January 6, 2005

Thirsty for Open Source Chinese Character Fonts

Guest writes "A Fonts Project for Global Chinese - Thirsty for Open Source Chinese Character Fonts

A small island, named Hong Kong with 600 million Chinese population, gathering 40 people corporate to create a set of Chinese font containing around 4700 Hong Kong specific characters, embracing to release in open source license. This Fonts will merge with other open source traditional and simplified open sourced Chinese fonts, in order to create a set of Chinese fonts that can be used by all Chinese globally. The motive and accelaration to the project is personal the long waiting need for years.

"Text is a vital part of communication, not only in daily life, but in Internet as well. Hong Kong people have a special need for displaying text properly; not only showing traditional Chinese and simplified Chinese character, but also local characters specific for Hong Kong. The standard has already been established in 1995 by Hong Kong Government, and a set of font has been created. However, this font is not open for public, so it is not used widely. Besides, its quality is not so good. People need a better font which is also open.

There are 2 kinds of font -- Bitmap and True Type. Bitmap font consists of dots, so under specific size it is clear, but can't handle scaling. Conversely, True Type font consists of curves, so scaling works well -- but that doesn't mean True Type is perfect. Because of technical difficulty and restriction from patents, displaying True Type under smaller sizes can sometimes mean blurred or irregular text. However, if we can use Bitmap instead under these small sizes, we get the best from both sides.

Recently, Firefly et. al. from Taiwan managed to merge Bitmap fonts into Arphic True Type font (which is widely available in Linux systems), which has an estimated value of US$300k-500k if sold under commercial license. This means the goal of having nice font for Linux desktop is coming close. However, this font lacks the Hong Kong part, thus here comes our project. We need someone who really see the need for Hong Kong characters, and is willing to help. In the end, we hope a world-wide standard for Chinese font can be established, especially for Linux systems. ""

Link: oaka.org

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