A couple of weeks ago I had a conversation with Mario Moura. We started talking about the typography class he teaches at the Editorial Design master at the Fine Arts Faculty of Porto, and soon we were talking about font developing software.
I have this conversation from time to time with different people. It’s about the strategies and tools adopted in the different design learning contexts (this topic of discussion actually started a few years ago with Mario himself). One thing led to another, and, at a given point, he reported students were having trouble finding the necessary files to install Fontforge in the Mac OSX. They still seem to find it difficult, although George Williams has dedicated a significant amount of effort into documenting all the necessary steps. I’ve also tried to simplify it before.
Even when they can understand the necessary steps, there’s always the need to download X11, or to have XCode and the necessary libraries on the system. Other issues include the need to have MacPorts download the gigabytes of ports and dependencies needed to build Fontforge from the source files…I know from my personal experience that this can be very frustrating.
So, if you need to use it in classes, or you can’t build it on your system, here’s quick-fix solution to it (you still need to have install permissions):
- Download and install XQuartz, an alternative open source X window system for the Mac OSX;
- Download and install the necessary dependencies;
- Download and install the latest Fontforge release (20110222).
That’s all there is to it! Now you only have to start XQuartz, then type “fontforge” into the terminal and start editing your fonts.
I’ve pre-compiled Fontforge and almost all the dependencies on OSX 10.6. Somehow I managed to build and install libjpeg and libtiff from source. I think they’ve been included into this build, but I couldn’t create the .dmgs for them with the port command. Nevertheless, everything should be working except the EPS import. As I have only one Mac OSX system, I can’t really test if everything is working as it should, so I’m making this available “as is”…
As a final note, I urge you to check all the necessary license agreements before using these builds. Here’s Fontforge’s license:
Copyright 2000,2001,2002,2003,2004,2005,2006,2007,2008,2009,2010,2011 by George Williams. Redistribution and use in source and binary forms, with or without modification, are permitted provided that the following conditions are met:
Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer.
Redistributions in binary form must reproduce the above copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer in the documentation and/or other materials provided with the distribution.
The name of the author may not be used to endorse or promote products derived from this software without specific prior written permission.
THIS SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED BY THE AUTHOR “AS IS” AND ANY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE ARE DISCLAIMED. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHOR BE LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, EXEMPLARY, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, PROCUREMENT OF SUBSTITUTE GOODS OR SERVICES; LOSS OF USE, DATA, OR PROFITS; OR BUSINESS INTERRUPTION) HOWEVER CAUSED AND ON ANY THEORY OF LIABILITY, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, STRICT LIABILITY, OR TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE OR OTHERWISE) ARISING IN ANY WAY OUT OF THE USE OF THIS SOFTWARE, EVEN IF ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGE.