer strokes

  • letter shapes within key patterns

  • integration of exceptions. There is one letter that sticks out. The galliard lowercase ‘g’. The f of bembo. You look at it and you think about this. Is this intentional? Done so i would notice it? Does the type say ‘look at me!’? The raygun fonts were doing this a lot. You make the reading process appear to the read, you had to try hard to read raygun. But when is the f arm to get long enough to give identity without catching the eye and distracting a reader. That is something a type designer can spend a lot of time on.

And now everything is global. How do we support this on a global scale?

As the collapse of the industry did away with us and eu centric industry, that have control of means of production, then you get people like kris sowersby who have an international impact from new zealand.

Verdana and Georgia embody Microsoft’s first moves away from print in 1996. They put a lot of money into moving reading from print to screen. They saw dial up modems and early web as being important medium of reading. A lot of effort was spent to make the rendering crisp.

The Cleartype collection in 2003 represented a bet in portable, flat screens. 8 years later, Microsoft put a lot of effort here too. Flat screens were becoming cheaper, we had these massive screens. You had a computer your dad bought, desks, towers, cables around the back. That stuff went away. It became cheaper, flat screens and then laptops led to mobile. The tablet had 3 attempts, and this was one of those failed attempts. Laptops with a screen that flipped and turned back on itself. The idea was portable computers. Microsoft found limits to how much people would read on screen before hitting the print button: If someone sent an article over 1,500 words they would print it. They knew you had to have type you could read on screen for long texts, and the subpixel rendering and the Cleartype collection was an important attempt to do do just that. The fonts were made for Windows Vista in 2003, but only shipped in 2007 – when Windows had a different Cleartype engine.

The idea of type given for free that would be …

Adobe Source Sans and Serif are notable examples in a very long line of fonts that set baselines. You need to enable people that work with texts. Before that there was Vera, Lato, and a lot of fonts made freely available by Google and other large companies or institutions with specific agendas. Brill made a font available freely for all academics, that has all the academic typography glyphs they need for their complex documents.

Businesses that are not type businesses are a critical enabler. People will always put money into new type.

Google is one participant in going global. I hear Google say, I want to make something that sets a base point, not to threaten anyone, and in the same way Verdana and Georgia transformed reading on-screen for the scripts they support, I want people to be able to read on-screen globally.

I’ve talked to people associated with Google about responding and supporting this initiative. I have 2 phases planned for it. I want people to understand the basics, publishing a list of things that people need to keep in mind when designing a typeface. So if they are in the middle of nowhere, in a village in India, and they discover they can make a type for their own script, then they can meet their need to know how to think about type in context.

Some things are general. How to set parameters for a typography brief, is another way of saying, what will this be used in? Here you have a text with levels of hierarchy, so you need type family variants for annotations, main text, captions. You may need different numbers for different contexts.

The web uses CSS to define visual design, and we need to map family styles to their CSS structures. There are 9 weights per family. This is interesting: How many things can you fit in to the 9? Do you really need all 9 weights for text? Is 9 different styles what typographers really need? Or is it 7, or 8, or 5? I don’t know. But CSS is out there and it says you can only reliably address up to 9 styles at a time.

A type designer can draw interpolatable ‘master’ styles, and spit out anything in between them as an ‘instance.’ Should the instances be equally spaced? Should they be based on the same recipe, with point parity?

For a typographer, the very light styles are used sparingly and in very large point sizes. The black may need to have another receipt because it is used for headings, and the regular has again other forms for long-form reading. So I think that the way CSS has 9 weights in a line is not an intelligent way of looking at this stuff.

How do you plan the weights? …

Are newspapers dying in Portugal? A broadsheet spread typically has 8 entry points to reading; 8 things a reader can choose to start reading. So there is a typographic hierarchy to match that. In tabloids or berliners which are smaller, there are 5. When you go to tablet size, you lose the space to have the objects themselves declare the hierarchy. All the articles look more similar. There is an external hierarchy; lists of things to pick from outside the page.

A newspaper on a tablet is using a sidebar for navigation which drives reading order. And on your phone, you can not see the list and the content at the same time. Its either/or. The designers are counting on the short term memory of their audience, and mine is about 3 seconds ;)

So, here are a set of problems. Changing the typographic environment, a changing environment for type making, and some ideas for things to link them. I think this is important because we have communities that do not share our livelihood and our interests, who make decisions that affect us.

There is now very good OpenType support in web browsers, and that will effect Google, Microsoft, Apple and their businesses and other businesses. You can open a web browser anywhere in the world and it will work with your writing system.

Wherever you are, the type you see should not offend you.

We have a simple scripts in the West. You can reliably spell-check all European languages. Typographers have well-established and widely understood rules for typesetting these scripts. But globally this is atypical. Many Eurasian communities have their script, that is connected, with regional variations, and its another world for their typographers.

Early typography machines were made by Europeans, for Europeans, and then later they were adapted to the scripts used by other communities. People wanted to sell things in Thailand, so they wanted Thai typewriters, and how do you fit a script into a typewriter when it has letters you can not fit into the physical restrictions of such a machine? Hot metal also had similar limits – the hot metal would cool before the entire matrix could be created, putting a physical limit on the size of the glyph set.

So what do you do when you have 350 letters and the engineer says that you could only have 250? How many Germans give up the umlaut (diaeresis), or Spanish give up the Ñ (eɲe/énye)? To simplify the script to accommodating the technology, well, maybe you can do it, but it is not ideal, and it would be better to respect the script. Yet the people who make those decisions are not aware of the importance of such issues. We always talk to communities that are not type designers or typographers.

What next?

That’s the easy part for me ;) I have some suggestions.

Be perpetually curious. We are lucky to be in a world that is changing, with constant innovation. Type designers are actively engaged in making our world better. With better phones, they are making things that enabled someone who buys a smartphone in Africa to do microbanking with a better experience than traditional banking. Someone in this room may make the font that makes that possible. We go from the metal machines to a smartphone in africa doing banking, this is amazing progress. It is amazing to live in such a world. How can we move things along?

‘The next billion’ is a big phrase in business right now. There are about a billion people online today, and that’s a small part of humanity, and the next billion will join us soon. That matters. The young generation will grow up as professionals in this world. This is a privilege and a responsibility. You must be informed, to fight the curse of “design is making things pretty.” That aspect of design is just the top, the cherry on the cake; design is making things work well in context, then making them exciting and fun to use, and then making them look good doing it.

That’s your job to do.

Thank you.

@gerryleonidas

@typefacedesign

http://reading.ac.uk/typography

http://typefacedesign.net

Pedro Amado: thanks for that, was nice. I have 2 questions. Designing with a specific environment in mind. Frutiger made univers for the lumitype system. The drawing was motivated by that tech. Once emigres fonts were outliers …

Gerry: 2 things. Well, telephone directories are cost driven, if a typeface saves a line per a page, on 800 pages book, and then printing 100k books, that’s a valuable typeface. They are designed for a specific image setter. They design the dots the image setter places the ink. Its like verdana, designed by bitmaps, and then drawn to vectors, and then hinted to recreate the pixels. … I think depending on the project, you have type made for a platform, or not. Emigre’s types can be seen as design research and practice integrated. The confluence of the mac, of pagemaker, fontographer, and postscript, that allowed people to make things they could throw away for the first time. Type specimens look a certain way at that time, as they said, lets play. But quickly they released if you wanted people to read, you needed to respect conventions somewhat. They saw you could make type to look at and type to read with. They saw some type was only useful for some display usage. They could have no impact, or impact you could not anticipate. Emigre were questioning conventions. Its like your naughty cousin who does a terrible thing, then what you do wrong is not so bad. So after emigre we saw a wave of new humanist sans serif, and so syntax was odd at the time it came out but it became became very typical.

