Live Blog from LGM 2013

These are live blog notes from the Libre Graphics Meeting 2013 held in Madrid Spain.

Usual disclaimer for live blogging: These are informal notes taken by Dave Crossland at the event, and may or may not be similar to what was said by the people who spoke on these topics. Probably if something here is incorrect it is because Dave mistyped it or misunderstood, and if anyone wants corrections, they should email him immediately ( – or post a comment. Thanks!

Gentleman: Thanks for being here … remember there is a crisis and contributors may fear being exploited. this space can be a home for you to contribute autonomously. …

Femke: The LGM has grown in 8 years from an informal meeting to the most important meeting for people interested in tools for digital design practice. Its focus is libre software; we can take it for granted. None of the meeting could have happened without being int he ecology of free cultulre. A codebase, a body of thought, a philispogry, a legal framework, that is what makes this meeting possible.

People have flown in from around the world, people who know each other for a while, who have met on IRC also a long time but never met in the flesh, and those who are new. Thanks to them, its important to be open those who are like us, seriously interested.

We are here to be inspired, to find new peers, to meet old friends, and be challenged by unexpected perspectives. Thats why new people are more than welcome.

This year we added a slogan, ‘future tool’. Do we need one? What does it mean? Future tools, we haven’t fix longstanding bugs. I want to take the meeting serioulsy as a way to do R&D free software style. We dont have big companies to think about what the future will bring, its here that we will do this together.

In the context of rapidly developing web tech, creative coding, lowering barriers to entry for new users, it seems a good time to ask these questions. I want to bring you all together as artists, designers, developers, and find a way to all speak to each other and learn from each other.

This is the best moment to sit around the table, share expeiences, and share ideas. Think about what needs to be done on the list from yesterday and what to put on the list for tomorrow.

Lady: We are focusing on collaboration in tools. We are in a new building we are inaugrating and we have a chance to present these processes to more people. The interactios workshop, tools for a editable world, starts on Monday next week. Before then we have presentations of the 9 projects that will be worked on. The model is to incorporate anyone who is interested in the project, we welcome all kinds of profiles, people and skills to be invovled, full time or part time. 2nd, the libre graphics workstations downstairs, in operation for some months now, and these are open for study and use by anyone, profesisonals or amateurs, to learn and research and develop their projects there. We’ve been in collaboration with 2 design schools in Madrid, their tutors and students have helped a great deal. I also want to invite you to participate in the workstations this week, open laboratories interconnected to bring together different worlds, and present the projects and initatives to the general public. we hope visitors to the medialab prado will see all the projects being developed in this space in the building. also, teh communication campaign we put together to increase the profile of this meeting; we’ve been working with the lafkon (?) study to incorporate the questions of users and the public, how they see the world of libre graphics.

– – – –

We have this huge screen on the side of this building. We made a space invader game, it was great. we held a workshop on how to make games for it. but its a very low resolution, a special computer to drive it. we wanted to open the screen to more participants. a huge expensive things, we wanted more use.

we have this web app for this. a programming env. we dont use the traditional langauges, processing or open frameowrk; we use the JS version of processing. you write processingjs code.

– – – –

Fonts of DOOM

– – –

In Producing OSS, Karl Fogel asks, why do volunteers contribute to libre software?

He says understanding their motivations allows us to attract more contributions. The mortality rates is also often unexamined. Then we can understand the rules to share recognition and status. These are important concepts, more important than we might think.

Elinor Ordstrom has a book, el gobierno de los bienes comunes. There are rules on status and rules on surveillance and protection. in Wikipedia there are patrols to eliminate errors and fix vandalism. Ordstrom studied those who took advantage of a commons.

Another factor is how to make a living.

When Felipe and I started to work, I thought of Franz Boaz, a German anthropoloist who went to Canda and the US. He went to Canada and met with trides and documented the potlatch. Its an economic practice that can hepl to understand the way these communities work. What happens in Wikipedia is like what Boaz write about. ‘The social organization and secret societies of the Kwakiuti Indians’

The potlatch is a yearly ritual, where those who wanted to be chiefs woudl give away all their belongings or burn them or break them or share them. there are 2 functions to share things and destroy them. what sense does it make from an economic perspective, for a 21st century person? it also didnt make sense for 19thC misionaries. They saw it as a mental problem. There were times when lots of material goods were burned. It was a ‘differential logic’ as anthropologists call it. If I wanted to be chief, I must transform my material goods into symbolic goods. The chief would not have symbolic power with material goods; the social capitial came from the phsyiscal capital. That’s the basic idea.

Felipe started the big databases of wikipedia, and i started interacting with wikipedians. my username was boaz, so people could trace my background 😉

There was a long tradition in native american culture about how people gained their names. Wikipedia handles are similar.

Karl Polanyi studied pre capitalist production methods, a famous anthropoligist. If we look at captirlaim, labour had to find its price, currencies were self regulared. But in libre software, there is no price for labour, it is intangible. There is no logic of accumulating financial captial. So people see it as an anomaly. In my studies I have met many people who express this view. They can’t understand how it works the way it does.

There are different logics of accumulation of capital. Altruism can create interest; that disinterested behaviour can create interest. In the academy, there is fear that has little to do with the world, that knowledge is shared freely, makes important value for students in their careers. We see that logic in wikipedia also.

Another scholarly comment: People talk about libre software as a gift economy. But it is not. Marcel Mauss write about this. The gift economy he defined as a gift cirle, you give me somethign and i give you in return. but in a gift economy, its not automatic. if i give a present, you are not obligated to gift me back. its not disintereted behaviour. its not a question of something in return, its something else. that was our hypothesis.

This is for wikipedia: if i give my time, work, knoweldge, i expect acknowledgement and prestige. that is the only captiral in the community. how is this carried out? i dont know if you’re familiar with other parts, the back stage, its less well known. wikipedia is strictly regulated.

