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STIX Project Releases v1.0 of Its Scientific Fonts Set

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the now-that's-conservative-versioning dept.

Graphics 100

starseeker writes "The Scientific and Technical Information Exchange (STIX) font creation project has released version 1.0 of its font set. This release is the product of almost 15 years of work, with the goal of creating a comprehensive set of fonts for scientific and engineering manuscript creation. The fonts have been released under the SIL Open Font License, and can be downloaded here. Among the many potential applications is proper universal support for MathML in web browsers." If you want a peek, here's "a page for viewing the thousands of glyphs (as a first approximation, think of a glyph as an individual character)."

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Fuck (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32383884)

Fuck

So, whats missing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32383932)

Surely by now there must be some crucial symbol missing, what is it?

Re:So, whats missing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32384122)

unicode 0x6969

Re:So, whats missing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32389364)

It's a Chinese character. I have no idea what it means. Did I just earn a big whoosh?

Re:So, whats missing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32400620)

Yes, yes you did.

Finally, eh? (0)

adfernandes (1050274) | more than 4 years ago | (#32383958)

Really? Wow. My great, great, great, great^n grandparents told me about them. They said that the final fonts were coming "real soon now". :-)

Re:Finally, eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32386116)

Heh - the scientific software world has lost it's "Duke Nukem Forever", but with a happy ending - we got them in the end.

Re:Finally, eh? (1)

Meski (774546) | more than 4 years ago | (#32404638)

Final Fontasy? I thought they were supposed to be called typefaces, anyway. BWTFWIK?

Why I am supposed to care? (-1, Offtopic)

Saint Stephen (19450) | more than 4 years ago | (#32383962)

I went to the website, and still have no clue why I shouldn't just use Arial Unicode if I want some oddball glyph. What exciting new capabilities will come my way if I install these fonts?

Re:Why I am supposed to care? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32384036)

I can't mod you up but +++++

Re:Why I am supposed to care? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32384190)

I can mod you, but you are not worth it. So -----

Re:Why I am supposed to care? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32384044)

Because Arial doesn't have the -right- oddball glyphs.

"The largest component of the fonts is devoted to the thousands of mathematical operators and technical symbols necessary to report research."

Re:Why I am supposed to care? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32384298)

None. But then, if you are writing real math papers, you already would have learned to stay away from MS Word & Arial Unicode.

Since Arial is not open, it can't be (for example) shipped with a TeX distribution.

Why did you even comment on this story, anyway?

Re:Why I am supposed to care? (3, Informative)

VGR (467274) | more than 4 years ago | (#32384404)

Because of what they've encoded in the Private Use Area block at code point U+E0F2. Check STIXv1.0.0/Glyphs/STIXNonUnit.otf.pdf in the zip file to see it, and check the last link in the summary for the character's name. I hope that gets folded back into the Unicode Standard someday....

Re:Why I am supposed to care? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32385086)

Looks familiar, I could swear I've seen that before :-)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Einstein_tongue.jpg [wikipedia.org]

Re:Why I am supposed to care? (1)

Meski (774546) | more than 4 years ago | (#32404646)

The ability to eschew the usage of comic sans

The GRAND ILLUSION !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32384038)

Welcome to the grand illusion
Come on in and see whats happening
Pay the price, get your tickets for the show
The stage is set, the band starts playing
Suddenly your heart is pounding
Wishing secretly you were a star.

But dont be fooled by the radio
The tv or the magazines
They show you photographs of how your life should be
But theyre just someone elses fantasy
So if you think your life is complete confusion
Because you never win the game
Just remember that its a grand illusion
And deep inside were all the same.
Were all the same...

So if you think your life is complete confusion
Because your neighbors got it made
Just remember that its a grand illusion
And deep inside were all the same.
Were all the same...

America spells competition, join us in our blind ambition
Get yourself a brand new motor car
Someday soon well stop to ponder what on earths this spell were under
We made the grade and still we wonder who the hell we are

Commies go home!!

Fonts (5, Insightful)

Arker (91948) | more than 4 years ago | (#32384050)

The biggest problem with 'modern' fonts I can see is that so few have proper differentiation between O and 0. It's an ugly thing, particularly when it's a problem we solved decades ago and should have stayed solved. Yet somehow it doesnt.