Pedro: what is next?

Gerry: Anyone can take my list, and I welcome all feedback. The idea that there is a black box in a teachers or a senior designers’ head? This is nonsense. There is a lack of language to express things we have in our head. We need to have words to say why we do certain things. We should not say, Oooo I like it, or Hmmm it is interesting, we should be able to say exactly why and how that is the case. I take part in competition juries, but without giving feedback about why x got a prize and y did not is a missed opportunity. It is a time commitment that is hard to make. Anyway, I want to put what I have so far online, for free, for anyone. I would like to see tools for comparison. Something i do when i go to web design conferences, is to take an on-screen rendering of text and superimpose an old manuscript. Too often web designers are like ‘wow, we changed everything,’ but no, this comparison shows they didn’t, the rhythm and darkness of text is the same as ever. Then, if you are a beginner, and you can upload your font and compare it, that will help. I think I speak from a position of privilege, as I am paid to work for a year with 15 people who are really motivated to learn type. Anyone is lucky if they can spend a year doing what they like. But ought it to be that or nothing? It would be like aristocrats and peasants. No, I want this stuff online so people can do as much as possible. I can not give you all the things, but I can make good pictures of them, and that can be online. That is the plan. The point is to work myself out of a business by the time I retire.

Q: thank you Gerry for a full hour, it was not exhausting, it was very nice. Again, isn’t there a trap for us all designers and people working on this area to take or confuse popularity with quality? Sometimes things are popular and all a sudden the quality standard first determined or granted by experts and expertise, with self publishing means, became more irrelevant with popularity. Ranking on downloads or true designs.

Gerry: Take good fonts, they are notable for attracting attention by people because they are good quality. Say that someone puts online, for free, a good text typeface. Good enough. Not fabulous, just good enough. So, in the communities that use such fonts, those people who do not see typography as core, they see a need that is high enough that say Merriwether is good enough for them. A commercial type designer might say, “ah, there is a need for a typeface like this!” and make something even better. Perhaps the sales or usage data of distributors can show that the world needs type of a certain kind. What is good enough? I will not spend 800 euros on a typeface. I will spend 150, as I will get enough value for it. A type library subscription for 10 euros? This is beer money for me. Where there are collections of type without the friction of cost, I think they can show where the bigs trends and demands will go. The user community of such collections is not restricted by quality concerns, and they may not know how to determine quality. There are more and more ways to learn about it, though. Also, popularity in the type world is not the same as popularity in the graphic design world. So graduates of a course may pat each other’s backs, but the market can be fickle. I can think of popular type which is popular not because of its design features. I bet that any low contrast slab serif that looked okay small and big, could be as popular with the same marketing and positioning. So, there is a shift in what people expect to see, and as people realise they can choose the type they use, they will learn and change their choices. What is quality? Typographica’s list of popular fonts is not the same of what is popular in the real world. What is used in the streets?

Q: Gotham!

Q: Neo Sans was very popular in Portugal.

Dave Crossland: Lobster!

Gerry: Dino is still here? Ah, well. When a political party needs to rebrand, what do they do? Or what about banks. All the banks rebranded in the last few years with softer typefaces. They had serious fonts before, and now its all italics and nice ‘we are friendly, so, give us your money.’ You know, there’s someone at the brand agency who went to school with the type designer, and they say, a new typeface is 80,000 euros, and its 30,000 for a custom version of a retail type, so the bank says, we stole a lot of money but not that much, we’ll take the 30k one thanks, and then it is seen everywhere, and retail sales pick up. Here is a semi fictional example. Who remembers Heathrow airport signage? They did once have a typeface for the signage system. It was Bembo Bold in black on yellow. No one would pass a project at undergraduate level with such a choice! But you surely knew you were in Heathrow when you landed because of that. Then the companies changed, one company came to own all airports, and maybe they looked at a custom typeface to get away from Frutiger that all airports use… but that cost for a custom type had not earlier been made a separate line item in the budget: when the project was imagined, no one thought ahead about the need for a custom typeface. The 100,000 euros that it would cost is peanuts in the cost of an airport. They said, oops we just cant do it, so we’ll just license frutiger, just like everyone else. Now Heathrow uses Frutiger. And was a business decision, not a design decision. Monotype have put on a branding event for london agencies to discuss this recently. The largest problems with any brand roll out are font related. The brand managers know the least about it. They budget the least time for it. They think, ‘fonts just work,’ but then they don’t work. And then they have to go back and fix the fonts expensively. Its common.

Yves Peters: Brussels airport is using a fontfont design for their branding. I will ask them about why they chose that font.

Gerry: yes, what is Brussels? Just another city? Or something meaningful? The Belgians have a dual language requirement in the same script. A country in the middle east got a FIFA championship, they build airports for it. 6 regional airports, 1 international, and all the rail and bus systems. This went to london agencies. Architects, agencies, sign firms. That means signs in English and Arabic, left to right and right to left. How to balance the scripts? How to present the hierarchy, airside and landside? The symbols? All need to localised. If you have a growing sense of pride and joining the international community of nations that host world class events, do you want your signs looking the same of everyone else? Or something that shows the growing maturity and identidy of the region? The brief says,”Not Frutiger!” People arriving need to find their way, the arrows, the symbols must look different too.

Q: Do the people making a new airport really understand that type can make a difference?

Gerry: Any parent who buys books for their kids, you see type with a single story a and g, and you feel better about buying the kid version of the book. It may be in Georgia or Plantin but with a single story a. The people making the decisions are not the kids. They are the parents. We know from research that kids can read both forms just as well; kids know that there are letters for learning to write with and to read with. The kids do not care about the single story form. But the buyers, the parents, do care, because it signifies that they thought about their kids’ needs. Also, typefaces that are made for dyslexics. Its proven not to be the case that these have a lot of impact. But if I stand here and say, I am very smart – which is impossible to verify – and I say it makes a difference, then the onus is on you to disprove me. The book with the a and g makes no difference to the child, and paying attention to the illustrations is much more important – are they nouns, adjectives, or verbs? Verbs are hard to illustrate. Tom has a house. Fine. Tom likes his house. Hard. But that is too much information for an average parent to know.

Q: It is needed for education, to show people that good typefaces are important

Gerry: I think we will find typefaces are not as important as we think. If the language of a blog is not good, you tune out. Even if the typography is great. Or if you apply the Guardian’s typography to The Sun’s content, it will not be more readable. So if we keep close to the …

CraftingType workshopsHow much do type designers earn?

Thomas Phinney explains on Quora:

http://www.quora.com/How-much-does-a-professional-font-maker-designer-earn

Follow him there, as he’s always active answering questions about type and typography!

CraftingType workshopsQ: I'm a graphic designer. Why should I attend a Crafting Type workshop?

A: Graphic design is very competitive. One of the primary elements of graphic design is type and typography. The surge of popularity in typography-heavy design we are experiencing means more and more designers are learning more and more about type. In turn, this means that designers with less insight into typography are at a disadvantage.

Crafting Type helps both design students and professionals to stay competitive by offering you an exposure to the deepest parts of typography - to type itself.

Zooming in to this level is still rare. Designers who attend our workshops tell us that learning how to craft their own type has carried over into an ability to think critically about the characteristics of letterforms that other people have crafted, to understand why they are the way that they are, and how they can best use them. They now really know where the personality of a type comes from.

More broadly, our workshops are valuable for people because they can better relate to their place in the history of making and sharing texts. In modern history we went through phases. First the public gained the widespread ability to read, then, the ability to be published.

