[texhax] How can we best keep on using small caps and oldstyle figures?
pierre.mackay at comcast.net
Fri Apr 15 16:36:48 CEST 2011
I sense that you know and care about these aesthetic details better than
anyone else on this list, so I respectfully begin my search with you.
Adobe continues to sell (or lease) reasonably well-designed fonts with
encoding vectors such as /Eacutesmall and /twooldstyle, but ones hope of
using them in a PDF environment is flakey at best, (you must remember
the disaster that made all files distilled in Distiller 6 entirely
unusuable in Reader 7), and I have recently encountered a new problem
even when using Adobe Professional 9 on Windows. On Monday, Distiller
was still able to use the weird little patch that makes up for the fact
that Unicode simply does not recognize style variants. Now it fails.
The on-line distiller doesn't work at all today, and I am wary of that
because online distiller likes to take gray-scale EPS and turn it into
The simplest answer would be to take the Adobe fonts that happen to be
encoded in Adobe's own abandoned Expert Character Encoding Standard (So
that's what they mean by standard---something you can dump without a
word of warning) and recode them as variant fonts to fit in to several
Unicode pages here and there. But that requires uncompressing a PFA file
to Ascii, and it appears that they now have the fonts so locked down
that that can no longer be done. Linotype has never offered anything but
crudely stripped down auxiliary fonts, and usually not small-caps at
all. Many other foundries do not even bother with old-style figures, so
that the numerous clones of Times New Roman (I am forced to use this
font) are not usually a resource. So far as I can make out, Linotype's
answer to ff ligatures is to pair-kern the characters so that they look
like a careless set crash.
Surely the industry can do better that force us to give up good
ligatures, old-style figures and small-caps. Or are we being slowly
groomed to surrender to an unending diet of Courier.
I think this is a broader question than should be addressed only to TeX
fonts. It has to do with the entire quality of typesetting. Was Don
Knuth simply naive when he aimed to make it possible to set ``beautiful
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