Re[2]: ATM vs TrueType

Subject: Re[2]: ATM vs TrueType
From: "Walker, Arlen P" <Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- JCI -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 30 May 1997 09:25:04 -0500

Minor quibble (along with computing history lesson) coming up here:

Adobe made a big mistake with Type 1 technology. They failed to
license the technology to other font producers. (Other font
technologies at the time were significantly inferior to Type 1.) The
result was that Microsoft created TrueType so they wouldn't have to
buy their font technology from Adobe.

Microsoft didn't create jack. TrueType was born because Apple's Quickdraw
font technology wasn't good enough for publishing, so Apple had to continue
paying Adobe high royalties for using PS in their Laserwriters. Apple
needed a better font technology to create printers which would compete with
HP's royalty-free LaserJets, so *Apple* created TrueType.

After the TrueType announcement, Microsoft came knocking at the door. They
wanted a font technology for use in Windows, and they had just bought a
company (Bauer) that was working on a PS clone for printers (eventually
named, as I recall, TrueScript). So Apple and MS struck a deal, the results
of which allowed MS to bundle TrueType in Windows and would allow Apple to
use TrueScript in their printers. Providing, of course, MS delivered a
usable version of it.

Shortly after this announcement Adobe announced a significant cut in
royalties for the PS print engines and after BitStream and a couple of
other major type foundries announced support for TrueType, they opened up
their Type 1 spec for all to use. (Other foundries had been limited to Type
3 fonts. Type 1 fonts had "hints" built into them which allowed them to be
rendered accurately at many sizes. TrueType was open to all comers and
contained equivalent information, so the fonts could be rendered
beautifully at all sizes.)

It would have been better for all of us if there were only one font

If there were only one font technology, only Adobe would have Type 1 fonts.
Having two technologies forces each side to remain open and honest. Had MS
actually been able to deliver a usable version of the Bauer print engine
clone we would now have printers able to do PS or TT natively. But as usual
MS was more hype than fact, and we still have the TT v PS printing

Adobe was always miffed that Apple wouldn't embrace Display Postscript over
Quickdraw. ATM was an attempt by them to go over Apple's head and get Mac
users hooked on DPS capabilities, and for a long time it was given away
free ($9.95 shipping and handling) to every Mac owner, a practice stopped
after MultipleMaster technology shipped (though a version still came free
with QuickDraw GX). Now, with Rhapsody, Apple is perhaps either going to be
moving completely to it or to some amalgam of DPS and QuickDraw. And Adobe
is making noises about including TT technology in their PS print engines.

So we may yet reach convergence on this.

Also, the general consensus among graphics people is that Type 1 is
superior for DTP/graphics/prepress purposes. I guess it's all a
matter of perspective.

From a technical perspective, PS character shapes are based on splines,
while TT is based on cubic equations. TT therefore is capable of finer
control over the shapes of the letters and requires fewer defined points
for those letters than PS. But this finer capability is more than offset by
the fact that most TT fonts are done very badly, and thus render slower and
less accurately than their PS counterparts. As in everything else, the
implementation triumphs over the technology.

Have fun,
Chief Managing Director In Charge, Department of Redundancy Department
DNRC 224

Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- JCI -dot- Com
In God we trust; all others must provide data.
Opinions expressed are mine and mine alone.
If JCI had an opinion on this, they'd hire someone else to deliver it.

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