The truly novel aspect of our place in history today is that literacy is more than reading and writing. We are expected to design our own documents now, too. For example, enough highly paid lawyers do so that a type designer has published a niche book for that very market, Typography for Lawyers.

Document design is a genuinely subtle and complicated task. Controlling presentation is essential because it effects the use and gestalt meaning of the text. This all leads to the conclusion that learning about typography is enhanced by insights into type design. These insights help to understand and use type better, and so you will become a more sophisticated and effective document maker.

Traditional typography classes emphasize the critical importance of “Good Type.” But this often leads to an absurd reverence for type, and a sense of impenetrability around the process of type design. This excess is an unhealthy approach because it insists on the servility of the user of type.

The user of type can be a modifier or creator of type too! Either directly, or indirectly. Crafting Type shows students that while type design is certainly rich, deep and complex, it is absolutely not impenetrable. Within a few days you will learn enough to make useful changes to fonts which respect your freedom to make changes. It is unethical to modify fonts when your license doesn’t allow you to do so. We cover font licensing in lively discussions during our classes.

Custom type is an increasingly common feature of graphic design. Even if you never design or modify type after taking the workshop, you will be in a far better position to purposefully specify the characteristics of a brief for a custom type that you commission from a full time professional type designer. You will be able to work effectively with a type designer to realize your vision.

The group dynamic at Crafting Type is also something people say is valuable afterwards. Here, design students are mixed in shoulder to shoulder with professionals with similar interests, and have the opportunity to network or even make friends.

Very occasionally someone actually want to be a type designer. This is rare - and that’s fine. We love to help students avoid the mistakes we made becoming type designers.

If you have any specific questions about the value of attending, such as to help persuade your manager to sponsor your time off (or even your ticket) please do email us.

If you would like a workshop in your city or at your company, we’d love to make it happen!

CraftingType workshopsAnnouncing Crafting Type Portland 2015, March 27-29

Crafting Type returns to Portland, this time with hosting sponsorship by the Portland State University.

Local type expert Thomas Phinney will lead the workshop, with our project founder Dave Crossland joining if enough people sign up. Octavio is also ready to join us if more than 20 people decide to join us

Full details on the Crafting Type Portland 2015 Registration Page

And as we go into the year, to all subscribers, thanks so much for your supportive attention over the years with Crafting Type :)

Ben MartinTerry 2.0: The ROS armada begins!

It all started with wanting to use a Kinect or other RGBD (Depth sensing) camera to do navigation... Things ended up slowly but surely with moving from a BeagleBone Black and custom nodejs script that I created as the heart to a quad core atom running ROS and many ROS nodes that I created ;)


The main gain to ROS is the nodes that other people have written. If you want to convert RGBD to a simulated laser scan in order to do 2d navigation then that's already available. If you want to make a map and then use it then that code is already there for you. And the visualization for these things. I'm not sure I'd have the time to write from scratch a 3d robot viewer and visualize my cut down 'fake' 2d laser scan data from the Kinect in OpenGL. But with ROS I got the joy of seeing the scan change in real time as Terry sensed me move in front of it.

I now have 3d control of the robot arm happening, including optional sinusoidal encoding of movements. The fun part is that the use of sinusoidal can be enabled or disabled without any code changes. I wrote that part as a JointTrajectory shim. For something to use smoother movement all it has to do is publish to that shim instead of directly to the servo controller itself. The publish and subscribe parts of the IPC that ROS has are very easy to get used to and allow breaking up the functionality into rather small pieces if desired.


The arm is one area that is ROS controlled, but not quite the way I want. It seems that using MoveIt is indicated for arm control but I didn't manage to get that to work as yet. The wizard only produced an arm that would articulate on one joint, so more tinkering is needed in that area. Instead I wrote my own ROS node to control the arm. It's all fairly basic trig to get the gripper at an x,y,z relative to the base of the arm. And an easy carry over to fix the gripper at a horizontal to the base no matter what position the arm is moved to. But in the future the option to MoveIt will be considered, can't hurt to have two codepaths to choose from for arm control.

As part of the refresh I updated the pan unit for the camera platform.Previously I used a solid 1/4 inch shaft with the load taken by a bearing and the gearmotor turning the shaft directly from below it. Unfortunately that setup has many drawbacks; no ability to use a slip ring, no torque multiplication, difficulty using an axle end rotary encoder IC to gain real world position feedback. The updated setup uses a 6 rpm gearmotor offset with a variable motor mount to drive a 24 tooth brass gear. That mates with an 80 tooth gear which is affixed to a hollow 1/2 inch alloy tube. As you can see at the top of the image, I've fed the tilt servo cable directly into the inside of that tube. No slip ring right now, but it is all set to allow the USB cable to slip through to the base and enable continuous rotation of the pan subsystem. So the Kinect becomes a radar style. One interesting aside is that you can no longer manually rotate the pan system because the gearmotor, even unpowered, will stop you. The grub screw will slip before the axle turns.


As shown below, the gearmotor is driven by an Arduino which is itself connected to a SparkFun breakout of the TB6612FNG HBridge IC. This combo is attached using double sided 3M tape to a flat bit of channel. Then the flat bit of channel is bolted to Terry. I've used this style a few times now and quite like it. A single unit and all it's wires can be attached and moved fairly quickly.



At first I thought the Arudino gearmotor control and the Web interface would be a bit outside the bounds of ROS. But there is an API for Arduino which gives the nice publish and subscribe with messages that one would expect on the main ROS platform. A little bit of python glue takes the ttyUSB right out of your view and you are left with a little extension from the main ROS right into the MCU. I feel that my 328 screen multiplexer will be updated to use this ROS message API. Reimplementing packeting and synchronization at the serial port level becomes a little less exciting after a while, and not having to even think about that with ROS is certainly welcome.

Below is the motherboard setup for all this. Unfortunately many of the things I wanted to attach used TTL serial, so I needed a handful of USB to TTL bridges. The IMU uses I2C, so its another matter of shoving a 328 into the mix to publish the ROS messages with the useful information for the rest of the ROS stack on the main machine to use at its will.


The web interface has been resurrected and extended from the old BBB driven Terry. This is the same Bootstrap/jQuery style interface but now using roslibjs to communicate from the browser to Terry. I'm using WebSockets to talk back, which is what I was doing manually from the BBB, but with ROS that is an implementation choice that gets hidden away and you again get a nice API to talk ROS like things such as publishing and subscribing standard and custom messages.


The below javascript code sends an array of 4 floats back to Terry to tell it where you want to have the arm (x,y,z,claw) to be located. The 4th number allows you to open and close the claw in the same command. The wrist is held horizontal to the ground for you. Notice that this message is declared to be a Float32MultiArray which is a standard message type.The msg and topic can be reused, so an update is just a prod to an array and a publish call. You can fairly easily publish these messages from the command line too for brute force testing.

var topic_arm_xyz = new ROSLIB.Topic({
   ros  : ros,
   name : '/arm/xyzc',
   messageType : 'std_msgs/Float32MultiArray'
});

var msg = new ROSLIB.Message({
  data : [ x,y,z, claw ]
});
topic_arm_xyz.publish( msg );


The learning curve is a bit sharp for some parts of ROS. Navigation requires many subsystems to be brought up, and at first I had a case that the robot model was visualized 90 degrees out of phase to reality. Most of the stuff is already there, but you need to have a robot base controller that is compatible. It is also a trap for the new players not to have a simple robot model urdf file. Without a model some parts of the system didn't work for me. I'd have liked to have won with the MoveIt control, and will get back to trying to do just that in the future. I think I'll dig around for shoe string examples, something like building a very basic three servo arm with ice cream sticks and $5 servos would make for an excellent example of MoveIt for hobby ROS folk. Who knows, maybe that example will appear here in a future post.