Is downloading this package going to help with that problem? MathML is nice but I dont actually need it. 0s that actually look like 0s would make me very happy though.

Re:Fonts (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#32384138)

Try Cambria.

Re:Fonts (1)

Arker (91948) | more than 4 years ago | (#32384652)

Hmmm ok. *takes a look* nope [wikimedia.org] . Just as bad as anything else.

Here [wikimedia.org] , this is an example. The first font is good. The second is acceptable. The third is not. You see?

Re:Fonts (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#32384758)

Well, sticking with Microsoft's Vista fonts (which look really nice on Windows XP), Consolas has a slashed zero:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consolas [wikipedia.org]

But it is monospaced (I expect you will find your slashed zeros much more often in monospaced fonts).

Re:Fonts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32386052)

Consolas is available for XP [microsoft.com] , and already included in Windows 7.

Re:Fonts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32384784)

Are you honestly telling us that you can't tell the difference between a round character and a squished one? That's just sad.

Re:Fonts (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 4 years ago | (#32389390)

Are you honestly telling us that you can't tell the difference between a round character and a squished one? That's just sad.

The practice of putting a line through the zero was more relevant back in the days when we had keypunch ops transcribing code or data from sheets of paper to punch-cards or mag tape. Not all of us had the luxury of the exclusive use of a CRT terminal. Back then, all the machines I worked with had no facility to accept or reproduce lower-case text (this was regarded as an unnecessary frippery), but a foolproof way of differentiating between a handwritten 0 and O was essential.

Re:Fonts (1)

advs89 (921250) | more than 4 years ago | (#32385766)

But now how will I distinguish between zero and the empty set? ;)

Re:Fonts (1)

beckett (27524) | more than 4 years ago | (#32387170)

The first font is good. The second is acceptable. The third is not. You see?

A slashed zero looks like the empty set symbol to me. Slashed/dotted zeros could also be misconstrued to be upper case theta.

Re:Fonts (2, Insightful)

Arker (91948) | more than 4 years ago | (#32387252)

Using a zero for an empty set is perfectly understandable, both may be voiced as 'null.' It is difficult to think of a situation where one usage of it would be confused with another - i.e. where context would not make it clear and obvious which is meant. Also there are other ways to symbolise a null set, {} coming to mind immediately.

Slashed zeros look nothing like a theta. The only thing other alphanumeric character they resemble is the letter Ø used in Norwegian and Danish. The chances for confusion there are vanishingly small, even for those of us in the tiny minority that use that character.

Slashed zeros look nothing at all like thetas, you must have meant the dotted zero. Yet the dot and the crossbar are significantly different, and again, only a tiny minority of us use thetas to begin with, and in context the chance of confusion is miniscule.

On the other hand distinguishing between the capital 'o' and the numeric zero is a much more common case, occurring in every language rather than a tiny fraction of languages, and it is fairly frequently not immediately obvious from context which is intended, so the rational thing is to differentiate those characters clearly, even if it creates ambiguity in a handful of far less common cases.

Re:Fonts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32384426)

The biggest problem with 'modern' fonts I can see is that so few have proper differentiation between O and 0. It's an ugly thing, particularly when it's a problem we solved decades ago and should have stayed solved. Yet somehow it doesnt.

That's more the result of poorly designed fonts, and has little to do with 'modern' fonts at all. I deal with typography day in and day out and I can only think of a handful of fonts where the 0 and O are indistinguishable (or nearly so). Try using fonts actually designed by a type designer.

Re:Fonts (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 4 years ago | (#32384450)

Try the slashed zero [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Fonts (1)

Arker (91948) | more than 4 years ago | (#32384552)

*Golf clap*

Yes, that is a proper zero. Now do you have any actual useful information as to how one can get a full set of fonts that actually display zeroes properly?

Re:Fonts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32384746)

You want ProFont or one of it's imitators:
    http://www.tobias-jung.de/seekingprofont/ [tobias-jung.de]
Especially if you're editing code.
It clearly differentiates 0 vs o, and i vs 1 vs l.

Re:Fonts (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 4 years ago | (#32385416)

Lots of fonts have that problem. Some also have the problem where l (lowercase L), I (uppercase i), and/or 1 (the numeral) look pretty much the same. But those are kind of common problems that can be fixed and have been addressed in many fonts. It doesn't seem like this package is aimed at that, but rather aimed at providing special notation for math/science/engineering publishing.

