fonts for U7.0 scripts

Peter Constable petercon at
Thu Oct 23 13:03:59 CDT 2014

I think Debbie's position is entirely reasonable. Sure, having useful fonts in the public domain soon after standardization would be great. But publishing fonts created for the purpose of chart production may lead to all kinds of problems if they are not truly functional, Unicode-conformant fonts - which is not necessarily a product of SEI-funded proposal work.


-----Original Message-----
From: Unicode [mailto:unicode-bounces at] On Behalf Of Andrew West
Sent: Thursday, October 23, 2014 1:47 AM
To: Andrew Glass (WINDOWS)
Cc: Unicode Public
Subject: Re: fonts for U7.0 scripts

On 22 October 2014 21:47, Andrew Glass (WINDOWS) <Andrew.Glass at> wrote:
> I think that distributing fonts that are known to be deficient in 
> shaping does not address needs other than reproducing code charts and 
> supressing tofu. Moreover, such fonts create can mislead lead users 
> into thinking that a script is supported when we know that more work 
> remains to be done. When work appears to be complete to someone that 
> can't read a script, then the motivation to address the remaining 
> issues to support that script are undermined. There can also be other negative consequences. I think that making a set of character only fonts available would be against the interests of the SEI and Unicode.

Well, not all scripts have complex rendering behaviour, so for some scripts the code chart font mapped to the correct Unicode code points is all that is needed.

Even for fonts with deficient rendering behaviour or which are mapped to ASCII or PUA code points, if the font was released under the SIL Open Font license or an equivalent free license then people could use it for the basis for a fully functional Unicode font.

> In this respect, I think the effort of the Noto project to including 
> shaping support for complex scripts is commendable. I hope that the 
> current gaps in Noto will soon be filled by suitable fonts so that the need to release 'chart-only' fonts is removed.

I'm a great fan of the Noto project, but as Mark's original question indicates Noto does not supply a solution for newly encoded scripts, and I very much dislike the idea of Google having a monopoly on supplying free fonts for minor and historic scripts.  A code chart font, released under a free license such as the SIL OFL (with any necessary limitations clearly stated) is far and away better than leaving people puzzling over little square boxes for years.

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