Nathan WillisYou’re welcome, civilization

In other New Year’s Nonresolutions, I’m no longer going to be pretending that various software companies’ and FOSS projects’ ridiculous capitalization “policies” for their names are anything except the nonsense that they are.

If I’m starting a sentence with your project or product name, I’m capitalizing it. But I’m not capitalizing the whole word unless it’s an actual initialization or acronym, and I’m not CamelCasing it unless it’s an actual abbreviation.

Complain about this and I will slap you with a policy dictating that you can only write my name (or the names of any projects I’ve ever released or will release) in blackletter text rendered at 16pt (American points), in #3754A6, all caps, and that you have to stand up whenever you read it (silently or out loud) or think it. And I decide whether or not the font you’ve chosen is considered a genuine blackletter. No one other than the complainer will be required to follow this policy.

I feel better already, don’t you?

Ben MartinOne Small Step for Terry, one giant leap for robotkind.

This evening the BeagleBone Black was finally unbolted from Terry. All the sensors, servos, gearmotors, PWM partial update moosed down RGB DMD screens are controlled from ROS now.

In the process I replaced the physical pan subsystem with a torque multiplied 6 rpm gearmotor. Its 80-24 multiplication giving 1.8 effective rpm at the pan. Unlike the previous setup, the torque is now so high that you can not manually turn the pan system. It occurred to me that this is also a minor hazard as if you get a finger in the gear mesh it would not lead to a "nice place". This is also now using a hollow 1/2 inch metal tube, so I can add a slip ring to allow the pan and tilt to rotate freely at will. I can also much more easily include an IC based pot to close the pan feedback loop with high precision.

It has been interesting going from a board with so many headers for SPI, I2C, UART and GPIO to a general purpose small desktop motherboard running the show. The upside is that things like SLAM and localization which would be tedious to reimplement myself are now available. It might be fun to play with Monte Carlo localization on an mbed based MCU (target point at around 100Mhz/100kb sram). But that's for another day.

The next trick is bringing together the launch files for each subsystem into a Terry-Main.launch that brings it all up.

Pictures and video are extremely likely to follow.

Pravin SatputeTypoday 2014 At Pune

    This blog was pending on me from long time.  I got a chance to attend typoday.in 2014 conference At Symbiosis International University, Viman Nagar, Pune  in February. This was the my second conference specifically on typography domain after National workshop on calligraphy and typography in 2007.





    It was great to meet typography domain experts and also students with excellent research on different topics.

    I got a chance to meet Kishor Patil (GIST, CDAC), Achyut Palav, Dave Crossland, Girish Dalvi (IITB),  Adam Twardoch (Fontlab), Sarag Kulkarni, Prof.  Santosh Kshirsagar (Sir J. J. Institute of Applied Art, Mumbai) and Prof. Manohar Desai (Head, Communication Design, Symbiosis Institute of Design).


    We had a good discussion on Devanagari script standardization with Girish Dalvi, Dave and Kishor Patil. There was few improvements suggested in Lohit but as a system default font we cant do certain changes without proper references. Girish pointed out there is already discussion happening At Maharashtra state government and soon something will happen.

    Also Dave shared number of things on his plans for commissioning Devanagari typefaces in coming years. It excited number of typographer around.

    We had expert from Adobe, Fontlab there. There was workshop from Fontlab after the conference specifically for students, i did not attended it due to some other work.

    We also had discussion on Google Noto fonts and Lohit2 project. Overall it was good experience of attending typoday conference.

    There were number of interesting topics but few i noted were "Sensory Experiences in Typography", Matilda A Typeface for Children's with Low Vision. There was number of interesting posters available.

    Looking forward for attending typoday 2015 and learn new things.

Nathan WillisWhat’s New in Open Fonts: № 001

Greetings, innocent reader!  I decided a few moons ago to see if would be valuable to periodically write up a “what’s new in open fonts” column, to cover small developments and/or incremental progress in the realm of open/libre typefaces and in free software for type design / typeography / text stuff.  When there are big stories, those tend to get covered, but in between those many of the smaller or less exotic improvements can get lots in the S/N of regular Internet Life.  I don’t know if it will prove valuable or not, but we can at least see.

In any case, as often happens, life gets in its own way, and here we are close to the end of 2014. That is a good time to look back, though, so that’s what I’ll do.  For the sake of space, however, we’ll break things up just a bit.

This first installment is going to cover news that happened in the time period between Libre Graphics Meeting (LGM) 2014 this past April and—roughly speaking—TypeCon 2014.  I already wrote up a rough report of recent developments immediately after LGM; it ran at the free-software news site LWN.net (where I work).  You can read it here: https://lwn.net/Articles/593614/ … and you can, in a sense, consider that “issue № 000.”

So with that bit o’ accounting out of the way, let’s begin.

Recent Releases

Five “big” open font releases have landed recently (at least five that I know of; if I’ve missed any, let me know). “Big” is, of course, a relative adjective; what’s listed below essentially accounts for fonts that garnered widespread attention because of where they come from or where they are used.

First is Fira, which was designed by Eric Spiekermann for the Firefox OS mobile operating system. Firefox OS, of course, comes from Mozilla, and is a free software platform where everything runs on HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript.  Fira saw a 3.1 release in May; since the early work in 2013 (when it was called “Feura” and consisted only of a sans) there has been a monospaced companion added to the family, plus expansion to considerably more weights (in upright and italics).  As of the 3.111 version, there are seventeen weights—though the heaviest (“Ultra”) and the lightest five (“Two”,”Four”,”Six”,”Eight”, and “Hair”) are designated as experimental.  Also noteworthy is that the build notes and a tech report are available to the public. Fira now seems to be developed by Carrois Type Design, although I haven’t found a source documenting what exactly the relationship or the plan for the future of the font family is.  If you know, do tell.

Source Serif, from Adobe, was also released in May. Source Serif is the latest edition to Adobe’s widely used “Source” family.  As you probably recall, Source Sans debuted in 2012, Source Code (a monospaced typeface) followed in 2013.  Source Serif was designed by Adobe’s Frank Grießhammer (who otherwise seems to be renowned for his overwhelming devotion to the Unicode box-drawing characters, which, in a sense, also makes him a ‘box-drawing character’ when you think about it); it is based on ideas from the work of Pierre Simon Fournier.  It is a transitional face, but despite having a distinct historical lineage from Source Sans and Source Code, the team has done a lot of work to harmonize the design within the larger family (or “superfamily” if you’re one of those weird taxonomist nerds).

In July, Google unveiled its collaboration with Adobe on Noto CJK, an addition to its Noto family that covers the full Chinese, Japanese, and Korean character sets.  If there’s any lingering doubt about the size of such typeface, Adobe’s blog post on the release points out that the OTF files contain 65,535 glyphs—which is the maximum possible in OpenType.  Whether that amounts to a major problem needing immediate attention in OpenType is a popular discussion point.  Nevertheless, Noto CJK (like Noto) is available under the Apache 2.0 license.  Noto is a derivative of the Droid font family (of which there are several) designed to cover as many of the world’s languages as it can; I have not been able to track down more precise info on the designers and developers working on it.  As is always the chorus in this little dog-n-pony show: if you know, please tell me….