Re:Fonts (1)

seeker_1us (1203072) | more than 4 years ago | (#32386388)

Just use Bitstream Vera Sans Mono [wikipedia.org] . To quote Wikipedia, "The Bitstream Vera Sans Mono typeface in particular is suitable for technical work, as it clearly distinguishes 'l' from '1' and 'I', and '0' from 'O', unlike the more widely available Monotype Courier New."

There is a much bigger problem than "0" and "O"! (4, Interesting)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 4 years ago | (#32386894)

Uh-oh. Nobody told those publishers that the SIL license was not written by a lawyer and never had any legal review. OSI, unfortunately, will approve a license that hasn't been crafted by a lawyer, and this can be a big problem for the users of that license, when the license acts radically differently in court than they expect it to.

The problem in this case is that the license allows conversion of the font to any other license or public domain once it is embedded in a document. The license explicitly says that it no longer applies once the font's embedded. And the authors didn't realize that if you extract the font from the document, the license doesn't come back!

I left a note on their web submission form.

Bruce

Re:There is a much bigger problem than "0" and "O" (1)

WWWWolf (2428) | more than 4 years ago | (#32387434)

The problem in this case is that the license allows conversion of the font to any other license or public domain once it is embedded in a document. The license explicitly says that it no longer applies once the font's embedded. And the authors didn't realize that if you extract the font from the document, the license doesn't come back!

I thought that was a feature.

Fonts are very funny in that they're a form of art that is meant to be used by people to create more art. It starts off as the typographer's amazing work of art... but once it's on the page, it's no longer just the typographer's work of art: it's part of another work of art. And no one pays attention to the poor typographer after that point... apart of typography geeks, of course.

Aside of the fact that you can recover the original font data easily through embedding and you don't need to trace outlines or anything, how is embedding any different from actual use of the font in typesetting?

Wouldn't it be awesome if there was a license that only covered the distribution of font files, but that would also guarantee the users that the fonts can be used for any purpose and if you're just an user of the font, you don't have to worry about legal aspects... the kind of a basic freedom the open source licenses are supposed to guarantee, right?

Re:There is a much bigger problem than "0" and "O" (3, Interesting)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 4 years ago | (#32388330)

I agree that font outlines are not copyrightable (although font programs are) and that fonts can be traced without infringement. It is easy for the font to leave the control of the copyright holder, although perhaps without any hinting that is embedded in the font.

But in this case, the entire intent of the SIL license is that the fonts do not appear in one of those "10,000 Fonts!" packages sold by folks who only aggregate them and do none of the work. And that intent will be thwarted.

Re:There is a much bigger problem than "0" and "O" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32393468)

> I agree that font outlines are not copyrightable

Maybe not in the US, but they are elsewhere. It remains to be seen for how long the US will be able to effectively retain this position. It managed to avoid conceding it for WIPO, but the issue isn't going to go away. It has created problems for US corporations distributing PDFs abroad with embedded fonts and discovering that the font was only legal in the US (because it was an unauthorised clone of an existing font).

Re:There is a much bigger problem than "0" and "O" (1)

hritcu (871613) | more than 4 years ago | (#32391122)

The problem in this case is that the license allows conversion of the font to any other license or public domain once it is embedded in a document. The license explicitly says that it no longer applies once the font's embedded. And the authors didn't realize that if you extract the font from the document, the license doesn't come back!

I find your interpretation of the license quite strange (but, well, I am not a lawyer). The license only says that the license "does not apply to any document created using the Font Software", not that the license does not apply *at all* once the font is embedded. If you extract a font out of the document, I suppose you obtain a copy of the original font, or at least a modified version of the original font, and the license does explicitly cover copies and modified versions. I would expect this holds for any copy or modified version, no matter by which process they were obtained.

I think that for free font licenses allowing the fonts to be embedded without posing restrictions on the license of the document is of paramount importance. Do you know any other font license that allows this form of embedding and is for sure lawyer-proof?

Re:There is a much bigger problem than "0" and "O" (1)

hritcu (871613) | more than 4 years ago | (#32391242)

The license only says that the license "does not apply to any document created using the Font Software", not that the license does not apply *at all* once the font is embedded.

