Friday, March 28, 2008

MaraDNS small update

I just dug through my email (there were a couple of spam runs that I had to remove all of the messages of; my dynamic email address makes doing this easier but spammers these days use botnets to grab IPs from web pages) and found four MaraDNS support requests. So this ups my total number of unanswered MaraDNS support questions to five. I hope to have time to look at these emails next week.

Quite frankly, I'd rather look at my pretty neighbor that I met last night who is a college student and seems to like me. We should be hanging out again Sunday afternoon. :) :) :)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Solstice font update

I have been quietly uploading updates to Solstice this week; the main work has been finishing all of the accents and other non-ASCII characters at all seven sizes. I have finally finished that work. Also, the other day I updated the 16-bit size of Solstice so that it's easier to read, as you can see here:

Here, from top to bottom, you can see the 10-pixel, 12-pixel, 14-pixel, and 16-pixel sizes of the bitmap Solstice font. I feel the 12-bit version needs some work; it has too many serifs, which makes the font hard to read a lot of content with for extended periods.

I have also updated the vector fonts; I have made the version number 0.2 in all faces except the mono face (I'm not going to touch the mono face until all of the proportional faces are done), and fixed a bug where the italic face had a significantly larger ascent (was a taller font) than the other typefaces.

It can be downloaded here

I have one (possibly more; I haven't checked the inbox for for a couple of days) pending MaraDNS support email to answer.

Monday, March 24, 2008

MaraDNS 1.3.11 released

I have just released MaraDNS 1.3.11. This is a development version of MaraDNS with new, untested features. The big change I have held back on is Sarton's new build scripts; I want the new build scripts to act just like the old scripts; right now I can't see the commands to compile the various programs, just a generic "Compiling" note.

I have downloaded the GNU Make documentation today, to see if there is anything I can do to change this, so Sarton's fancy build process can be a part of MaraDNS.

A lot of other changes have made it in, however. Download it here and read the changelog here.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Solstice font and MaraDNS update

I have just uploaded an update to the Solstice font here.

There are two or three unresolved MaraDNS issues; I apologize for the delay; I've been busy with work and haven't had a chance to look at Mara for a while now.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Solstice font update

I have updated the Solstice font; the rendering of the basic Latin letters in the "roman" form of the font is essentially done at this point:

Today's snapshot can be downloaded here

Monday, March 17, 2008

One font to rule them all

I have started a new Font, called "Solstice". This is my second attempt to make "one font to rule them all". In other words, I want to have a font that is good enough to be used as the only font on a small "embedded" Linux system. This is useful for mini-Linux distributions, for running Linux on older computers, and for having a single general-purpose font suitable for on-screen reading, editing files, and printing.

In 2007, I attempted to make a screen-readable version of the Bitstream Charter font. This project was, looking back, unsuccessful. Bitstream Charter is a font for laser printers; it is not a screen font. In particular, making it legible below "14" in size is nay-to-impossible.

I finally threw in the towel; my mini-linux system that needs a good screen font uses a bitmap conversion of "Verdana" I call "Vorpal". While this is legal in the USA, the legal status in some other countries is still up in the air.

This time, instead of trying to make a font optimized for 300dpi printers screen readable, I'm making a mostly-libre font designed for the screen one that looks good using old-school non-anti-aliased font rendering technology. The goal is to have a font that looks good on the screen, when printed, and, ideally, can be used as both a monospaced and a porportional font.

I am basing this font off of DejaVu Serif, which in turn is derived from Bitstream Vera Serif. The license is not as good as the OFL; in particular, I have some concerns about embedding a font with this license in PDF files. The license states "The above copyright and trademark notices and this permission notice shall be included in all copies of one or more of the Font Software typefaces." Since the preposition "in" instead of "with" is used here, there is some ambiguity about whether, when making a PDF file embedding this font, one merely has to include the license in the PDF file (this is fairly easily done), or whether the license has to be in the part of the PDF file containing the font information (which is more difficult to do).

Right now, I have taken the font, and had Fontforge make bitmap renderings of the font at various small sizes. I am now, by hand, making those low-resolution renderings as readable as I can at various resolutions. Since Bitstream Vera is a screen font, this is easier to do than it was with Bitstream Charter.

I am doing this with Vera Serif instead of Vera Sans because:
  1. Vera Serif is about as readible on the screen as Vera Sans.
  2. Vera Serif is easier to read when printed out.
Here are my current plans:
  1. Make bitmap renderings of Serif Roman at 8,9,10,11,12,14,16 pixel sizes (current work)
  2. From the Verily project, make a monospace version of Vera Serif that is both a screen and a printing project. This will only be rendered at 12 pixel size on the screen (and will replace misc fixed when done)
  3. Make an oblique version of Vera Serif that only uses the "a" and "f" glyphs from "DejaVu Serif Italic"; I feel the quality of "DejaVu Serif Italic" doesn't have the same quality as "Vera Serif"; so my oblique version will just mostly be a slanted version of V.S.
  4. Make bitmap renderings of Serif Italic at 10,11,12,14,16 pixel sizes.
  5. Make bitmap renderings of Serif Bold at 10,11,12,14,16 pixel sizes.
This font will only exist in Roman, Bold, and Italic forms, and only in Roman form at smaller screen resolutions.

My work on this project can be downloaded here. In particular, unlike my Charter-derived font, this font is, even without full hinting, about as readable as Verdana on the screen. This is even true in Windows XP (Vista is nice because just about any font looks decent on the screen; older systems like XP need fonts made for the screen).

This project is part of my project to update MOAM-CD. I plan on holding on to MOAM-CD 20080217 for a while; it is "good enough" for the amount of time I actually need to use MOAM-CD these days (almost never; I lug my laptop around with me, which seems to be helping develop my muscles, making me more attractive with the latinas). The main change I did was to make as much room for music as possible, since the most common use for MOAM-CD is to put it in my roomate's stereo and listen to music I relax to.

There are bugs to be fixed in MOAM-CD, but nothing I can't work around. For example, RXVT seg faults and dies when trying to use aspell in terminal mode; the workaround is aspell -a < file | grep '^&'

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I got Dillo to compile in Cygwin

I got Dillo to compile in Cygwin. Basically, I removed all dangling references to i18n libraries (I don't use them anymore), and disabled SSL (which doesn't like to compile. Maybe if I added the OpenSSL development libs). I haven't gotten dpid (a daemon Dillo uses for various purposes), but Dillo works for very basic web surfing. Useful for people who want to make sure their web site looks sane in Dillo, or in my case, making sure my up-and-coming bitmap font project looks good when using Windows.

It can be downloaded here (750k compressed tarball)

I have one pending MaraDNS support email to answer.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

All MaraDNS support email answered

I have just answered the last pending MaraDNS support email someone sent me (I couldn't reproduce the issue, and they didn't send me their mararc file, so I pointed out the MaraDNS contact page).

If you recently sent a request for MaraDNS support, and it has not been answered, please resend it; the mail has falled through the cracks.

- Sam