Speaking of Droid, Google’s shiny new replacement for Droid (or the Lance Henriksen to its Ian Holm, if you will…) is Roboto, which also received a major update in July.  The update was again the work of Christian Robertson; the redesign was done in concert with the latest Android release.  Most of the changes, according to the announcement, are to rhythm and spacing, although there are a few distinct changes to common glyphs, such as the legs on R and K and changing the dots (on i and j, but also on punctuation) from rectangular to round.

Last but not certainly not least, GNU Unifont released its latest update, version 7.0.03, in July.  The update covers every printable code point in Unicode 7.0, Plane 0.  If that name doesn’t ring a bell, GNU Unifont is a fallback font; it is used (for example) to display the generic titlebar symbol for all glyphs in the FontForge UI.

Naturally, there have been plenty of open font releases other than these.  Google Fonts announces new releases on its Twitter feed; by my count there were seven: Khand, Rajdhani, Teko, Kalam, Karma, Hind, and El Mukta.  Open Font Library featured many more releases—too many, in fact, to list individually in any practical sense.  But you can watch the OFLB Twitter account as well, although the RSS feed is a better alternative for compatibility reasons.

Software Development:

But new font families were not the only releases of note.  One of the easy-to-overlook releases this year was that of Adobe’s Font Development Kit for OpenType (AFDKO), which saw its first Linux release in the spring.  AFDKO is a collection of utilities for building, testing, and QAing (it’s a word; trust me) OpenType fonts.  When this Linux release happened, users still had to agree to Adobe’s non-FOSS license agreement in order to use it, but it was a big step anyway.  For the first time, it became possible to use many of these tools on Linux, both for one’s own fonts as well as to build Adobe’s own open font releases. It’s not too useful to have an open source license on a font if you can’t actually build it, after all. We’ll see what else happened with AFDKO in the second installment of this 2014 recap….

A totally unrelated release that caught my attention during this timeframe (and should catch yours as well) was version 0.2 of Raphaël Bastide’s ofont.  Not to be confused with sfont, which is Daniele Capo’s library for doing weird tricks with UFO fonts in the DrRacket IDE. Ofont is a simple web framework for deploying a font web site. You can use it to publish your own open fonts in an easy-to-scan-and-sample manner, or to build a microfoundry site.  Most importantly, when Bastide says it’s simple, he means it: this is a configure-it-in-plain-text-and-you’re-basically-done system, not some heavyweight monstrosity like WordPress or MediaWiki.  The best example of it in action is Bastide’s own font site, usemodify.com.

Arguably the biggest software story in the open font space this year, however, is Metapolator. Metapolator is a parametric font-family design tool that builds on the underlying precepts of Donald Knuth’s METAFONT. The idea is that the type designer can manipulate the parameters that describe an entire font—stroke widths, slant, x-heights and cap heights, contrast, weight, and so on.  Starting with a single font, the designer can extend it into a consistent font family, rather than having to rebuild every family member from scratch.

It’s a powerful and appealing concept, but it is also one fraught with design challenges.  Whole-font parameters are not easily visualized like actual Bézier curves in a glyph are, and making them easy to work with is a pretty new idea.

To make sense of the problem space and work towards a useful-and-usable interface, the project has been collaborating with interaction designer/developer Peter Sikking of Man+Machine Works. Sikking is long-time member of the free-software graphics community, and is perhaps best known for his interaction architecture work with the Krita and GIMP teams.  Both of those projects have reaped huge benefits from their respective collaborations; Krita virtually reinvented itself as a first-class natural-media painting application, and GIMP has brought sense and flexibility to a number of its tools over the years with Sikking’s designs (he most recently previewed some work reinventing the text tool, which will be interesting to watch).  So the outlook for Metapolator evolving a good UI/UX for its unusual design task is good.

But the process is not a quick one.  I talked to Sikking about the Metapolator work via video chat at the end of the summer.  Metapolator developer Simon Egli was originally going to join us, but wasn’t able to make it.  At the time, Sikking had completed working out the product vision with the Metapolator team (i.e., refining the purpose and goals for the application) and had recently worked with a number of type designers to observe their existing workflow for the tasks Metapolator is intended to address, and to get feedback from them about Metapolator interface issues.  He was still in the process of sifting through the results of those conversations, after which he would get to work mapping out how the designers would want to use Metapolator and how that lines up with the development team’s viewpoint and the actual codebase.  The plan was to have the designer vision distilled out by September, then a plan for working it into the UI the following month.

The nice thing about my procrastination on this whole endeavor is that that time period has now passed, and you can take a look at the results.  There is a thorough write-up of one face-to-face meeting in late July, an exploration of possible concepts for how multiple parameters (≥ 2 in particular) between master fonts could be presented, and (perhaps more importantly) Sikking has written a design overview that documents the overall structure for how users (type designers, specifically) would interact with Metapolator.  If you read through it—which you should—what you’ll see is how the user’s process of working on a font family with Metapolator breaks up into separate stages of activity: exploring the parameters of interest (weight, slant, style, etc etc), actually editing a font that is “metapolated” between multiple original masters until it passes muster, turning the metapolated intermediate into an actual, real font instance, etc.

There is also a lot of detail in Sikking’s writing that relates to the specifics of the eventual UI: ensuring that tools, menus, and panels fit onto appropriately-sized screen dimensions and so on. That may be less interesting to the type designer than the how-to-use-the-application questions, but it’s certainly good to consider all of those practical questions from day 1, rather than letting them slide to day 0 (note: in this case, “day 0″ means whenever the resulting application is launched. “Day 1″ on the other hand, means the much earlier starting-point day for the whole process. It’s a mixed metaphor. Deal with it. Maybe some enterprising mathematician would like to explore mapping the production calendar into the reverse-unit-interval [1,0] to see how that affects software development; I don’t plan to tackle it).

What comes next is the implementation phase.  More on that later, perhaps, since much of the recent work on it took place after the arbitrary pre-TypeCon deadline for this write-up.  The best place to follow its progress is the Metapolator Google Plus page, where the team is posting frequent updates.

Other News:

Finally, there was one other significant development in the open font community between LGM and TypeCon, and one that is particularly not fun for those involved.  Designer extraordinaire Vernon Adams was in a serious road accident in late May.  You may know Vernon from the Oxygen font family that has been adopted as the UI font for the KDE desktop environment, or from any of his dozens of other open fonts (which you can read about at his site, newtypography.co.uk).  I first got to know him online, as he routinely was able to dig up scans of old ATF specimen books that bordered on being higher resolution than the real-world itself, which was enormously helpful.  A bit later, I spent a week cooped up in a weird Google office building with Vernon, Eben Sorkin, Jason Pagura, Ben Martin, and Molly Sharp, co-authoring the book Start Designing With FontForge—as part of Google’s GSoC Documentation Camp.  It was actually a one-week booksprint guided by FLOSSManuals’s Adam Hyde, and it was a great experience all around (even when the espresso machine was misbehaving).

In any case, to return to the story at hand, Vernon’s accident was, as alluded, a bad one, in which he was banged up quite a bit. In fact, he was in an induced coma for quite a while, since it evidently can be very touch-and-go (particularly in the early days) where head injuries are concerned.

The good news—and it doesn’t get much better—is that, after all of that time and torment, Vernon is on the mend. Out of comas and casts, and in recovery.  That means a lot of the physical-therapy stuff that it takes to recover from a serious injury, though, which isn’t fast.  But he’s also close by to where his family lives, for which everyone’s grateful as well.

I don’t feel like I ought to dwell too much on Vernon’s recovery process, since that should be his family’s purview.  So I’ll just say that it’s great to see that he’s making progress, and I’m looking forward to the next time our paths cross in person. And I’m already thinking up sarcastic comments to make for whenever that pathcrossing takes place (I suspect that Vernon will find all the public attention pretty embarrassing, so we’ll go from there…).