A little clarification, it's not the license that does not apply to documents created with the font, but the requirement that the font can only be distributed under the same license. Here is the precise text about this exception:

5) The Font Software, modified or unmodified, in part or in whole, must be distributed entirely under this license, and must not be distributed under any other license. The requirement for fonts to remain under this license does not apply to any document created using the Font Software.

Re:There is a much bigger problem than "0" and "O" (1)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 4 years ago | (#32391356)

The problem is simply that they didn't know the right words. They could have given permission to distribute a document without restriction when the fonts are embedded in it, and everything would have been OK. But they didn't give that permission, they said, and I quote: The requirement for fonts to remain under this license does not apply to any document created using the Font Software. They didn't consider that if the font is no longer under the license, none of the license terms apply any longer. They don't suddenly come back if you extract the font from the document. They also said that if you violate the license, it's null and void . What they meant to say was that the license terminates, but again they didn't know the right words. If a license is "null and void", does that mean "all rights reserved" or does it mean "no rules, do what you want"? You might have to go to court to determine what it means, and bankrupt some poor Open Source developer in the process, just because you picked the wrong words.

We have a case of one developer, Bob Jacobsen, and his project JMRI, who were pretty seriously screwed by the fact that he chose Artistic License 1.0 and a lower-court judge was convinced that it meant "public domain". A lot of people, including me, spent a lot of time and effort taking that to appeal. Fortunately we won, but it took years, and Bob lost about a year's income in the process and was not fully compensated in the settlement. Larry Wall wrote that license before there were any lawyers who would help Open Source developers, but now we have ones who work for free and there is no excuse to craft a license without one.

Re:There is a much bigger problem than "0" and "O" (1)

hritcu (871613) | more than 4 years ago | (#32391614)

Thank you, I now understand where the problem is. Still, I'm not so sure this would be so easy to fix.

They could have given permission to distribute a document without restriction when the fonts are embedded in it, and everything would have been OK.

What if I want to distribute a document containing the embedded fonts while imposing some restrictions on the document itself? Would I be able to do that if you only give me permissions to distribute the document without restriction? But maybe I'm mixing up without restriction and without restrictions :)

In the end, you are right, this is indeed a perfect example why it should be the lawyers who do the wording of licenses.

Re:There is a much bigger problem than "0" and "O" (1)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 4 years ago | (#32391712)

That's a good question, and the answer would be that the attorney crafting the license would take more time thinking about it than I take to write the typical shashdot comment :-) Making this license work correctly would be within the competence of any lawyer.

Essentially all of my consulting work these days is with attorneys and their customers, and is regarding Open Source in some way, and thus I am getting to see a lot of how things go wrong with Open Source and the law. And the one lesson I've learned is that it is always tremendously less expensive to fix the problem early. That they missed the opportunity to do so is a shame.

Re:Fonts (1)

ByteSlicer (735276) | more than 4 years ago | (#32387294)

What you need already existed for many years: the DejaVu fonts [wikipedia.org] (derived from the Bitstream Vera fonts, but with wider character range).

Re:Fonts (1)

Breetai (14095) | more than 4 years ago | (#32387730)

I find the Inconsolata very good for diagrams and other texts that need a monospaced font.
advantages:
- Monospaced
- has a slashed zero
- The brackets are higher than the other characters. So you instinctively see what's inside the brackets.
- has an open license.
http://www.levien.com/type/myfonts/inconsolata.html [levien.com]

What a peek (5, Insightful)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 4 years ago | (#32384074)

call me spoiled, but if you announce a link for a "peek", i expect something other than a website that prompts me to install the fonts i wanted a peek at.

How about something useful, like comparisions with existing fonts to show what the big deal about these new ones is. Preferably in a way that doesnt require having them installed.

Hell, how about making that stupid 100 screen long page a PDF with the font embeded?

Re:What a peek (1)

Rolaulten (1392077) | more than 4 years ago | (#32384126)

...and for those of us who dont wanna bother downloading a PDF, just post pictures of the symbols (even if it would take some time to load)...

Re:What a peek (2, Informative)

Phiz (21461) | more than 4 years ago | (#32384176)

call me spoiled, but if you announce a link for a "peek", i expect something other than a website that prompts me to install the fonts i wanted a peek at.

I agree. However, if you download the font, in the archive you'll find a directory "Glyphs" that has a bunch of PDFs with tables of the characters shown. Therefore you don't actually have to install the font to take a look at it.

They should have made it easier to find these PDFs....

Re:What a peek (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32384640)

The PDFs would be more use if they hadn't been created by morons. The longer glyph names (which is most of them) overlap so you can't read them. Dimwits.

Re:What a peek (1)

fatp (1171151) | more than 4 years ago | (#32386234)

Even the PDF's are character based, not showing images of the fonts.

Before I install the font, I can't tell whether the PDF reader is displaying an arbitrary glyphs from other fonts. Or... what's meant by 'Embedded' font in a PDF??

After I install the font, I don't need to see those pdf for font sample

Re:What a peek (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32388422)

I have installed the fonts on my Mac, still all the tables of characters are shown empty in Preview. I can see them however in Adobe Acrobat. Quite strange.

Re:What a peek (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#32384208)

Interesting. I was just about to comment asking how I was able to view that page without installing any new fonts. Guess, I already have it (well, at least some version of it..). Running Firefox on Fedora 12 here.

Re:What a peek (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32384422)

You probably actually don't. Take a look, for example, at the

0E048 7884 stix-not, vert, similar

Glyph. On my system (Arch, Minefield) it looks like a 'Qu', not a math symbol.

Re:What a peek (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#32384682)

http://www.cs.drexel.edu/~jlg95/stuff/vert.png [drexel.edu]

Dunno, it didn't prompt me to install any fonts at least.

*shrug*

Re:What a peek (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#32384736)

Upon further inspection, it appears I already have Stix v0.9.

Re:What a peek (1)

Chelmet (1273754) | more than 4 years ago | (#32384212)

Agreed - if nothing else, I was actually expecting images of the fonts - isn't that the most sensible approach? Loading the page and being auto redirected to the download page is a terrible way for the submitter to give us a 'peek'.

Re:What a peek (1)

starseeker (141897) | more than 4 years ago | (#32385878)

Sorry about that - I didn't/don't know of a good image based overview of the fonts. I really wish the STIX group did have something like that, but if they do I haven't been able to find it and creating a good overview of 8000+ glyphs with images was more time than I had available.

The purpose of that page is to have SOMETHING that will let you see the font after you have it installed, since even creating an example page to show all of the glyphs is a bit of a chore.

Re:What a peek (3, Funny)

Dynedain (141758) | more than 4 years ago | (#32384318)

Seriously.... this has got to be the only website out there that is pushing a font without actually providing any preview of what it looks like.

Re:What a peek (1)

meerling (1487879) | more than 4 years ago | (#32384374)

Probably because it's intended audience already knows what it should look like, those same exact symbols they write by hand every freaking day because there isn't a decent (and free) font for them anywhere! Well, before now that is.

Re:What a peek (1)

hritcu (871613) | more than 4 years ago | (#32391332)

They look really clean and consistent ... all 9000 of them :)

Re:What a peek (1)

starseeker (141897) | more than 4 years ago | (#32386008)

Yeah, sorry about that. Unfortunately, I don't know of a really good one. The middle column of this website has some images of math rendered using the Beta fonts (not final, although they are close - plain descriptive text looks a little larger in the final version): https://www.eyeasme.com/Joe/MathML/MathML_browser_test [eyeasme.com] - those are good math examples but I'm not sure they're comprehensive over the whole font (odds are not - STIX is big).

If someone has a place they can host a pdf of the glyph page as pdf that might be helpful, but unfortunately I'm not up on how to coax open source tools to generate pdfs with embedded fonts (up until now I always used LaTeX for serious math) - anybody know of a good way? Also be warned that offering up such a page for a slashdotting will be inviting a beating for a server and bandwidth - that'll most likely be a pdf with over 400 pages plus the embedded font payload.

Re:What a peek (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 4 years ago | (#32388058)

If someone has a place they can host a pdf of the glyph page as pdf that might be helpful, but unfortunately I'm not up on how to coax open source tools to generate pdfs with embedded fonts (up until now I always used LaTeX for serious math) - anybody know of a good way? Also be warned that offering up such a page for a slashdotting will be inviting a beating for a server and bandwidth - that'll most likely be a pdf with over 400 pages plus the embedded font payload.