– – –

Tau Meta Tau Physica
Susan Spencer

The Tau Meta Tau Physica open source patternmaking software is calling for collaborators to create an interactive prototype built to HTML5 specifications using Processing.js. Tau Meta Tau Physica replicates manual patternmaking processes in code. The project is focused on generating sewing patterns. The current menu-driven batch application is written in python and runs only on Linux. Implementing the software with Processing.js will allow the program to run on multiple operating systems and will add an interactive user interface. Collaborators will be re-designing the software engine, user interface, and project roadmap. Collaborators will learn how to use Tau Meta Tau Physica to create design patterns. The resulting code, design patterns, video and documentation will be posted on the website.

Susan: I tried prototypes as Inkscape Extension, Java, Python… Javascript won. Our web app will be at

The alpha is at

The idea is that non-libre and libre patterns can be published in the same format, and the non-libre items will have warrantees.

We’re better positioned for collaboration, we I’d love to chat to Kune about adding all their features to this.

Q: magnatune sells CC music; when you said the library will offer free and commercial patterns, will there be commercial libre patterns too?

A: RMS sent me an email out the blue, they wanted to make sure all patterns were libre. the code itself will be GPLv2+ which i find a good unviersal license for any libre sofwtare, it allows the right things, prevents the wrong things, its loose in its defintion of everything else. the output of the code will be CC licensed, patterns are artworks in US, so the drwaings are copyright, the pattern itself is copyright, and so if the users understand their patterns can be licensed the way they wish, under CC, I think the CC can cover all bases. Any garment you make with the patterns aren’t covered by these licenses.

Q: why processingjs instead of paper.js or raphael?

– – –

Friday April 12th

10:00: Free-ness as an aspect of type design.

Vernon Adams

Looking at how libre fonts have driven type technology on the web. Argues that on the web, ‘being free’ is a vital technological aspect of a font, just like ‘legibility’ or ‘foreign language support’. Looks at how libre fonts have been adopted in huge numbers by designers of the web, and how libre fonts can enable high levels of usage and adoption that proprietary fonts cannot allow. Looks at how libre font designers could learn a few lessons from the fashion industry to inform on “what fonts will be used the most?”

I’m Vernon Adams, I’m a typeface designer and I mostly make libre fonts. I’m talking about freeness as a technical aspect of type design.

Here’s an Emil Ruder quote from 1969, a swiss modernist graphic designer and typographer. ‘Typography has one plain duty before it and that is to convey information in writing. A printed work that cannot be read becomes a product without a purpose.’

I’m suggesting that if we take that logic to today, then libre fonts have the most utility for typesetting the information on the web today. So I see freeness as any other aspect o type; like legibility, cross platform functining, etc.

Why has REAL, active tet become so important to the web?

‘Real’ means its actual text in HTML, not images of text. Such real text is key to the web. Why?

Its very fast to load, compared to bitmaps or flash. searched, indexed, cached, mined, tagged. it can be easily share, copied, redsitributed.

Visually it can be scaled wihtout loss of resolution or clarity.

You can style it with CSS and ‘themed’ in that way.

Most importantly; people produce A LOT OF TEXT on the web.

So, the solution to this was in implemtning CSS3, the @font-face rule. I expect you’re familiar with this, you upload your font to your web server, call the URL from a style sheet, and any page can render text with that font file.


But there was a big problme; proprietary licensing was designed for single or multiple users, but not MASS amounts of users – readers. The licensing didn’t allow redistribution of fonts like this.

Proprietary fonts used with @font-face could be easily downlaoded, and this was seen as a huge problem by proprietary font publishers.

But today, everyone is a publisher. In print, most people were passive readers. today everyone has a website, we all need fonts. before, fonts were TOOLS FOR PROFESSIONALS. but now we all need fonts.

My response to this situation was to make libre fonts for the web.

Here’s an example, Oswald.

I designed this from the ground up to be a libre, easy to use and popular typeface. Here’s a quote from SOCAL professor Johanna Blakley – ‘I see fashion as an example of an industry that emonstrates that sometimes strict ownership regimes are not th be way way to monetize things, to sell goods, or to increase innovation. A lack of ownership can also be a kind of incentive.”

She says that fashion isn’t subject to a dynamic where people can say “I can do that too” – not counterfeiting. She says it leads to: Democratisation of fashion design; faster emergence of new trends; incentive to create new trends; and acceleration in creative innocation.

Oswald is a classic 20thC Gothic typefaces, I looked at a lot of mid 20th C faces and mashed them together. I made many design choices that make it suitable for the web.

In the first 12 months, its development was done in a ‘release early release often’ style, I got feedback from users and made updates every few weeks.

It got picked up by the Occupy movement of their ‘free toolkit’ for making posters.

Its seen 650M+ times per week, its the 2nd most popular web font in the world after Open Sans which Google uses on its own websites as its corporate identity type.

This is how I concieved it, I wanted it to be a free, easy to use and popular face and that’s what its become.


Nahtan Willis: You say freeness is a attribute of type now. The FSF has the 4 freedoms, and I guess the feedback you get about change requests is part of that. Have you seen people directly modify it?

Vernon: Its rare for libre fonts. It doesn’t happen a lot that people fork designs into new ones. I have had people send me Greek or Cyrillic or other fixes directly, though.

Nathan Willis: Freedom to study it, how do you see freeness, in terms of improving the ability of people to learn from fonts.

Vernon: As much source material as possible is good to share for that. Scanning sketches, even. As much as possible makes it easier. I try to do that as much as time permits on my blog. others just make the final font under a free license, but thats ok too.

Femke Snelting: I’m not worried about this myself, but type designers say that with the move to ePub and web, how will they make a living? can you tell us about how to survive giving your fonts for free?

Vernon: I start by a mixture of being paid to make libre fonts, by Google, doing custom work, customising libre fonts for people who want an extra weight who will pay for that just for them. i dont see a conflict, people aspire to sell their fonts and they don’t manage it. i think they could make more money with libre fonts. you see that now, even larger foundries respond to this, by making libre fonts because it keeps them int he spotlight, in the market. you survive by getting your brand out there.

Dave Crossland: Do you think reserved font names are important? if i modify oswald, can i call it ‘oswald next’?

Vern: I have a loose relationship to my work, I’m happy for people to do what ever they want. If it was a propreitary foudnry, taking it and trying to proprietorize it, that would be an issue for me. The font name, thats a licensing issue. I’m not sure how the OFL is with this.

Dave Crossland: the OFL has the RFN as OPTIONAL. do you take the option?

Vernon: No, I’m happy for someone to take Oswald and call it “Oswald Something”

– – –

How we wrote a FontForge manual in three days

How we wrote a FontForge user manual in three days
Nathan Willis, Vernon Adams (t.b.c.)

In December five people representing FontForge joined two other free software projects at Google’s 2012 Documentation Camp; there the team participated in a FLOSSManuals-run book sprint and produced “Start Designing With FontForge: a guide to making type.” This talk is a report on our experience with the “unconference” portion of the camp, and on what we learned during the intensive writing-sprint portion of the week (not to mention the process of maintaining the book since). The book sprint format forces participants to think about their documentation in a new light, and it offers real benefits to any project whose users are not other developers. Focusing on the reader has even helped change the conversation about FontForge development in the intervening months.
Nathan Willis is a part-time type designer, full-time free software advocate.

The ‘how’ of this isn’t so interesting. We used booki software. Whats interesting is what we learned about writing a manual quickly and fontforge itself. There’s thing about our process you might find useful.

We? It was Verno ADams, Ben Martin, Eben Sorkin a professional designer in Boston, Jason Pagura a hobbyist in type design for a long time in the bay area.

and Molly Sharp, who works at O’Reilly and is an editor.

Vern and Eben are trained professional type designers. Jason has been around a long time, knows FF really well, and

Ben is someone who looked into the abyss of the source code. I am an hobbyist type designer too and a tech journalist, writing 1,000s of words a week about libre softwarefor years. so thats useful for a documentaion project.

Vern and Eben are very different type designers. Vern is a active FF user, answers FF questions, Eben is not as active or experienced with FF but is a theorist and likes to talk about type in general. They both lecture a lot too.

So, Google host in Mountain View a Summer of Code ‘Doc Camp’ – in December, of course – and so you get a mix of people who can attend that. The GSoC office hosted it, but FLOSS Manuals ran the event on the ground.

FLOSS Manuals is great, been around a long time, and if you don’t know it check it out. The sprint events is a new idae, to gather a team in a place for 5 days to make something in that time.

FLOSS Manuals runs on free software but is not requried to to be used for that.

3 libre software projects were picked, EVergreen ILS, eToys (a kids programming system based on squeak) and FontForge. We all follow the same pattern:

1. 2 Unconference days together to brainstrom our projects and see what a manual is like

2. 3 writing days

You see everyone faces the same problems, keeping it up to date, having users and developers speak the same language.

At the end of the week, there’s a Print on Demand shop that produced the books OVERNIGHT. I have one in my hand here.

The Booki software produces eBook formats too.

So, first day you decide the title for the book. The title determines the scope of the book. Decide the Table of COntents. They you split up and have everyone write a chapter each – in parallel.

Then you review each other’s chapeter. And then it gets done! 🙂

Book Type is managed by Source Fabric who make journalism software. It was called Booki when FLOSS Manuals maintained it.

Its a WYSIWYG book editor. It can lock chapters, allows to comment on things… its better than a plain text entry field.

It output HTML, ePub, PDF… It uses Calibre.

So, the title was “Start designing with FontForge, a GUIDE to making type” – its a GUIDE, not a manual,

When you make a book in a week, you must relearn the application, thinnk of the POV of the reader.

You learn the user see their tasks, see their inefficiences and unused features.

There is a finality about making a book. Its not like a wiki where you make a ToC and never finish it.

10:40 Designing a Libre Font Specimen Book
Manuel Schmalstieg,
This talk presents the outcome of an intense 5-day graphic design workshop, during which a team of twelve students (of HEAD University of arts and design, Geneva) created a book of type specimens entirely made with libre fonts. The book has been mass-produced with cheap print-on-demand technology. This book will be an unprecedented graphic item, since it differs from previously existing specimen books in various ways:
* It will focus on “body type” – type that is suitable for long reading. No futuristic display fonts, no cybernetic ninja glyphs, no blood-dripping zombie script. Body type – workhorse fonts for real content. The most unforgiving stress-test for a typeface.
* It won’t aim for quantity. We won’t try to impress the reader by the number of fonts included in the book. The fonts will have all the space they need to breathe and show their character.
* It will be an open book, the source (Scribus) files will be openly available and invite further modifications and improvements by other designers. The repository is here (you can already see some first alpha tests):

When you read a long text, you don’t want to see beautiful letters you want to read the text. the font should become invisible. this depends on the langaue, as the texture of text changes between Spanish and German.

So type publishers make specimen sheets. Here’s a Caslon one. A specimen page on Google Fonts looks like this; short paragraphs, and titles are different sizes. In a small space the type publishers shows off the font; they want to show what it can do and they want to sell it.

This is the famous FontBook by FontShop. 100s of fonts. Each has a few lines showcasing it. It has short paragraphs of only 4 lines, so this was always very frustrating as its like a musician selecting a sound from a sound library

They stopped making the book now, just an iPad app, but paper is essential for me as type looks different on screen.

Also the Free Font Index (but its freeware not libre fonts) book.

So these books haev too many fonts, but too little space for each font, and always the same Quick Brown Fox text or Lorum Ipsum.

print on demand allows type produces to make their own specimen books. Jean Baptise Levee, for example, makes these books showing the beauty of the glyphs and curves, its nice and impressive, but for use cases like books and magazines its not useful.

You have too little paragraph text samples and too much title text.

With libre fonts, Print on Demand, we can just make our own for libre fonts! 🙂

If you make your own specimen book with propreitary fonts you’d need to be rich to buy licenses for everything you MIGHT use.

I like the booksprint idea, so I suggested it at the RMLL in Switzerland. I suggested it to design schools but had no interest, then by chance I got a gig at the design department in Geneva.

I got a dozen design students for a week to do it.

Rules of the project: Any libre font, useful for text, and make the book as open as possible; libre software, documented, source files available.