If you want to stay more on top of Vernon’s story, his wife Allison is blogging about it all at sansoxygen.com. Again, I’m taking a cue from the family that it’s alright to point to the site (since it’s public), but as always, this is kind of personal stuff, so I hope we’re not intruding too much on Vernon’s privacy by mentioning it.

The end (part 001)

That wraps up this edition.  As promised, I will be back to discuss TypeCon to the end of 2014 in a follow-up post. Seeing how long this one is, I hope to compress things a bit more for the next installment, but if I’ve left something out, please drop me a line. If there’s still an excess of information for volume 002, I’ll just try and use smaller words.

Pravin SatputeFew points of Fedora 21 release party @ TIFR, HBCSE, Mumbai

    Fedora 21 release party was planned in quick time, we can say in one week. Attendees were around 25. Few points regarding the event.
Fedora 21 release party cake

Pravin SatputePlanning experience for Fedora 21 release party At TIFR, HBCSE, Mumbai

    It was good experience to organize Fedora 21 release party At TIFR. Started this idea November last week by initial discussion with Rahul Bhalerao. Long time we did not had any Fedora release party in India. Fedora 21 Final release declared on 9th Dec 2014. Rahul agreed to be co-organizer for same. Second we started thinking for Venue. First place name came to our mind was TIFR, HBCSE. This is the place where we started our open source contribution in 2004 under the guidance of Dr. Nagarjuna G.

    We started initial email conversion with Dr. Nagarjuna G. we got go ahead response for same but finalizing date was tricky due to ICFOSS, Swatantra (http://icfoss.org/fs2014/) was happening during our planned date (20 Dec). We decided date 21st Dec (Idea was Celebrating Fedora 21 on 21st ☺).

    Got $100 budget from Fedora and also some travel budget for Pune-Mumbai from Red Hat.

    Second things was looking for qualified speakers. Fedora community is really nice. I discussed this with Ambassadors in Pune and Praveen kumar quickly jumped in for help with talk on cloud. Due to some reason Parag was not available during same time. Anish volunteered for Talk on Workstation. Me and Rahul took care for Fedora intro and How to contribute in Fedora. I wrote one blog earlier for speakers introduction.

    We had meeting on 15th Dec At TIFR for planning remaining activities. Created event page on Eventbrite  . This was my first event as an organizer and i was wondering on Sunday relaxing afternoon how many people can actually make it. Surprising 38 ticket got booked on eventbrite, it was really motivating.

    We got Fedora 21 DVD's just in time. Hats off to Siddhesh for helping for it and Rahul for collecting it from Siddhesh. We somehow managed it and made it available on 21st. Got few Fedora stickers from Rupali At Red Hat Pune.

    I placed order At http://monginis.net/. Online interface has less option. But once one place the order online, we can talk with there customer care with reference number. They delivered order on time.

    I would like to thanks Dr. Nagarjuna for allowing us to host release party At TIFR. It almost solved 50% of part. Next to Rahul Bhalerao for doing all things to make it successful release party. Praveen Kumar and Anish for volunteering as a speaker and also all attendees for making this successful

Pravin SatputeWhy to attend Fedora 21 release party At Mumbai??

Fedora 21 release party happening tomorrow At TIFR, MUMBAI, more information AT eventbrite page


Well qualified speakers for topics
      Anish Patil:
       3+ years with Fedora. Actively working in gnome upstream. He is one of the main developer of ibus typing booster. He is maintaining 15 packages in Fedora. He is going to talk on Fedora workstation product features.

      Praveen Kumar:
     Actively working 4+ years with Fedora community. He own 34 packages and is member of provenpackager and ambassador group of Fedora. He has already talked in dozens of open source conferences. For more information click [2]
   
    Pravin Satpute:
    7+ years in Fedora. Own 43 packages and proven packager in Fedora. Team member of Internationalization, Marketing and Ambassador group.

    Rahul Bhalerao:
    He is working 8+ year with Fedora community. He is team member of Fedora internationalization team and participated as a speaker in number of open source conferences. Being long time Fedora contributor he is going to talk on How to contribute to Fedora project. For more information about him click [4]

Happening AT TIFR, HBCSE Mumbai
        TIFR centre is well known for number of open source initiative. Gnowledge.org is one of those major activity. Learning Studio is widely used Fedora 17 remix for educational activities. We are trying to upgrade this on Fedora 21 release. In 2004 when there was very few open source Indian languages fonts were there. TIFR took initiative and started project on developing open source Samyak fonts. These fonts are available in most of the open source distribution.

Fedora 21 DVD:
        Will provide DVD's of Workstation and Servers to participant. Lots of stickers and goodies to few lucky ones :)

Fedora activity AT Mumbai After long time:
    Fedora activity happening in Mumbai after long time. Lets come meet and plan for some future activities around Fedora in Mumbai.

1. https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/User:Anishpatil
2. https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/User:Kumarpraveen
3. https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/User:Pravins
4. https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/User:RahulBhalerao
5. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/fedora-21-release-party-tickets-14972818102

CraftingType workshopsType in a Digital Landscape by @bruno_maag first presented at...



Type in a Digital Landscape by @bruno_maag first presented at @BITSMMXIV is now available as a 1 hour video:

Pravin SatputeTalked on Lohit2 project AT 38th Internation Unicode Conference (IUC)

Last month (4th Nov) i gave talk AT 38th IUC[1], yes i did. :)

Did not able to attend conference due to traveling issues. Lucky enough got a chance to give presentation over Google Hangout. IUC is full with interesting and fruitful talks. Most of the attendees used to be busy for attending talk and networking with key contributors. Would like to give special thanks to Behdad for helping to setup GHangout session during conference and also Rick McGowan for allowing me to give talk over hangout.

Trust me it was difficult as per IST my talk [2] was schedule early morning at 4:00am. Everything went well and given presentation at IUC 38.

My talk was on Lohit2 project. I took workshop in IUC 36 conference for creating open type fonts for complex script. In that workshop i explained how its tricky to develop OT fonts for complex script due to involvement of technical, designing and linguistic. In this different domain there is fair possibility of standardizing technical stuff related to open type fonts. Its almost repeatative.

In IUC 38 i presented Lohit2. Project which aims to create easy to reuse standard, effective and efficient open type tables. For Lohit things even become easy for reusability since it is under open source license.

IUC is special conference since this is the time when most of the expert in language computing domain come together. I got nice audience for my talk and had interesting Q&A session later.

Thanks Behdad for this snap. Was not able to see early with whom i am talking :)

I ended my talk with the hope of achieving next milestone in making font developers life easy by making just click and import templates for complex script fonts. Then only things left for designer is to design typeface.  My slides are available in slideshare.  [3]

1. http://www.unicodeconference.org/iuc38/
2. http://www.unicodeconference.org/program-d.htm#S4-3
3. http://www.slideshare.net/pravinds/pravin-s-lohit2

Pravin SatputeNext releases (2.91.1) of Tamil, Assamese and Bengali available with critical bug fixes.

   We did alpha release of Tamil, Assamese and Bengali earlier. During testing we found following issues.

  • Lohit Tamil was not rendering correctly due to issue with auto hinting with fontforge in font.  [1]
  • Lohit Assamese and Bengali fonts conjucts were breaking with Matras. [2]
    Both critical bugs are resolved in 2.91.1 version.

    Other than this, we did thorough testing of these fonts in Windows XP. Fixed number of rendering issues with XP.
    Few issues still exist [3][4] . These issues are mentioned in README file of specific fonts. Planning to resolve these issues in coming release.

