[metapost] Trying to use MT1 to make outline fonts... (again)

Shriramana Sharma samjnaa at gmail.com
Wed Jun 20 13:20:47 CEST 2012

Hello and thanks for your most detailed and informative replies. I see
you have much experience in MT1, having successfully produced the
Tsukurimashou fonts. (I had to copy-paste that word!) I have now
downloaded the 0.6 version to learn from the sources therein. I think
I'll be returning to you and this list for my progress with MT1. :-)
Thanks a lot!

One question:

On Tue, Jun 19, 2012 at 11:02 PM,  <mskala at ansuz.sooke.bc.ca> wrote:
> Note that I think the "envelopes" in question were calcuated by the
> METATYPE1 pen_stroke() macro, i.e. they are *paths* in the METAFONT
> language.  They are not the bitmapped results of the METAFONT-native
> pen-stroking operation.

It seems you are implying they (Berry and Yanai) used MT1 to get the
envelopes (as vectors of course). However their article (in
http://www.tug.org/TUGboat/tb11-4/ -- the individual chapter link is
broken so you'll have to download in full) indicates that they
actually directly modified MF to add a backend MF2PS to output
postscript outlines.

Wonder what became of that project? And why it didn't become *the*
method to produce outline fonts from MF programming? After all it is
supposed to store *the* envelopes (as vectors) produced by MF in
postscript form!? All others (MT1 included) only approximate those

Jackowski et al in their document introducing MT1
(www.ntg.nl/maps/26/15.pdf on p 1) appear to reject Berry and Yanai's
attempt since it only produces Type 3 output. However, given that they
published only in 2001 whereas Malyshev already
(www.tug.org/TUGboat/tb16-1/tb46malyPT.pdf p 4) in 1995 said that by
removing overlaps one can produce Type1 output from Berry and Yanai's
method (i.e. MF2PS), I wonder why MF2PS was not perpetuated? I mean,
all that complaint about MT1 not having a regular pen stroking
algorithm would be avoided, right?

I also note that Kinch (www.tug.org/TUGboat/tb19-3/tb60kinch.pdf) in
1998 said he was "tantalizingly close" (the phrase occurs twice) to
perfecting the stroking algorithm, but no news seems to have been
heard on that score since (as far as I could see).

I also wondered about mf2pt1 vs MT1, but apparently
(www.tug.org/TUGboat/tb22-3/tb72beebe-fonts.pdf p 6) mf2pt1 pre-dates
MT1. It is intriguing to note that mf2pt1 has been continuously
developed (latest release is of last year) despite the apparent
success of MT1. is there any difference between the two feature-wise
that would create a separate userbase for mf2pt1 over MT1?

In the end, I realize I'd better get to the actual font preparation
with MT1, but I'm still not done with my first reading of the MFBook
and until then I'm just trying to grok the entire situation as best as
I can.

Shriramana Sharma

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