First, we designed a good specimen layout. Looked at many existing ones. Lots of discussions. Sudents wanted lots of white space, I wanted ots of text 😉

Also we had a search for the sample text to use in the layout. Its a tricky choice too. Fred Smeijers ‘Type Now’ book was great for us, he has some pages of type specimens, and he uses a single stream of text thorughout all the pages. Its a text written by PLantin about the production of type in the 16th centiry. So you can READ the real text, as well as look at it.

It must be French text, public domain, and w found “l’eve future” that inspired Mechanical Bride and Blade Runner. Its 85,388 words, so would it have enough text for us? 15 specimen layouts per perosn, 12 people, X words per specifmne, yes.

So we did it! The book exists, you can buy it online via Amazon, and we have copies here.

The sources are on github, I got all the students commiting. We also had some interaction with the designers of the fonts like @omnibustype. A debate in the school if we could publish it?

I thought would like them do things freely at the start and then go to scribus. But that didn’t work, the time pressure means to decide the tools at the start.

Conclusions: get the book, make your own!

Q: How much is the book cost? Can we buy it here?

A: Its €15 or trade me something 🙂

– – –

10:50 It takes a team to make a font
Alexei Vanyashin,
The world of libre web typography is developing at a fast pace. More and more websites and blogs benefit from using opensource typefaces. Bloggers become more experienced in tailoring properties of webfonts to suit their need. Still not everybody truly understands how these typefaces are created. This talk will throw light on the process of designing type. Producing high-quality fonts requires a team of collaborators. This includes a type designer, type director, kerner, and hinter. I will share my collaborative experience that resulted in releasing 30 opensource fonts for the Google Web Fonts library, and explain how the team interactions work. My other focus will be on the co-authorship aspect of developing opensource multiscript fonts. Recently I assisted many designers in their efforts to add Cyrillic extensions to their work. My job is to ensure that the Cyrillic forms are correct, while the designers are responsible for the graphic details of their typefaces. For this purpose I launched — an educational blog with the aim of openly spreading knowledge on the subject, and helping designers create their first Cyrillic.

I am a designer from Russia, my foundry is Cyreal. We make libre fonts in Russia, Ukraine and Armenia. We’ve made 27 families for use and download in Google FOnts, and here are some.

This is Podkova, and sometimes we have outside contributors who modify them and fork them. One is Fajne Fonty who made a localized polish verision.


This is Lora. Its very popular on the web. its good in text.

Volkhov, another 4 style family. Its the body font for the LGM field book, tahnks!

That our fonts are libre maens thy can be embedded in mobile apps. MarvinApp is ebook reader that uses Lora and Volkhov.

All fonts are SIL OFL.

Here is Lobster, we see it everywhere. I made a Cyrillic for it.

Here’s a design workshop in Moscow that used it. A state project used it. A student ‘Lobster Face’ project, student web proejcts using it. Burger Kind in Lviv used it. Flying here to Madrid, the in flight magazine uses it in its logo!

Lobster has ligatures and terminals and I made these

Jacques Francois, a revival with a shadow version, you can combine them too.

Wire One, a modular font. with dot terminals.

Junge is a calligraphy revival. This is a hitning test of it. It was published in TypoDarium.

This is Vidaloka, which has Cyrillic.


Artifika. Vern has made Tienne, a mix of Artifika and Droid.

Another project is with the aim to openly spread knowledge on how to design correct cyrillic. Here is the work I do; a collaboration with Eduardo Mazo, here is a colalboration with Georg Duffner on EB Garamond.

If you make a cyrillic type, email me! I will provide feedback.

I would like to invite you to a modular type workshop at 14.30.


Vernon Adams; What are the practicalities of collaboration?

Alexei: SOmetimes the hinter spot a mistake, 4 eyes better than 2 🙂 Contributors from outside, they ask permission to modify the type. THey can release it as a fork or they can submit the change to be included in the official update. We have a request for bold styles, but then that person is making it for themselves.

Manuel: Does working on libre fonts change the way you work in contrast to a traditional foundry?

Alexei: We are open to any collaborators. That more people are involved is different. In a prorpetairy prijects, its closed, you don’t share trade secrets. I’m thinking of pushing our projects to github so its easier to submit changes for inclusion.

Erik Schriver: What does github do to your workflow?

Alexei: Yeeah, pushing projects on Github, we need sources in various format, FontLab, FontForge, etc. So its easier to collaborate. Poeple use a variety of font editors.

11:00 Unified Typeface Design

Raphaël Bastide,

Unified Typeface Design is a proposal for the standardization of typeface design in an open source context. It also aims for the promotion of open source typography by introducing a transversal and flexible classification. Technically, UTD is a folder architecture to organize font sources, inspirations and references. It is also a JSON file containing useful meta informations about the typeface and its repository.
Raphaël Bastide, graphic designer, hacker, open source evangelist, was born in 1985 in Montpellier, France. He currently lives in Paris and works as a freelance graphic designer and artist.

Hi! I’m Basti, I’m a french graphic designer and artist. and i like to use libre software and fonts in my work.

A question I pose, How to find a font? Today? I have some difficulty to find fonts, its important for graphic designers to find the one they want, precisely and quickly.

Find them by license, because I want to use libre fonts. I would like to find fonts that are similar to a font I can think of. And I would like to have tags from the designers and from myself to find things in anyway; a feeling, a time period – tags extend they way we can find things.

And existing classifications, but I thnk they are not so useful any more for the contemproary variety of designs.

So, first we must identify a font. Where to find one? One your hard disk? Its not my workflow though, most designers don’t want 10,000s of fonts on their font list. So the answer is to find them on the web.

That’s the best way to find fonts with a libre license.

So how can we identify libre fonts on the web?

My idea was to have a standardised repository layout for libre font projects. Sources, doucmentaiotn and a design guide so that if i fork it, i can know the idea of the design. binaries and web font formats, specimen images and also in use images and links to see how others use it.

We need a METADATA file too, for listing contributors, tags, related fonts, and the tools used to work with the source files and to recreate similar shapes if the shapes come from a tool’s shapes. and i like to know this trivia 🙂

Who can profit from this?

Type Designers can find it convenient to use.

Font users get more files.

