We're fortunate these days that there are hundreds of freely available, redistributable fonts for use on our systems, many published under the Open Font License (OFL). But many OFL fonts don't come with source, and details in the OFL and other licenses can make it hard to even patch in bugfixes. This talk will explore all the fixes and patches that can be made to improve usability, searchability, and system integration for open fonts --- without running afoul of the license or drawing any new letterforms from scratch. The specifics will include user-friendly fixes like searchability and missing features as well as system-integration fixes like ligature handling, alignment, italic and style information, and language support. We will end by looking at code samples useful for font packagers and desktop font users, laying groundwork for how GNOME and other FOSS communities can improve fonts, in ways that don't involve drawing letterforms.
Nathan Willis is a type designer and PhD researcher from West Texas currently living in the UK.