    Font are available to download from fedorahosted. [5]  Need your help for further testing and making it more perfect. Feel free to report issues or provide suggestion at github [6] or mailing list.

    Thanks to Nilamdyuti Goswami, Shantha Kumar, Felix and capellsk for testing and providing input.


1. https://github.com/pravins/lohit/issues/56
2. https://github.com/pravins/lohit/issues/57
3. https://github.com/pravins/lohit2/issues/20
4. https://github.com/pravins/lohit2/issues/24
5. https://fedorahosted.org/lohit/
6. https://github.com/pravins/lohit/issues/new

Ben MartinFingerTech Mecanum meets Actobotics

Sparkfun sell some nice little omniwheels made by FingerTech Robotics. These come with a grub screw mount for a 3mm axle. While it is said around the webs that one might drill out the mount to accept up to a 6mm axle, I wanted a more flexible solution for mounting these wheels onto an Actobotics structure. It turns out that the four screw mounts (using what I think are x-40 screws) are in an extremely close location to the four screws on the Actobotics hub mount. Unfortunately it was a tad hard for me to get a hold of longer x-40 screws to attach the hub mount, so I ended up taking the wheel apart and replacing the standoffs with the Actobotics ones. The result is shown below:


The below shows the mecanum wheel taken apart. The three standoffs you see vertical in the image are the original ones from the wheel. These are about 1 inch long, so you'll be wanting some 1 inch actobotics standoffs to replace them with. When you unscrew the original standoffs then the hub mount part (centre of the red alloy), will be able to fall out and be removed. This lets you screw the Actobotics standoffs on and then on the other side use slightly longer bolts to attach the hub mount to the wheel to get the assembly shown above.


Apart from a clean 6mm hookup for the stepper motors that I plan to use, this is a handy modification allowing the 1/4 inch hub mount or other sizes to be substituted in instead. This is handy if you want to switch from 6mm to 6.35mm (1/4 inch) axles as you can easily change your mind just by changing the actobotics hub mounts.

CraftingType workshopsCrafting Type Returns To Chicago in January

Thomas and Aoife are returning to Chicago to offer another 3 day intensive type design introduction workshop at the excellent Harrington College of Design, perfectly located downtown.

January 30 - February 1

Sign up today!

Ben MartinTerry: Updated Top Shelf

The Kinect is now connected much closer to the tilt axis, giving a much better torque to hold ratio from the servo gearbox. I used some self tapping screws to attach the channel to the bottom of the Kinect. Probably not the cleanest solution but it appears to mount solidly and then you get to bolt that channel to the rest of the assembly. For a closer look the Logitech 1080 webcam is mounted offset from the Kinect. This should give an enjoyable time using the 1080 RGB data and combining the VGA depth mask from the Kinect into a point cloud.


The camera pan/tilt is now at the front of the top shelf and a robot arm is mounted at the back of the shelf. The temptation is high to move the arm onto a platform that is mounted using threaded rod to the back of Terry. All sorts of fun and games to be had with automated "pick up" and move tasks! Also handy for some folks who no longer enjoy having to pick items up from the ground. The camera pan/tilt can rotate around to see first hand what the arm is doing, so to speak.


The wheel assembly is one area that I'm fairly happy with. The yumo rotary encoder runs 1024 P/R and it is attached using an 8:1 down ratio to give an effective "ideal world" 13 bit precision. Yes, there are HAL effect ICs that give better precision, though they don't look as cool ;) The shaft of the motor is the axle for the wheel. It is handy that the shaft is not right in the centre of the motor because you can rotate the motor to move the wheel through an arc, and thus adjust the large alloy gear until it nicely mates with the brass gear on the rotary encoder.



Lower down near the wheels is a second distance sensor which is good for up to around 80cm distance. The scan rate is much slower than the Kinect however.


Things are getting very interesting now. A BeagleBone Black, many Atmel 328s on board, and an Intel j1900 motherboard to run the SLAM software.

Pravin SatputeNext improved release of Lohit Devanagari 2.95.0 with Latin and ttfautohinted.

    Last release of Lohit Devanagari we did in Feb 19, 2014. During the time number of improvements happened in Lohit Devanagari. Today releasing its next version with all the improvements. [1]

    Following are the improvements:
    1. Added Latin from https://github.com/etunni/lohit-latin
            Yes, This happened :)
            I would like to thanks Dave for this, who helped to get Latin for Devanagari done from  Eduardo Rodriguez Tunni. Now one will not feel major difference while rendering of Lohit Devanagari text with Latin since Lohit has Latin coverage itself.


    2. One of the requirement of ttfautohint is to have Latin support in fonts. (AFAIK) Due to this we were not using ttfautohint for building Lohit Devanagari. Now since we have Latin in Lohit Devanagari, we have started building ttf with ttfautohint. It means Lohit Devanagari now requires ttfautohint as a build requirement.

    2. We started compiling feature file with Adobe font development kit. (AFDKO).
            As announced earlier as well.
            Feature file of Lohit Devanagari was not compiling in OTM. [2] Root cause of problem was fontforge is bit relax while validating feature file. Had good discussion with Dave and Frank on this and finally we decided to compile feature file with AFDKO. [3]

            This also helped us to further identified issues in feature file and we fixed those issues in feature file.

    3. Updated sfd file with resolved issues regarding Marathi locale (issue id on github: #46,#47)
            These were local related issues not tested well earlier.

    4. Improved Vedic accent positioning issues. Resolves issue #https://github.com/pravins/lohit2/issues/11

    5. Added new characters uni1cf5 and uni1cf6

    Looking forward for Dave's more support to add Latin in all Lohit script fonts. Enjoy improved version of Lohit Devanagari.  Please report if any issues at github [4]. I have updated fedorahosted.org/lohit [5] page with download details

    I want to verify Lohit Devanagari with Hindi script gramme [6] and make sure it follows all rules. Soon i am going to ping some linguist who can help into this.

Cheers,
Pravin Satpute
1. https://fedorahosted.org/releases/l/o/lohit/lohit-devanagari-ttf-2.95.0.tar.gz
2. https://github.com/pravins/lohit2/issues/13
3. https://github.com/adobe-type-tools/afdko
4. https://github.com/pravins/lohit/issues/new
5. https://fedorahosted.org/lohit/
6. http://www.tdil-dc.in/index.php?option=com_vertical&parentid=79&lang=en

Pravin SatputeFUELGILT 2014 conference and my activities

Last weekend i was fully involved in fuel conference. Lots of things i can share about the conference. Let me first start with my role in it.

1.  Representing Fedora @ conference.
2. My talk about "Why Globalization? world wide picture"
3. Celebrating 10 yrs of Lohit project and workshop on Lohit2.

1. Represented Fedora @ conference.

    We started planning for this event with Fedora Ambassador group well 2 months in advance and designed T-shirts for branding Fedora as a best platform for Language computing. This T-shirt was distributed to all active contributors to promote message Fedora perfect from language computing perspective. Most of them were available in conference wearing this T-shirt, it truly made people aware regarding yes Fedora takes care for language computing aspects and proud for same.


    I met number of people in conference and talked on how can Fedora help them. Specifically mentioned language team is very active in Fedora, most of the innovations happened first in Fedora including IBus, Harfbuzz and Updates regarding Fonts also gets in quickly in Fedora. Fedora i18n team weekly meets AT #fedora-meeting on Tuesday  06:00:00 to 07:00:00 UTC and discuss open issues.

    Analysed issues mentioned by ShivaKumar K.M  regarding corpus processing and requested Biraj Karmakar  to test Fedora 21 for Bengali and provide some report.