All the libraryes (OFLB, GWF, LOMT, TypeKit, etc) can use it

Its on github! Please enter the discussion there, let’s make a standard we can all use! 🙂

(My slides are made with Whois Mono)

Ludi: Thank you, I think this is an important project. I like the categories and metadata on the history of the project, and I think its good to highlight the licensing of the fonts.

Basti: I agree, there is a long effort to have designers read and understand licenses.

– – –

11:10 The development of ttfautohint, a TrueType auto-hinter

Werner Lemberg
I will talk about ttfautohint, a tool to add automatically generated hints to TrueType fonts, based on the auto-hinter from the FreeType library: its development, combined with some technical detail, its history, the current state and its future.
On the computer side, I’m the maintainer of FreeType and GNU troff, also authoring the CJK package for LaTeX and working on German word lists and hyphenation patterns. On the musical side, I’m a conductor, composer, and singers’ coach working in Vienna.

This is a amsll project, an autohinter for TrueType font that uses the fretype autohinting engine.

You take a unhinted font (TTF or TTC) and you send it to the program and it returns a hinted font. The basic idea is that font editors will use this as basic hinting and improve it as needed. Automation can never be perfect!

This small project is a library, so it can be included in editors. Its still under development, though.

I have 2 simple programs to use the library, a CLI and a GUI with Qt.

This is the Qt framework on my GNU+Linux box. Qt is fully cross platform. I provide a windows binary, but i still need time to fully investigate making Mac OS X packages. You can compile it easily yourself. But I didn’t reach a point to make my own Mac OS X budnle.

Why do you need this program?

The number of people who are capable to do TT hinting is limited. This makes it expensive. Hinting a large family is very expensive.

If you don’t do high level hinting, using Microsoft Visual TrueType, if you dive into the real TT code, you will see its a black art. It looks like low level assembly code. The number of people who can work with it is very limited. A handful in the whole world!

ttfautohint is freely available, the same license as FreeType, GPL or FreeTYpe, and its fast: You press the button and its done in half a second.


Whatever resolution I select on my laptop won’t be what you see on the projector, so you are welcome to look at these slides offlne.

Liberation Serif is a good exaple, we can show it unhinted, with ttfautohint, and with its top quality hand hinting that is expensive.

So this is unhinted, this is hand hinted.

Ttfuatohint has 2 modes, smooth and strong hinting.

Smooth means the stems can go more to the grid but not totally. If you go totally, you change the color of the texture of the font.

So I think the color of the overall font with smooth ttfuaothinting is better than hand hinting.

If you look at the small size, you can see strong hinting gives more blackness.

So it depends what you want to do; for older ClearType versions the strong hinting is better. ClearType uses a small grid vertically, and if you don’t have strong hinting, you can get very thick lines that are unpleasant.

So for this font, the results of ttfautohint are good!

Here is a magnification of the 4 hinting types.

TTFautohint doesn’t change the vertical lines, so look only at the horizontal lines. On today’s screens we have subpixel rendering so horizinal resoluation is high enough to not need hitning.

How does it work?

There is a 10 year old paper in TUGBoat by me and David Turner, and the ttfautohint documetantion also explains how it works.

Here is a view in fontforge showing the effect of the hitning. with smooth hitning you see some pixels are grye, with strong hinting they are white and the shape is totally aligned to the grid.

The autohinted looks at a global level then the per glyph local level. it finds a baseline, x height line, cap line. Then it tries to align important parts of a glyph to these and the pixel grid.

An important part is a stem: 3 consecutive points, control points or real points, that are aligned horizontally. if ttfautohint finds that line, its a SEGMENT. it will then try to align all segments on a line.

So in this $ you see the bottom of the S moving.

So then it looks for other important points, like corners.

Finally, it calls the ‘interpolate’ function; so after moving the important points, it then aligns all other points with them.

The past

Dave Crossland had the idea for this, he contacted me in 2010 to put freetype hinting back into fonts for non freetype renderers. In 2011 I got funding and in June 2011 I released 0.1. We did a pledgie and got a lot of money from Google, Android, FontLab and Extensis WebINK.

I went 0.1 0.2 0.3 fast, and got to 0.9 when I was far from 1.0. So now I’ve released 0.95 and expect 1.0 later this year.

The future

OpenType support thanks to Harfbuzz by behdad (and handling non CMAP glyphs)

Support for more scripts. Sometimes it would be good to have Greek, Cyrillic and Hebrew handled with different ‘global’ values to Latin.

Ways to control the output, fine tune it…

A big long term goal is to make this library integrated in font editors, so that you can use it as a base for hand hinting.

Right now I’m busy with another freetype project, but then I will try to revive the pledgie campaign, so if you are interested in this topic, please don’t hesitate to give me money.

Alexei: Do you have a specific idea for autohinting cyrillic? how is it different for latin?

Werner: no, the algo is the same, but the bluezones will be different. I can imagine a cyrillic set of glyphs have a different cap height. these details can be adjusted; the global parameters can be adjsuted to cyrillic. freetype has a hinter for CJK, they are so different to latin. but LGC are the same for the algo. Arabic even works okay with this algo, but it and Hebrew have very different global zones than latin. When ttfautohing is published with cyrillic support I welcome your detailed feedback 🙂

11:30 Design and LibreOffice

Miroslav Mazel
A run-down of what the LibreOffice Design team is working on and how people can help

I’m aprt of the LO design team, just 3 volunteers. We dont get much done as other teams; the most common qustion people ask, is will there be a new UI? people suggest, remake the UI totally in the next version. we dont have develoeprs or designers to do that.

instead we do gradual redesign. we focus on what our developers want to do.

We did an Impress Remote design; we did a template manager. we did a new button theme. We bundle some libre fonts, Source Sans Pro, PT Serif. We designed some templates too.

There a 2,000+ icons, we have 2 themes, ‘flat icons’ and updating the current tango theme.

We don’t have many developers interested in UX changes. we propose ‘easy hacks’ to help generate interest, as there are some things very easy to change.

We’d also like font library integration. If you send a presentation that uses a libre font, LibreOffice can download it for you from a library (GF, OFLB, etc) so the presentation works correctly.

If you would like to contribute, or if you have ideas how to involve more developers, please let me know

Q: The LibreOffice DOM and scripting interface is messy. Are you interested in designing a cleaner scripting interface?

