Bitmap fonts

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I've made some searches but there doesn't seem to be much in the way of
bitmap fonts which can be converted and used as a character bit map in a
micro driving video memory directly.  Many years ago I came across some DOS
fonts which I converted but since lost.

Are there any sites where "free" fonts exist, ideally in 8x8 and 8x16
format?

Even better a "C" data file!



Re: Bitmap fonts


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DOS

I've used cv_fonted. Can be found here:
http://www.crystalfontz.com/forum/showthread.php?s=&threadid36%19

It produces a c file with an array of bitmaps. 8 x 8 and 16 x 16

Meindert



Re: Bitmap fonts



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The linux kbd utility comes with a bunch of bitmapped fonts.

http://www.kernel.org/pub/linux/utils/kbd /

Unpack the tar file, and look in data/consolefonts

They're binary files, but the format is fairly simple. I'm not sure how
the GPL applies to the bitmaps, though.


Re: Bitmap fonts



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Many thanks for the replies.  I've managed to find a 8x8 and a 8x14.fnt
files from the good old DOS days and modded a program to put them into a
large array.  It's probably not as efficient in memory as Meindert's
solution, but the odd K of Flash won't be a problem.



Re: Bitmap fonts



Fred wrote:
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I was able to get the 8x8 and 8x16 character fonts from my Radeon
9600XT's BIOS.

I'm not sure about the legality os using it though. I used a Win32
program to get it.


Re: Bitmap fonts


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I can send you my fonts (I made them first in the early 80-s),
8x12, you can see what they are like from the screenshots
at my website. If the community would be interested, I can
put them somewhere on the site. The format is straight forward,
12 bytes per character. If I get a reasonable number of requests
I'll take the time to put the file somewere and anounce it to the
group. (Obviously I mean sending /making available etc. for free,
I do not consider drawing a font "real work" :-) .

Dimiter

------------------------------------------------------
Dimiter Popoff               Transgalactic Instruments

http://www.tgi-sci.com
------------------------------------------------------


Re: Bitmap fonts


says...
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Since one man's font is another man's inky blob, I highly recommend
Metagraphics FontBuilder:
http://www.metagraphics.com/index.htm?page=fontbuilder/fontbuilder.htm

It allows you to convert a TrueType font to a bitmap, at any dot pitch,
and preserves the character widths. The output is a C header file.
You will need to write a rendering routine that understands the (well
documented) Metagraphics font format, but it's not hard.  And, it
understands unicode.  

--Gene

Re: Bitmap fonts


On Sat, 11 Mar 2006 02:30:14 -0500, Gene S. Berkowitz

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Please understand that the resulting machine-generated font inherits the
copyright of the source typeface and should not be distributed in a
product without proper licensing.

http:///www.typeright.org has some explanations and discussions on
what's legally permitted.

The digital type foundries are generally happy to license bitmaps and
even to create specialty products (that's their business, after all).
See http://www.linotype.com/2088-2077-2088/oem.html for an example.

--
Rich Webb   Norfolk, VA

Re: Bitmap fonts



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The articles on the site above appear to mix facts and desires. There's
even a petition which says:  "... Unfortunately, [copying digital
fonts] is perpetuated by current U.S. copyright laws, which do little
to protect the original designers.."

http://www-personal.umich.edu/~pfs/essay2.html offers a more balanced
opinion, and it says that pure bitmap fonts are not copyrightable.
Creating bitmaps from scalable fonts, may be copyright infringement
depending on the exact interpretation of the law, and the way it was
done. If you ignore the artistic hinting features in the font
definition, and rely on automatically generated bitmaps (perhaps
manually cleaned up by yourself), you may very well be safe.

<quote>

* Typeface designs. Individual designs, whatever art or genius they may
embody, or however elaborate or decorative or removed from ordinary
text-printing, are not registrable or protectible, except in some cases
as design patents.

* Bitmapped fonts. Pictorial or digital representations of typeface
designs, or any kind of more-or-less mechanical reproduction of them,
such as bitmapped printer or screen fonts, are likewise not subject to
copyright.

 * Scalable fonts. Some scalable fonts, at least, are accepted for
registration and copyright protection. It is safest to assume that all
fonts in the standard outline formats (T1, T3, TT, etc.) are protected.
Nevertheless, the language of the 1992 ruling would seem to exclude
scalable fonts generated without the opportunity for extensive artistic
intervention, and this might well serve to exclude all non-professional
scalable fonts, typically generated automatically by the "auto-hinting"
feature of a font editor.

</quote>


Re: Bitmap fonts



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The problem with "original designer" is that the designer of any Latin
fonts are actually "stealing" from Guthenberg :-).

Paul


Re: Bitmap fonts


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I don't think that's supportable (I'm a typographer). The Roman
alphabet predated Gutenberg by many centuries, and a lot of its
transformation into what we think of as "print" faces occurred
independently of his press. In fact Gutenberg's most famous works
simply faithfully duplicated the textura hands of human scribes and
copyists; they have a good case to argue against him! A modern reader
would not recognise his type as similar to today's book types.

The history of printed type is very complex and involves players in
many countries, sometimes working independently, sometimes working
together and building on each other's work. (Pretty much analogous to
the sciences, mathematics, and computer software, actually :) If
today's 'intellectual property' police had been involved, we'd be
paying royalties to Microsoft every time we wrote a grocery list.

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Re: Bitmap fonts



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I posted this ages and ages ago in comp.fonts and the comments still
apply. Summary: One *may* independently draw a typeface that bears an
arbitrarily close resemblance to an existing typeface. One *may not*
input a digital font description into one end of a chain of digital
manipulation and then claim ownership/sell/give away the output of that
chain.

----

Part of the answer goes back to how, in the U.S., the *name* of a type
family could be protected but the *shape* of any individual letterform
could not be. I think this was based on the (perhaps mistaken) idea that
"there are only so many ways to draw an 'a'" and was more-or-less
workable back in the days of metal type. If type foundry B wanted to
produce a version of a typeface owned by foundry A, B would have to
collect type samples, draw the faces (with slight differences for each
point size), and cut new metal punches. Not an easy job even with tools
like pantographs.

The end result was a newly created typeface that may have been quite
similar to the copied face but one that required some measure of skill
and thought along the way to production, and one that would necessarily
have some differences in the details of the implementation.

Fast forward to the era of digital type. Some of the rules haven't
changed. Type foundries (and individuals) can still start with a printed
copy of any typeface and draw/scan/digitize it, add hinting and kerning
information, and sell it (or give it away) under a new name. Even given
the shapes of the various letter forms to start with there is quite a
lot of skill required to turn those shapes into a quality digital font,
especially a text face.

However, U.S. courts have decided that what can not be done is to start
with the digital form of the font e.g. the .ttf file, just "change a few
things," and declare it to be a new font. That is not to say that you
can't modify a font file for your own use so that, for example, the
upper case I and lower case l are distinguishable or adding a slash to
the zero character. However, just moving a few anchor points or even
converting the font through a font editor and stretching it a few
percent still leaves the font as substantially somebody else's work.

No different, really, than using a hex editor to change all instances of
"Microsoft Word" to "AcmeInc Editor" in the executable and then
reselling it. However, creating a new word processor from scratch, even
one that looks like and acts like MS Word, is a lot more defendable.
It's not a perfect analogy (cf. Lotus v Borland) but you can get the
idea.

--
Rich Webb   Norfolk, VA

Re: Bitmap fonts


snipped-for-privacy@mapson.nozirev.ten says...
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Then I think it comes down to the "expression" of the font.
If I have a TT font (especially one supplied by the manufacturer of my
computer OS and/or word processor), and I print a newpaper using that
typeface, I certainly do not owe the author of that typeface one thin
dime more.

If it so happens that my newspaper is displayed on an LCD, rather than
committed to paper, it is still within my rights to use it thusly.

Using software such as FontBuilder to convert that TT font to a bitmap
representation, which I then use to display my newspaper, in no way
infringes any more than the OS GUI does when it renders that same font
on my monitor as I type this.

If, however, I wholesale convert every TT font provided to me, and then
sell or distribute those to other LCD newspaper publishers, I am likely
infringing, as that is product, not expression.

--Gene



Re: Bitmap fonts


On Sat, 11 Mar 2006 15:59:23 -0500, Gene S. Berkowitz

[snip...snip...]
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Correct.


Correct.


Correct.


Also correct.

You would also be infringing if you took that single font that you had
rendered as a bitmap and sold or distributed it, even bundled as part of
a larger embedded product.

A typeface is every bit (no pun intended) as much somebody's hard work
as is, say, the embedded RTOS that you may have written. If somebody was
to take the source of the RTOS and run it through a filter that strips
comments and changes all of the variable names to A0001, A0002, ...
That's still a derivative work and is your copyrighted work.

--
Rich Webb   Norfolk, VA

Re: Bitmap fonts



Rich Webb wrote:

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Just because it's hard work doesn't automatically mean it is
copyrightable. The law does not treat every product of intellectual
work equivalently, so you need to be careful with analogies.

If you can find a more recent policy decision, than the one I found
below in a comp.fonts FAQ, please go ahead and post it.

<quote>
``The [September 29, 1988] Policy Decision [published at 53 FR 38110]
based on the [October 10,] 1986 Notice of Inquiry [published at 51 FR
36410] reiterated a number of previous registration decisions made by
the [Copyright] Office. First, under existing law, typeface as such is
not registerable. The Policy Decision then went on to state the
Office's position that 'data that merely represents an electronic
depiction of a particular typeface or individual letterform' [that is,
a bitmapped font] is also not registerable.'' 57 FR 6201.

However, scalable fonts are, in the opinion of the Copyright Office,
computer programs, and as such are copyrightable:

``... the Copyright Office is persuaded that creating scalable
typefonts using already-digitized typeface represents a significant
change in the industry since our previous [September 29, 1988] Policy
Decision. We are also persuaded that computer programs designed for
generating typeface in conjunction with low resolution and other
printing devices may involve original computer instructions entitled
protection under the Copyright Act. For example, the creation of
scalable font output programs to produce harmonious fonts consisting of
hundreds of characters typically involves many decisions in drafting
the instructions that drive the printer. The expression of these
decisions is neither limited by the unprotectable shape of the letters
nor functionally mandated. This expression, assuming it meets the usual
standard of authorship, is thus registerable as a computer program.''
57 FR 6202.''

</quote>


Re: Bitmap fonts



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Well, there's this case from 1998:
<http://directory.serifmagazine.com/Ethics_and_Law/Copyright/judgement.php4

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Which is consistent with what I've been attempting to explain.

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Also consistent.


The Adobe decision cited above plainly (and reasonably) places
restrictions on the creation of derivative works. A type designer would
not expect, nor claim, royalties for each page of a book printed with a
particular font (one example of a bitmap) nor for the text as a bitmap
in, say, a Powerpoint presentation.

One could also independently create a bitmap font that looks arbitrarily
close to, say Univers, and use it in any embedded product without
infringing.

However, it would be infringement to start with univers.ttf, create a
bitmap instance of a particular height and weight from it as
my_universal.c, and then to use my_universal.c as the system font to
display new text in, say, an embedded PDA app.

--
Rich Webb   Norfolk, VA

Re: Bitmap fonts



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The Adobe decision does not appear to mention the copyrightable status
of bitmaps generated from scalable font definitions. The defendant in
the case had copied the glyph instructions and glyph coordinates from
the original files, and distributed those as its own scalable fonts by
making minimal mechanical changes. This is a different procedure, and
does not involve generating and distributing pure bitmaps.

According to Adobe arguments, Adobe obtained digitized third party font
definitions, and added a certain amount of creativity in determining
the best glyph reference points in their own definition. The case
depends on this added creativity element they feel is protected by
copyright law (and to which the court agrees).

By using any kind of software to turn the glyph definitions into
bitmaps, none of the original glyph reference points remain, so their
argument would no longer hold water.


Re: Bitmap fonts



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Maybe look at it this way. Would you be comfortable with taking all of
the typefaces that you received with MS Word or Corel Draw or ...,
rendering them as machine-readable bitmaps in a variety of sizes and
weights, and then selling the resulting collection?

--
Rich Webb   Norfolk, VA

Re: Bitmap fonts


snipped-for-privacy@mapson.nozirev.ten says...
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No, that would be infringing.  Using them as the display font in an
embedded system, where they can't be extracted without decompiling, is a
reasonable use.

--Gene

Re: Bitmap fonts


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It should be emphasised that Adobe *licensed* those masters, which
would have given them some rights and obligations also. For many years
Adobe's Type 1 fonts were protected by an encryption scheme to prevent
this kind of piracy: It is likely that this protection measure was
insisted upon by the licensors of the original typefaces.

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Perhaps the argument that won that case is weakened, but it seems
fairly obvious that such bitmaps are more or less faithful copies of
the licensed/value-added design. Anyone who wishes to produce
commercial typefaces, bitmap or vector, has the option of licensing
someone else's (as Adobe did with e.g. Linotype, ITC), or producing
original work. Copying or reprocessing Adobe's digitisations is a
zero-effort copyright violation - test it in court.


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