Questions about font packaging, hinting and non-responsive maintainer process

Michael Catanzaro mcatanzaro at
Thu Mar 5 15:02:46 UTC 2015

On Thu, 2015-03-05 at 02:03 +0100, Kevin Kofler wrote:
> Are those hinting instructions manually tuned or autogenerated with 
> ttfautohint? If it's the latter, there's no value in them because Freetype 
> already uses essentially the same autohinting algorithms ttfautohint uses, 
> ttfautohint was developed to provide a similar experience for platforms 
> without such a smart autohinter. But if they're manually tuned, then the 
> hinting instructions can be useful, depending on how well and how completely 
> the work was done. (If only a small percentage of the characters are hinted, 
> it will only degrade the experience because the presence of hinting bytecode 
> makes Freetype disable the autohinter for the whole font.)

Sounds like Kevin knows what he's talking about. I will just add this:

GTK+ (all GTK+ programs not just GNOME ones!) has a setting for hinting
style: choices are None, Light, Medium, and Full. None obviously means
no hints. Light means we ignore the font's native hints and use the
freetype light autohinter. Medium and Full both use the font's native
hints. Medium is the default on Fedora (but not on some other distros),
so hints *are* useful by default. (Unless they are bad hints. Slightly
ironic that Cantarell looks better with the autohinter.)
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