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Re: Resurrecting 'Mac OS X "resource fork" support'

From: Danny Dawson <danny_at_quasistoic.org>
Date: 2006-09-20 10:03:05 CEST

The format wars have a long complicated history, and even though the
fully cross-platform OpenType format has existed for 10 years,
designers are *just now* beginning to recognize the benefits of the
"new" format. A shockingly-large subset of designers still prefers to
purchase their fonts in the PostScript format, and where the money
goes, so does the focus of development.

The primary advantage of the Mac PostScript variant (vs. other
PostScripts) is that it works on the Mac OS. Don't let me mislead you
into thinking I *only* deal with Mac PostScript files - my font
repository contains fonts in all formats, for all platforms. And
they're all equally important.

As for on-the-fly font conversions, there are a number of reasons we
don't or can't:
1. Licensing restrictions. I handle fonts from many foundries, and
several of those foundries expressly forbid the kinds of data
manipulations that would be necessary.
2. It would be less time consuming and resource-expensive to have a
wrapper script around subversion which uses StuffIt to archive and
dearchive fonts on the fly. Which isn't to say the archiving wrapper
is ideal. I'm literally dealing with a repository of tens of thousands
of Mac PostScript files which are accessed and updated frequently. Any
processing-intense wrappers are less than ideal.

I'm actually leaning towards the Rez/DeRez methods (in a wrapper shell
script) I've read suggested in the past for similar situations, but I
just can't seem to get the utilities to work as expected. I always end
up losing crucial data.

When the designers design the fonts, they don't typically do so with
one platform in mind, but they use the font source files to generate
fonts in several different formats. I need to keep those binary files
versioned. It wouldn't be such a big deal if there weren't so many of
them to keep track of. Counting individual files, we're in at least
six figures.


On 9/19/06, Peter Samuelson <peter@p12n.org> wrote:
> [Danny Dawson]
> > 2. Apple's decision to deprecate resource forks happened when?
> > Pre-2003? It's 2006 now and resource forks are still in wide use. One
> > good example of indisposable resource fork use is Macintosh
> > PostScript font files, of which I maintain a development repository
> > of tens of thousands. If the resource fork is stripped from a Mac
> > Postscript font, the file is useless.
> OK, so now I'm curious. I know PostScript fonts are shipped with lots
> of OSes, Windows and Unix included, and no resource forks are involved.
> Are there concrete advantages, besides userbase momentum, to the Mac
> variant format which requires a resource fork? Can a Mac PS font not
> be round-trip converted to a .pfa or .pfb without loss of information?
> If so, I'd suggest using .pfa in your repository, and convert to Mac PS
> as needed, by some sort of build script.
> It just seems odd to me that people would want to design fonts that
> could _only_ be used on a Mac. You'd think they would prefer a format
> that would allow them to sell their font to Windows users too.
> Version: GnuPG v1.4.5 (GNU/Linux)
> iD8DBQFFEJhJXk7sIRPQRh0RAtbcAKCcab4pudgjEscoc7Z0JPJpEPNoJwCcD7hR
> FxERmFfZe5VwUQG1EFkHdRg=
> =4IKq

Danny Dawson
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Received on Wed Sep 20 10:03:20 2006

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