Ubuntu Font CJK

Registered by Paul Sladen on 2011-05-12

Font coverage for CJK (Chinese Traditional, Simplified, Japanese and Hangul) is currently sub-optimal in Ubuntu and Free Desktops to the point that the interface is unrecognisable for users, in addition to being unappealing. Vendors often end up licensing and shipping proprietary fonts as a work-around. It would be preferable to massively improve the state of local screen-optimised fonts to make the free desktop more appealing, familiar and comfortable.

The desire is to clarify how to kick-start/build on existing locally-driven libre font projects, so that the results are freely usable and useful. Standards exist for standards exist for Japanese, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Mainland China. In some regions fonts /must/ adhere to the specific local standard.

Blueprint information

Status:
Not started
Approver:
Paul Sladen
Priority:
Undefined
Drafter:
Paul Sladen
Direction:
Approved
Assignee:
Paul Sladen
Definition:
Discussion
Series goal:
None
Implementation:
Not started
Milestone target:
None

Related branches

Sprints

Whiteboard

Various aspects: 1. get recognisable libre glyph coverage. 2. get recognisable and beautiful. 3. get recognisable and beautiful and consistency with Ubuntu Font Family Latin/Greek/Cyrillic/Arabic/Hebrew. 4. Ubuntu Mono is 500x1000 design box (so 1000x1000 for double width) and can slip straight in with the same 100/112.0 scaling factor.

Japanese Hiragana and Katakana are ~100 glyphs and would allow for titling/signage (eg. ウブントゥ).

Needs local font designers in each of the regions using Traditional, Simplified, Japanese Kanji and Korean Hangul. There is are unified ideographs for CJK and a reasonable amount of overlap, but (just like for Cyrillic) certain languages have certain preferred forms that need to be selected using OpenType locale of the text being rendered.

[arnegoetje]: OpenType locale feature does not work in any application that I know of. The text would need to be tagged with the corresponding language code (requires markup language). Application and rendering engine would need to interpret the language code. Needs lots of patching in upstream.

~60,000-80,000 glyphs. Each of the standards has a minimal (school knowledge) of 2,000 core characters.

[arnegoetje]: Minimum requirement for each Region:
 - China (PRC): GB18030-2000 (almost all of CJK Unified Ideographs and CJK Unified Ideographs Ext. A)
 - Hong Kong: Big5 (17,000+ characters) + HKSCS-2008 (4000+ characters)
 - Taiwan: Big5
 - Japan: JISX-0213-2004 (reference font is ttf-ipafont, released by Japanese government)
 - Korea: basically what's supported by ttf-unfonts
Suggestion: hook up with Qianqian Fang, who developed an online tool to produce the WenQuanYi fonts (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WenQuanYi). Use his expertise to design a similar web tool to design this font. Design an initial set of strokes (U+31C0 - U+31EF) and use the web tool to compose the glyphs by copying and resizing the *splines* of these basic glyphs. Then use a script in the background to draw the strokes based on the final position and the arrangements of the *splines* in regard to the other strokes. Dave Crossland might be of help here. The web tool needs to provide a possibility to design multiple glyph styles for the same code point (glyph variation in the different regions).
The official Unicode character charts (http://www.unicode.org/charts) for CJK Unified Ideographs contain the reference shapes of each character in the different regions. Use those for reference in order to compose the characters.

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Work Items