When it comes to fonts, most people expect to see something along these lines:

http://www.linotypelibrary.com/1563/universalmathematicalpi-family.html [linotypelibrary.com]
http://www.typography.com/collections/index.php?collectionID=700007 [typography.com]

Put together some representative samples of the a handful of typical glyphs and build a few images along those lines. If you want to upload a full PDF with embedded fonts, throw it on Scribd [scribd.com] or use drop.io [drop.io] and let them take the beating... they're good at it.

Re:What a peek (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32387634)

Here here! MOD parent up.

I did eventually download the .ZIP (I am a bit of a font geek), but was frustrated that after clicking around 7+ pages there were no images that showed even the slightest bit of information about the font. The pages really need to be reworked if the laymen is to understand what they are about and what the site offers.

Despite the lacking web-site, the font itself is truly fantastic.

Slow news day... (4, Funny)

fishthegeek (943099) | more than 4 years ago | (#32384098)

15 years? Sounds like Stix has too much time on their hands.

Re:Slow news day... (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 4 years ago | (#32384248)

For the love of god someone give these people a pencil and a scanner.

Re:Slow news day... (1)

troll8901 (1397145) | more than 4 years ago | (#32389464)

Why would we want to create another Viner Hand [linotype.com] ? That would be like reinventing the wheel.

Re:Slow news day... (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#32384342)

15 years? Sounds like Stix has too much time on their hands.

But they finally got it made, like a renegade.

Re:Slow news day... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32385088)

sure and i still believe there will always be a demand for handwritten books.
Well thats actual one of my favorite comic lyrics (in which some cartoons write a bible..)..
Its like the way my uncle told it once.."in about 10 years no one will talk about the internet anymore..it's just a hype" ....
The fun thing is add a few years and he might be right, something will one day replace it and be the big buzzz

anyway it's kinda stupid i mean there are so many font creator products why did it took 15 years ???

Re:Slow news day... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32387316)

anyway it's kinda stupid i mean there are so many font creator products why did it took 15 years ???

There are so many art products, why haven't you painted the next Mona Lisa yet?

Re:Slow news day... (5, Insightful)

starseeker (141897) | more than 4 years ago | (#32386240)

Despite the (simultaneously amusing and frustrating) schedule slippage that the STIX project became infamous for, they deserve tremendous praise for the work they have done here. They have created a monumental work, stuck with the project for well over a decade despite all the setbacks, and released the results free to the world as an open source font. To understand the magnitude of this task, consider how long it would take to design a good quality font for just the standard character set (which isn't easy, as witnessed by the large number of bad fontsets floating around...). Now, scale that up to 8,000+ characters. Not only that, but many of these characters are obscure to any outside of specific scientific fields, and hence the font designers won't immediately know how the characters are supposed to look - the background research must be done, the results organized into some coherent framework, and a LOT of characters have to be created more or less from scratch. This work was being funded by scientific publishing houses who wanted a font for high quality consistent output, so the goal wasn't met by "partial" success - it had to be judged a finished work before any benefit could be realized. They couldn't use the TeX approach of allowing the user to custom-roll their own solution to strange characters - everything had to be handled "up-front" and built into the font.

That is an ENORMOUS task, and the result is a VERY significant contribution to the open source world. I have nothing but admiration and gratitude for the people behind this who persevered and succeeded, not just technically and organizationally but also in working through the legal questions raised by the open source community when selecting an open font license. The publishing houses could have decided that "done and usable in journal paper printing" was "good enough", but the project elected to listen to and work with the community to arrive at the OFL, which is a little odd but apparently workable both for the companies involved and the open source community. So, to those who worked on this project: Thanks!

Re:Slow news day... (1)

hritcu (871613) | more than 4 years ago | (#32388136)

I'm very happy they pulled it through in the end! I also agree that this is a very significant contribution to open source, and we must be grateful to the people who designed these fonts. I'm also very happy that in the end they chose an OSI-approved license, which will allow this font to be part of all Linux distributions. At the same time, it's hard not to notice not only the "schedule slippage" of 10 years or so, but also the fact that although they clearly had no clue how long this was going to take, they were always giving people false hope, by making very precise (but completely, completely off) "estimations" about when the project was going to be finished. By doing so, they just made idiots out of themselves, and gave the impression that the whole project is just vaporware. Should they have refrained from making such stupid predictions, and just informed the public about the progress they are making, there would be a lot less people feeling (rightfully!) deceived. And do you think whoever manages this project has learned anything out of this? I don't think so! They are already giving "estimations" about when versions 1.1 and 1.2 will be out. Why on earth do they insist in trying to deceive everyone with their "estimations"? They already showed how terrible they are at estimating how long their work takes.