A: I’ve not heard about that

– – –

12:00 Libre Cinema! Apertus Axiom: the open digital cinema camera

Jehan Pagès,

Apertus Axiom will be the first ever open digital cinema camera designed from scratch with openness in mind. The image sensor of choice is the CMV12000 from Cmosis. To ultimately build it, we are working to create a simplified prototype, the Axiom Alpha, whose technical details are still to be ironed out:
We will present shortly the Apertus Axiom cinema camera, the software ecosystem, and the Apertus project as a whole; and will follow-up by a question-answer session. Because Libre Graphics are not only about software, it is also about Libre hardware!

Here is the Arriflex Camera 16ST from 1952, here is a Sony F62 in 2012. The features improved, 3d, high framerate, but as it improved our freedom decreased.

STickers taht say ‘do not remove, warranty voided if removed’!

In 2006 there was a forum on cameras, and a DIY community started around the Elphel cameras. but it wasnt what we wanted for cinema, its used in google street view.

so 2011 the project begins, and in 2012 we won an award at ars electronica, and created an austraian non profit and a branch company ‘apertus’ in belgium.

In 2013 we plan to use crowd funding to make this happen.

one of the first prototypes was used in the artic!

we have a stereoscopic prototype.

– – –

12:20 Make The Movies Free

Sirko Kemter,
In 2001 a professor came up with a new license system for creative work, Creative Commons. In 2004 the first movie under this license system was published. The newspaper called it an “Open Source Movie” but is it a such one? What is an open source movie, is there a definition for them? What is the status of open source movies, do they have a chance? What are the problems of movie makers with open licenses? How to do business with open movies? Are there enough open source tools or the right one to produce open source movies?
The talk will give an overview on the open movie scene and try to give to all this questions an answer.
Sirko is since more then 15 years heavily involved into the floss community, he works and worked on different projects. Was long time chief of program at RadioTux, works for different floss events as graphic designer, propagates the use of free software in talks and workshops. Wrote a Inkscape book and a lot of things more.

12:40 It’s 2013. Do You KNow Where My Free Vector Animation Software Is?
Nina Paley,

In 2008 I vowed that the only animation software I’d switch to, once I had to give up Macromedia Flash 8, would be Free software. Unfortunately in 2013 I’m still using my old copy of Flash on an old system, because the Free tools I need don’t exist yet. So I’d like to help make them exist, whether it’s a massive Synfig UI overhaul, or something new built from scratch. In this talk I will elaborate on the kind of tools I need, how I currently use Flash, and what I as a non-coder could contribute to such a project: publicity, fundraising, testing and some direction. I have a new feature film in the works which, if made on this not-yet-extant tool, could help popularize it.

I’ve been usign Flash since 2000. Not flash websites, video; i use the magnificnet Flash authoring tool. Adobe bought them and removed the high quality quicktime output options. I needed the pro video output it used to have. That’s the risk of proprietary software!

It happened to me.

I swore I would get new software that is libre software. In 2005.

There is still not good, mature libre vector animation software. I came here to see what the state of things are. I met constantine, Mr Synfig, Mr 2P (?) and chat with them.

Nothing in libre grpahics is mature. ANywhere near as easy and simple, 2p is easy and simple but lacks features; Synfig is powerful but insane, its very opaque. It would take me a long time to learn. They depend on SVGs. But weird distortions can happen to SVGs when they are animated.

So, what are the issues?

My new film is illegal. I’ve totally ignored copyright and licenses, use anything I want. What I do should be fair use, but it might not be. Whatever.

If there was a foundation or something, we’d have to be legal, if that was hitched to my project, its something to think about. Do you really want to work with a crazy perosn like me?

This is a preview of the new project, done in Flash.

[The end credit is,


Please copy and share


So this is quite simple as far as pro animation goes. I could try Blender. Is anyone from Blender here?

The more I learn the less I know. I really want good libre vector animation software to exist.

People say, learn to code and make it yourself. When I say I’m committed to free culture, my passion is in the art. Your passion is the code. I want to see pictures move, it won’t work for me to stop doing that and learn to code. I’m too old. If software I want, I might have to upgrade to proprietary software. The movies will be as libre as I can make them, of course.

Q: Why not Blender?

Nina: I don’t know. Its 3d. I hear its comple. Synfig is also complex. Flash is light an elegant. Maya and AfterFx are like tanks. I just want a bicycle. I think it might be ‘too much’ – but maybe not. It has a huge developer community and it has MONEY. That’s the next thing for me.

Q: You can volunteer to direct their next movie. They have 2D graphics stuff now.

Nina: Yes, but my next movie will be illegal and I don’t want to involve others in my illegal activities.

Eric Screiver Q: Its interested to say, I don’t care about licensing, when reaching out to this community. we are divergent and diverse; these licenses are one of the ways we found to have something in common, a social contract that binds us to work together. if you say, blender foundation won’t want to deal with your position, it will make it harder to join the wider movement.

Nina: The movie overall is illegal but all the assets will be legal. Could be used in another project. Its mostly the SONGS that are a problem, and have historical value, so I think its fair use, but governments don’t see it that way.

Eric S Q: Okay, interesting to be civilly disobdenient in a articulated way, but the discourse around it, the movie has things that are illegal, but the whole discourse around it is interesting.

A: Life is short, making art is the most important thing.

Ricardo Lafuente: The idea you need a good free replacement for Flash. I thought that, moving from Photoshop to GIMP. When I get used to GIMP, you find thats the other way round to Photoshop for me now. I wonder, why you don’t try using the libre tools. No criticism, a suggestion: Try them, its 10x harder to make anything, it took me a year to move to GIMP, but then you can say you’re in Synfig, I’m miss A B and C. Everyone wants you to use their tools.

A: I hear you. I try. I have a dedicated GNU+Linux box. It crashes, it doesn’t work, its a mess. If someone is as committed as me, and has that bad an experience, that is not good. I was in NYC, I got a lot of help. Then I though “What is wrong with me” but then I realised its just not mature. 2P is, but it needs to grow. Animation is not like GIMP. Blender, maybe that is mature. Why not make them more mature? I’m not a coder. I can be invovled to a point. I’m also not an administaror. Me starting a foundation, doing filings etc, no. I want to be part but I don’t want to lead it. I am here today! I am trying.

