The sins of the past – adding Cyrillic glyphs without renaming fonts
The URW Base35 fonts are a great set of fonts, available for free as in free software. They have been part of various distributions and systems since long time. Big thanks to URW for their work. But these fonts don’t have Cyrillic or Greek glyphs. Be it as it is, world would be easy. People would need to use different fonts for these languages. Comes around someone who did the unthinkable – namely adding the Cyrillic and Greek glyphs to the fonts (by now nothing bad), but then NOT renaming the fonts. Here we see one point of the stupidity of GPL and absolute freedom. Because what we now have is that documents produced several TeX engines (in particular XeTeX and LuaTeX) which use fontconfig to search the fonts, suddenly pick up these changed fonts that fake their identity, and what comes out is this, a complete rubbish:
And now we are suffering huge pain from that. Look at the bug reports of that are coming in:
Just to name a few. And there is a simple way to circumvent this: Don’t install gsfonts which guarantees that fontconfig finds the real original URW fonts within the TeX Live tree first.
I have now spent many hours to track down these problems, find the reason, and at the end of the day there is always gsfonts with its broken fonts with added Cyrillic glyphs. I honestly don’t care about the history, there are now many fonts with Cyrillic and Greek glyphs, there is no need to fake fonts, and incorrectly take over font names.
This should be a lesson to all the GPL zealots that require absolute freedom of each and everything. Unfortunately things don’t work like that. Using AND RENAMING is ok, the Knuth license as I would say, but anything else is just a source of much pain.
End for today, I have to go to work now. Real work instead of fighting sins of the past.
Nothing to enjoy here.
Additional information Just to let you know, before starting a flame war, I have already contacted the upstream developers, that is TeX Live, and explained them the situation. I don’t see much chance for fixing, since the problem is with fonts without upstream and support, which are probably only used in Debian (I haven’t seen them anywhere else but some mentioning in RH), and which are not officially supported or distributed. It really needs a nice developer to look into why this breakage appeared. Let us hope. And instead of flaming, anyone here is invited to dig into the code him/herself and search for changes.
Additional information 2015-08-22 Just to back up my complaints and counteract several of the comments: I am quoting from an email of a colleague on the list where we are discussing the problem:
However, the fonts extended by Valek Filippov are quite problematic. The Type1 spec clearly requires that there may not exist two different fonts with the same /FontName. The modified fonts shipped with Ghostscript have the same /FontName as the original fonts donated by URW and not even the /UniqueID was changed. IMO they are broken because they don’t comply with the Type1 specification.
I hope that convinced also the last in doubt.