How long? (1)

blurryrunner (524305) | more than 4 years ago | (#32384142)

I guess it's just an indication at how slow the science to product lag is.

br/

Re:How long? (1)

meerling (1487879) | more than 4 years ago | (#32384410)

Especially when it's out of their field of expertise.
For example:
  The Mathematicians don't make fonts, that's something the Graphic Artists do
  Graphic Artists don't know jack about math symbols, they leave that to the Mathematicians.
    Etc, ad infinitum...

Someone finally got off their 'whatever', found out what symbols were most needed (that probably took 1 year of questions, and 13 years of arguing.) and actually put them into a font. The rest, we sure hope wasn't a waste of time. :)

Re:How long? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32387942)

It's not just about duration, it's even funnier if you consider how often they delayed the whole thing. Their web page kept updating every month or so, slightly changing the date when they are going to be finished, still always claiming it's very soon. And they kept doing this for more than 10 years! I'm happy they finally made it, but these guys must have very serious project management problems.

How to use them properly? (3, Interesting)

tenco (773732) | more than 4 years ago | (#32384324)

Finally. But how to use them properly with webbrowsers? For Firefox I had to use

math { font-family: STIXGeneral, STIXVariants, STIXIntegralsSm, STIXIntegralsD, STIXIntegralsUp, STIXIntegralsUpSm, STIXIntegralsUpD, STIXSizeOneSym, STIXSizeTwoSym, STIXSizeThreeSym, STIXSizeFourSym, STIXSizeFiveSym, STIXNonUnicode; }

in my userContent.css to get partial math glyphs from installed STIXfonts. To get every MathML char rendered with STIXfonts I had to disable custom fonts for webpages and set all fonts to STIXGeneral. Unfortunately STIXGeneral seems to be only available with serif. Which isn't all that good for reading text from displays.

Re:How to use them properly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32384902)

They're not really meant for web use. There are too many specialty glyphs for that to be practical at all (too many instances where the wrong glyphs or no glyph will be displayed if the viewer doesn't have them installed). These are more for typesetting and layout use.

TeX? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32384482)

Why can't we just make basic latex commands part of html? There are some pretty lightweight tex compilers out there which, in a perfect world, should have been shipping standard on new computers for ages now.

Re:TeX? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32384642)

I totally agree.

Re:TeX? (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 4 years ago | (#32384790)

I've actually wondered this myself for a while. In its simplest form it could just be something like:

<latex>y &= \frac{x^2}{7}</latex>

Or at least something similar to that. Not exactly very html-ish but it's not like the purpose would be to create entire websites using LaTeX...

Re:TeX? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32385714)

it's not like the purpose would be to create entire websites using LaTeX

At least not until Adobe comes out with its own version.

Re:TeX? (3, Informative)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 4 years ago | (#32385820)

If what you want is to embed tex in html, you can do it: http://asciimathml.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net] But that doesn't do anything about solving the font problem. You need the fonts, otherwise it can't be rendered. Knuth's Computer Modern fonts were an impressive achievement, but they date back to 1992, and the technology they're built on is obsolete and doesn't fit well with the modern operating systems, or with modern encodings such as unicode. Knuth invented scalable fonts before Adobe reimplemented and commercialized them.

Re:TeX? (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 4 years ago | (#32390866)

the technology they're built on is obsolete and doesn't fit well with the modern operating systems

I think you meant to say "the contemporary obsolete operating systems don't fit well the ever-modern technology of Knuth's fonts".

Re:TeX? (3, Informative)

SEE (7681) | more than 4 years ago | (#32385938)

TeX4ht [ohio-state.edu] renders TeX as HTML.

MathTeX [forkosh.com] is a CGI that renders TeX embedded in a webpage as an image.

The Techexplorer [integretechpub.com] plugin, originally by IBM, will directly render TeX embedded in HTML.

Re:TeX? (1)

thogard (43403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32388564)

There was a TeX add on for Mosaic but it was very slow so ML won out and got hacked into the mess we have now.

Re:TeX? (1)

Lord Bitman (95493) | more than 4 years ago | (#32392620)

wasn't there an article last week with firefox devs bragging about supporting exactly that?

LaTeX package? (2)

BitterOak (537666) | more than 4 years ago | (#32385798)

I've looked at these fonts, and they look very good. Is there a LaTeX package that will let me use these fonts with LaTeX yet? I think they look much more attractive than the Computer Modern fonts that ship with LaTeX.

Re:LaTeX package? (3, Informative)

SEE (7681) | more than 4 years ago | (#32385830)

Not yet. Per the website, this set is 1.0; modifications to work with MS Ofice are targeted for 1.1 (expected release this year), and LaTeX with 1.2 (expected release next year).

Re:LaTeX package? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32387904)

Looking at how this project evolved so far I think it's going to be more like: 1.1 in 10 years, 1.2 in 10 more years, and and for 1.3 they will change names to STIX-Nukem Forever.

Re:LaTeX package? (4, Informative)

iris-n (1276146) | more than 4 years ago | (#32385882)

No but yes. What you need to use them now is XeTeX [sil.org] , a TeX engine that lets you use OpenType fonts in your TeX documents.

LaTeX per se uses only Type 1 (actually a few more) fonts, and these aren't ready yet.

Re:LaTeX package? (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 4 years ago | (#32390898)

Uhm, AFAIK, XeTeX and LaTeX are orthogonal. What prevents you from using XeLaTeX?

Re:LaTeX package? (1)

Zoinky (915530) | more than 4 years ago | (#32388574)

I'm a little surprised to find out that LaTeX support isn't going to be available until next year. I understand that the journals published by the societies funding this project use LaTeX, and that they are funding STIX for use with their publications.

And yet, LaTeX support is coming in after even Microsoft Word support (does anyone actually use Word for scientific papers?). It doesn't really make any sense.

Take the time to use good fonts! (1)

Spikeorama (724224) | more than 4 years ago | (#32385812)

I really like it when book or publication authors take the time to use good fonts and make the equations readable. There's nothing that turns me off more when reading a paper and the author has done all the equations in Times with crappy-looking subscripts and superscripts.

Re:Take the time to use good fonts! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32387428)

Except for this fontset (not yet available for LaTeX), what kind of fonts would you recommend then?

Re:Take the time to use good fonts! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32389384)

Use the Fourier fonts [ctan.org] .

Re:Take the time to use good fonts! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32389548)

SIL has made a couple of very excellent fonts.

You can find them here [sil.org] . Gentium is exceptionally beautiful on paper. Doulos and Charis are also very nice.

All these work fine in LaTeX (well, XeLaTeX, that is), so you can use them without hassle.

mod 04 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32386470)

else up their aases If *BSD is to conversation and Guys are usually was at th3 same Love of two is suffering *BSD

Downloadable font demo of these fonts (3, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 4 years ago | (#32386988)

To see what it was like to use these fonts on the web, I created a test page. [animats.com] This uses dynamically downloaded fonts, which work in most current web browsers. (Firefox users need Firefox 3.6 or later.)

This sample is sized at 16 point. Smaller than that, many of the symbols are unreadable. That's something to be careful about. When you have a huge symbol set, the symbols need to be bigger. However, some of the symbols don't scale up well. If you scale up that page, the integral symbols look great, but the arrows become pixilated. Some of the symbols seem to have been were badly encoded.

This is just a raw demonstration of the font; for formulas, you'd use MathML. I'm not sure if MathML, the W3C names for math characters in HTML, and the STIX fonts are all synchronized yet. But at least you don't have to tell people "to display this page, install all these fonts first."

Re:Downloadable font demo of these fonts (1)

bplipschitz (265300) | more than 4 years ago | (#32404508)

Gack! Some of those look awful. . .

Re:Downloadable font demo of these fonts (1)

molo (94384) | more than 4 years ago | (#32418132)

I tried looking at this page in FF3.6, Chrome 5, Opera 10, and IE 8. It looks like only Chrome 5 displays the appropriate font. The others look like standard windows unicode font. None of them displayed the arrows.

-molo

summary of why I don't study science / mathematics (1)

Lord Bitman (95493) | more than 4 years ago | (#32392604)

If I named functions and variables the way scientists and mathematicians seem to be so keen on, I'd be fired. every last one of them is a single character name. Why is this allowed to go on!?

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