    Parag given talk on "How to create hunspell dictionary on Fedora". It was very well attended talk from audience. They learned practically on how to make hunspell dictionary from simple word-list and see it working. It increased there interest on hunspell dictionary. I talked with Omshivaprakash and he suggested it is possible to get some online tool for maintaining hunspell. This is the same thought we were thinking from last couple of months also discussed same with Libreoffice Caolan. Already some work has been done and soon will publish same.


    Parag also demonstrated wordxtr package avaialable in Fedora. He demonstrated it with html page and shown how quickly one can extract words with it.

    Wanted to distribute some Fedora stickers but somehow missed to collect some from Siddhesh before he moves to Phnom Penh, Cambodia for FAD.

    Discussed with Arky about how much language support Firefox OS does has and they also facing same issues which we were face some years back. In Fedora now we have nicely written criteria for language support. I mentioned him, link is here :)


    Event page for FUELGILT 2014 conference

    Overall i am happy with the presence of the Fedora in this conference. Will improve it further in upcoming conference around Language Technology.

    I would like to thanks here Rajesh, Chandrakant and Ankit for supporting activities around Fedora in this conference.

2. My talk about "Why Globalization? world wide picture"

    This was the first talk on second day. We got pleasing but unexpected rain that day. It delayed most of things. Since i was the first speaker most of the arrangements for speakers happened that time. Started talk around 10:15am.


    Its tricky subject to present. In this talk i targeted the users. Mentioned the importance of supporting not only major language of world but also as much as possible on platform. How it is important to preserve first languages of people. I have mentioned couple of important research that has been done to showcase how persons first language is very important. Also how first language can help for effective branding of products.

    Slides are available At slideshare Soon we will have youtube video for my talk.
   
3. Celebrating Lohit 10 yrs of Lohit project and workshop on Lohit2.

    This is moment i was waiting for long time. Though number of plans were there. We decided we will celebrate with cake in conference like FULEGILT where number of open source contributors and users get together.

    Cake arrived on time and we just thought lets start workshop by cutting it.
    Audience suggested Shilpa (present actively working on lohit2), Rahul Bhalerao (past maintainer of Lohit) and me to cut cake together.


    Later we had small presentation on Lohit 10 years. In this presentation Shilpa explained why Lohit project is important, What are the achievement of Lohit project in 10 years and what is plan for future through lohit2 project.

    Already big blog, will write one more to mention things happened in conference. Photo credits to Krishnababu and Bhushan :)

Pravin SatputeCelebrating 10 years of Lohit fonts project

   I am sure in open source it is rare to find people who are not aware of Lohit fonts [1] or not used it over the years. It is default fonts for number of Indian language in Most of the open source distribution including Fedora, Debian. It was used in early version of Android for Indian languages. It is used in Wikipedia as a Web fonts. Recently Unicode started using it for building Tamil code charts.     When talking these are the just few achievement of Lohit project during the time and list is much longer.

Image created by Shilpa
       Numbers of developers from different communities has contributed to Lohit to make it successful project. Of course one cant forget the contribution from Red Hat by continuously supporting it and making sure the open source project will get industry standard open source Indic font.

    Lohit project completing its 10 years this Nov 2014. Luckily the fuelgilt conference 2014 is happening during the same time. We thought its good time to celebrate the 10 years of Lohit in FUEL GILT Conference - the largest event of FOSS language technology.

    Our workshop in Lohit fonts is accepted by conference and it is going to happen tomorrow AT 12:30pm fuelgilt conference, Pune India . [2] If you are around do come to celebrate this success. We are going to talk how Lohit project started, how it remain active during the tough times of non-standardize open type layout shapers. What is stands presently and how Lohit2 project going to make Lohit project as one of the standard reference platform for upcoming fonts developments for Indian language.

1. https://fedorahosted.org/lohit
2. http://fuelproject.org/gilt2014/program


CraftingType workshopsGaslight - Webfont & Desktop font « MyFonts

Gaslight - Webfont & Desktop font « MyFonts:

A participant in Crafting Type Seattle last year has just release Gaslight, a new type family:

(Via twitter)

Ben MartinTerry 2.0 includes ROS!

What started as a little tinker around the edges has resulted in many parts of Terry being updated. The Intel j1900 motherboard is now mounted in the middle of the largest square structure, and SSD is mounted (the OCZ black drive at the bottom), yet another battery is mounted which is a large external laptop supply, the Kinect is now mounted on the pan and tilt mechanism along with the 1080p webcam that was previously there. The BeagleBone Black is moved to its own piece of channel and a breadboard is sunk into the main 2nd top level channel.


I haven't cabled up the j1900 yet. On the SSD is Ubuntu and ROS including a working DSLAM (strangely some fun and games getting that to compile and then to not segv right away).

I used 3 Actobotics Beams, one IIRC is a 7.7 incher and two shorter ones. The long beam actually lines on for the right side of the motherboard that you see in the image. The beam is attached with nylon bolts and has a 6.6mm standoff between the motherboard and the beam to avoid any undesired electrical shorts. With the two shorter beams on the left side of the motherboard it is rather securely attached to Terry now. The little channel you see on the right side up a little from the bottom is there for the 7.7 inch beam to attach to (behind the motherboard) and there is a shorter beam on this side to secure the floating end of the channel to the base channel.



The alloy structure at the top of the pan and tilt now has a Kinect attached. I used a wall mount plastic adaptor which with great luck and convenience the nut traps lined up to the actobotics holes. I have offset the channel like you see so that the center of gravity is closer to directly above the pan and tilt. Perhaps I will have to add some springs to help the tilt servo when it moves the Kinect back too far from the centre point. I am also considering a counter balance weight below the tilt which would also work to try to stabilize the Kinect at the position shown.



I was originally planning to put some gripper on the front of Terry. But now I'm thinking about using the relatively clean back channel to attach a threaded rod and stepper motor so that the gripper can have access to the ground and also table top. Obviously the cameras would have to rotate 180 degrees to be able to see what the gripper was up to. Also for floor pickups the tilt might have to be able to handle a reasonable downward "look" without being too hard on the servo.

There were also some other tweaks. A 6 volt regulator is now inlined into a servo extension cable and the regulator is itself bolted to some of the channel. Nice cooling, and it means that the other end of that servo extension can take something like 7-15v and it will give the servo the 6v it wants. That is actually using the same battery pack as the drive wheels (8xAA).

One thing that might be handy for others who find this post, the BeagleBone Black Case from sparkfun attaches to Actobotics channel fairly easily. I used two cheesehead m3 nylocks and had to force them into the enclosure. The nylocks lined up to the Actobotics channel and so the attachment was very simple. You'll want a "3 big hole" or more bit of channel to attach the enclosure to. I attached it to a 3 bit holer and then attaced that channel to the top of Terry with a few threaded standoffs. Simplifies attach and remove should that ever be desired.

I know I need slip rings for the two USB cameras up top. And for the tilt servo as well. I can't use a USB hub up top because both the USB devices can fairly well saturate a USB 2.0 bus. I use the hardware encoded mjpeg from the webcam which helps bandwidth, but I'm going to give an entire USB 2.0 bus to the Kinect.

OSP (Open Source Publishing)Hachures Tournures Balsamine Print Party

We’re happy to be having the next Print Party in the familiar Balsamine Foyer for the second year in a row! This year as part of a new seasonal program, but also smaller parallel program «Nos Petites Madeleines» and along with the 15 day long Quizaine Numérique we’re going to be presenting Hachures Tourneurs. Following […]

Footnotes