Q: I think with your influence you can start a workshop to work on the UI to get the featurs you want specified. You can organize a hack week for 3 weeks. in 3 weeks you can have more than you expect.

A: Yes, a friend has a farm with a lake in central illinois.

Q: I disagree with your statement on synfig, that it is only for coders. My main work is what I do for a living, is teaching Synfig to kids. For 3 years. THe kids are not develoeprs. More than that, I have a group of kids, mostly girls not boys. They dont know progrmaming, they don’t know much about computers, they see GNU+linux for the first time. They make animation projects every year.

A: If YOU teach them, sure. You taught me.

Q: So what you are missing is the assistenace, knoweldge of how to use it. You get this with interaction with the developers. … You can communicate with develoeprs.

A: Everyone is on different continents. I was in NYC, does ANYONE near NYC know Synfig? nope. I need to be in the same place.

Q: Okay, but we can start to resolve that. Most animation projects, they don’t make it their full time activity.

– – –

12:50 Along school fences.

OSP (Open Source Publishing) , Pierre Huyghebaert , Alexandre Leray, Ludivine Loiseau, Pierre Marchand, Eric Schrijver, Stéphanie Vilayphiou,
There is a momentum in art schools of asking the question of the role of the digital in design education. There is no clear answer. All students bring a laptop to school. The hard- and the software represent a technological and cultural heritage that is not questioned, and a potential that is not exploited.
Free software culture challenges traditional education paradigms because knowledge is exchanged outside institutional borders, and participants move between roles easily (teacher, student, developer, user).
As a prototype revamp of workshops and print parties, OSP proposes a summer school experiment. A first try to to move across the conventional school model towards a space where the relationship to learning is mediated by graphical software.
This presentation corresponds to a public announcement to join or follow this prototype week.

– – –

13:10 Willem de Kooning Academie strikes back: open source approach in art and design BA education

Aymeric Mansoux, Aldje van Meer (tbc) Deanna Herst Kim de Groot (tbc) Jon Stam,

Three years after the LGM presentation “How to Run an Art School on Free and Open Source Software” that described the central role of free software and free culture in the networked media branch of the Media Design and Communication Master at the Piet Zwart Institute, today the Willem de Kooning Academie is back to share its current progress on a new and exciting challenge in its approach to formal education: the design of three new open source related curriculum for art and design BA students. In this presentation we will give you all the what, when, how and why aspects of these new courses and we hope to open up the discussion on topics rising from such a project, namely on the question of openness of open source driven curriculum, technological forecasting within art and design free software communities, hybrid proprietary and open source software environments, licensing and the use of free software tools and infrastructures in digital literacy.

– – –

19:10 Tupi: Open 2D Magic (to rule them all!)
Gustav Gonzalez
I would love to talk about the evolution of Tupi from a basic standalone animation tool to a free software client of a massive collaboration platform. I will start with a general description of the system architecture and the software features. Finally, I expect to show some examples of the potential of this kind of user experience (
Short bio: Degree in Computer Science (Universidad del Valle – Cali/Colombia, 2001), Free software user since 1994, Free software advocate / Speaker, Ten years experienced Unix sysadmin, Entrepreneur (free software business models), Qt Programmer, Development Leader of the Tupi Project (starting 3 years ago)

First I want t os whoyou a simple Tupi animation, made by my first betatester in ARgentina. Thanks to him!!

‘Once upon a time at LatinoWare in 2011…’

Its Jon Maddog Hall doing the voice 🙂

Where is Tupi made? In a hackerspace @hackbo – – as its in that space I can build Tupi every night and I have the energy to work on it. Who is working on ti?

Me. My started, Mae Flower (?)

I am the only developer, but I have 2 friends who help. Andres Calderon love free open hardware, everything he does is libre. Antonio Vanegas is a mobile developer, he loves android. and me.

Tupi started as a 2D vector animation application. When you live in a hacker space, many things happen, you can’t control it – so they project gained sort of kids. First, a project 3 years ago, Tupi. A desktop application that you know. Qt.

ANother project, Tupi Mobile, is a port (earlya stage) that works, an Adnroid client in Java and Qt. Its just an editor, but its in progress and its interesting what you can do with it.

Tupi plugins for other libre graphic apps, inkscape gimp mypaint and blender. this work is barely started but its underway.

TupiPen is our first hardware component. Its a pen with a special features that is toally libre. the specification, if you can use it for all libre graphics applications. The design you see here is teh real circuit design, this is coming for real. I hope to bring the real thing to the next LGM if I can be funded 😀

You have the overview of the projects.

What is the philosphy in common in these projects? We started on a 2D animation software. But with the experiments, we started to see a nice line of work: grpahics + collaboration/workgroups + real time.

Here’s a video.

Youtube: TupiTube: Collaboratieon platform + visual thinking

THis shows 2 people working on a single frame. just that. in an animaiton you do more than that; animation you have farmes, keyframes, layers, scenes. But in a collaboration, you have you in one frame doing something but many others can be working on other frames at the same time.

People say “hey, 2013! the year of collaboration!” but this framework was started in 2007. Why are we late to this?

The basic of animation are simple. you see a green line here, as a developer i see an equation. I feel like neo in the matrix, i see the equations 🙂

So everything can be serialised and sent over the network.

You people who are creatives, you and the canvas is a lonely life. WElcome to the orgy!

You can imagine, some of you, think of the possibilties. you will be afraid, you are doing a drawing and then you see something movingg and you don’t know who it is!!

– – –

Where is 0.49? last release was over 2 years ago.

0.49 was planned as a long release cycle, making major changes. Cairo based rendered, faster and more accurate. Caching of common objects for faster rendering. A move to lib2geom. Improved snapping. Many other changes.

Cairo is a 2D rendering library, lots of backends. used in firefox, gdk, webkit, and used in 0.48 for outline mode and PDF/PS export. Its been used for everything now, by 2 GSoC stuednt projects in the last 2 years. Its made it 2x faster, and more for gradiants and filters. 4x less memory use!

Improved gradient toolbar, say bye to the gradient dialog. The strok and fill dialog has enhancements.

Text tool has a lot of work; drop down for all variants of a family, not just B/I buttons. Text unit default is now pt not px. Font family drop down has fonts in the doc at the top, in blue. If fonts used aren’t on the system you get a warning with a red line through the font name. You can select all objects using a selected font family. And you can use CSS style font stacks for fallabck.

You can now ADD NODES AT EXTREMA. useful for designing fonts!

There’s a new measurement tool. Also useful for font design, measures across segments.

A new symbol dialog. SVG has a symbol element, and Inkscape will present them all in this palette.


Port to GTK3
On screen tesselation editing
SVG2 will offer lots of new things! New to figure out how to support that and integrate it into Inkscape.

How to handle mesh gradients? We used inksacpe as test bed for the SVG spec proposal.

– – –

12:40 Libre type design: breaking tradition and going new ways

Manufactura Independente, Ana Isabel Carvalho and Ricardo Lafuente,
This talk proposal follows on the issues surrounding libre type design that we began to explore at our last LGM talk, “The awesome things that libre web type enables you to do”.
There is a premise that one must spend considerable amounts of time perfecting a typeface, with timeframes going from months to years. Besides the “creative” part of the work, there’s a significant amount of boring workhorse tasks: checking spacings, comparing glyphs, testing use cases. Another unwritten rule in conventional type design is that typefaces ought to be released only in a finished form. Because most traditional type design is, in one way or another, a commercial endeavour, there is little openness towards unfinished or speculative typeface development.
No wonder, therefore, that thousands of unfinished typefaces sit inside dark corners of designers’ filesystems and notebooks, condemned to the most perverse kind of bitrot: “Someday I’ll finish it”.
Manufactura Independente will go over how applying F/LOSS development principles can provide new paths out of this tired way of working. This will be accompanied by a set of practical examples gathered from the designers’ own experience with collaborative development and typeface design, including a first look at Manufactura’s latest project — Oxshark Fontworks — a proposal they’ve been developing to tackle the aforementioned issues.

R: This is a CC liecnsed font from Porto, and we want to not heave neutral type but very local time. This is Crixx, seen used in a sticker from LGM, that is typical of a brussels neighbourhood. This reivival by OSP makes sense there. we dont like this idea of netural.

4. Type is centralised around atypi, myfonts, MATD and T&M in reading and the hague. this leads to small social circles and restricted knowledge. the knowledge of how to ship a final font is limited to those small groups. There are libre foundries like VTF and OSP. This is Google Fonts today, its awesome, it exists, but it poses an issue with centralisation. everything is there, the ecosystem becomes dependent on one decision maker. eg, they introduced the search feature for proprietary fonts that we really disagree with and dont like. chris said this week, we want more agents and more ideas. This is VTF and OSP type foundries.

ANa: what we want is t scene, to bring all the players in teh space together. we want MORE foundries. the idea of a foundry is a space with lots of machines, lot of costs and work. nowadays the foudnry is a website with fonts to download. why not start your own foudnry? you need a font editor, tools for shipping, and the wbesite itself.

r: the idea of a scene is something we found when doing the typeface revival that is used throughout this building. besides the type itself that we were suprised to see in the LGM 2013 identity that we were not involved in at all, and we were talking to pablo over there. he told us that others in spain have used the prinipcesl in the type design workshop we did, and they are really into the idea of a madrid libre type scene! we are very happy about this 🙂 we need a processing type scene in madrid too, and a london libre type scene. the traditional type scene is there of course, but its a exclusive culture and that is not what we want.

we thought about the train model conventions. the lgm is once a year but thats not enough for us.

ana: whats stopping us from habving a scene? its fun to draw letters, but finishing the font is the hard part. the spacing ,kerning, metadata, documetnation, packaging it. thats stopping many people to publish what they have. so we decided to make a starter kit.

r: so we wanted tiny type tools to go into such a kit. Our github account has this, its fontforge pyton scripts for hacking type. these tools do boring work. what do we have?

fontconvert –woff –eot font.sfd : convert any format to any format

fffilters – shadow, outlines incline, wireframe, and so on. fontforge has these features, so we have simple scripts that makes these.

outline versions of proprietary fonts you normally have to purchase a copy.

transpacing. we like drawing type, we dont liek spacing them. its a long job, takes ages. so we take your font with no spacing at all, you find a similar font with good spacing and you get out a font with ok spacing. this works with kerning too. it works well enough for us.

btw, these scripts can only be used for libre fonts.

we also have a new project, django-foundry, that will produce a foundry website for you.

we will launch our foundry, made with this software:

Oxshark Fontworks

we want to showcase what is happening in our local scene.

ana: going against the idea of ‘someday ill finish it’, we said that we will do the finishing work for anyone who has unfinished work, if you agree to use the OFL. its a way to help our friends get in touch with free culture and tools. these are the fonts we are launching

Fachada by Rui Silva.

Acidente by Luis Camanho, a classic ‘waiting for spacing’ type

Le Jerk, by Frank Adebiaye, a french designer we like a preview on his blog.


And of course our colorfonts, we develoepd a JS library and we wanted a library of multi color fonts.

r: why not start a foudnry. go to your designer friends, ask about typefaces they started and left unfinished. EVERYONE HAS THEM! our challenge to you is to publish them. if you have a step in a type design process you dont know how to overcome, let us help you.

Q: the idea that type should be static, there is a reason for that. versions of the same font, means documents change. how to resolve that problem? versioning within the font files?

r: a good question. versioning fonts is a great idea, this shows that v numbering is important, keeping track of versions, in the same way you do with software, you release with notices that it may break things. its something an author should take care of. But i dont think is a total premise, as we dont want fonts to bitrot.

Nina Paley: what will you do if you get overloaded with fonts? i would love it if you did that.

r: well yes, we want to give you tools to build your own foundry. we dont want to be a dumpster of unfinished fonts. its a good challenge though and we are not yet overloaded so send us what you have!

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    Understanding Fonts is a type design training business. If you'd like an event in your college or city, let Dave know: