15 Oct 2008 yosch   » (Master)

Open fonts on the XO (Sugar environment)

Today I flashed my XO (gotten through the G1G1 program from OLPC) to release 8.2 and I'm very pleased to see all the progress made with the whole stack. There are huge improvements to Sugar: nicer navigability and usability, higher responsiveness, a wider set of improved activities, tremendously improved neighbourhood view/network management, and of course the localizers/translators have done great work to reduce the language barriers.

In short there are a lot of very nice touches here and there to make the whole experience even better for the many children out there. Big kudos to all involved :-)

Besides Dejavu with its own peculiar license, various quality open fonts released under OFL are currently available by default. You can see choose them from the Write activity (Abiword-based):

And using the Terminal activity you can easily install extra open fonts packaged by the great Fedora Font SIG from the repositories via yum:

  • Ecolier Court
  • Ecolier Lignes Court
  • Gentium
  • Gentium Basic
  • Andika Basic
  • Padauk
  • Libertine
  • Jomolhari
  • Inconsolata
  • GFS Artemisia
  • GFS Baskerville
  • GFS Bodoni
  • GFS Bodoni Classic
  • GFS Complutum
  • GFS Didot
  • GFS Didot Classic
  • GFS Gazis
  • GFS Neohellenic
  • GFS Olga
  • GFS Solomos
  • GFS Theokritos
  • Edrip
  • Doulos SIL
  • Charis SIL
  • Brett
  • Silkscreen
  • RoadStencil

We'll see how some of these open fonts can be included by default in the deployment target where it makes sense.

High-quality redistributable and modifiable fonts certainly have a key role to play in the education goals of such a project. This is where a community-recognized license like the OFL taking care of issues like embedding, naming collisions and artistic integrity - allowing them to be used without problems as well as further maintained by the open font community - is crucial.

SugarLabs and OLPC have huge challenges to tackle in terms of i18n, so I'm glad to see the progress made in enabling wider language support by picking open fonts allowing designers to extend the fonts to meet local needs.

It's also a joy to see how beautifully the fonts render on the tiny but high-res XO screen and to imagine the many kids learning to read and write in this environment. Seeing the beautiful shapes of your mother-tongue script has to be a good motivator to learn...

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