[texhax] How does VFlib process .GF and .PK bitmap file formats?

Ammar ul hassan ammar.instantsoft at gmail.com
Mon Jan 15 04:17:59 CET 2018

Recently I made a small helping module in FreeType for my research work.
This module is mainly responsible for processing a METAFONT input by client
application. I used FTVIEW as my client application that takes a METAFONT
file to display styled text on screen.

I am using the Mftrace program for converting any METAFONT request into its
corresponding Type1 format and then, using the default Type1 driver module,
I am processing it and displaying results on screen. It's working fine.

Now what I want is to use the mf program (the default compiler of METAFONT)
instead of Mftrace, to process METAFONT using FreeType. The mf program
takes a .mf file as input and returns a .tfm and .gf file. This .gf file is
then converted using GFtoPK or GFtoDVI into .pk or .dvi files respectively
and then can be used for displaying.

As FreeType engine doesn't support .gf and pk files respectively, I came to
know that there is an old library called VFlib that actually supports these
two types of files. I have read about VFlib and got to know that it is also
a font library that handles many font types and can make glyphs as bitmaps
from these different font formats like .ttf, .pfb, .gf, .pk etc.

As .gf and .pk files are actually bitmap font formats (the later is the
more compressed file of .gf file which can be obtained by using programs
like GFToPK), my question is: how does this VFlib library actually support
.gf and .pk formats? What is the main task of this library if a .gf or .pk file
is input?
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