Xpdf and TTF fonts

Alexander E. Patrakov patrakov at ums.usu.ru
Thu Apr 6 21:20:13 PDT 2006

Randy McMurchy wrote:

> I noticed when I updated the Patch Level of the Xpdf package that there
> is a line in the configuration that points to the old location of the
> fonts. As I'm not up to speed at all on these recent font changes, could
> another Editor take a look at Xpdf instructions and fix the path in the
> font reference?

This change has been done, but I still have some notes.

1) The fontDir contains only TTF fonts that come from X, while a PDF file may 
reference something else (e.g., a Microsoft font)

2) The fontDir is used only when a PDF file doesn't embed a font used in it

3) The official PDF specification has strict rules for deciding whether it is 
allowed not to embed a font (in version 1.3 that's section 2.3.4, "Font 
Independence", pages 23-24). In particular, any font that doesn't use the 
ISOLatin1 character set (except Symbol and ZapfDingbats) must be embedded. For 
the rest of the fonts, only the style information and metrics are actually required.

The summary is that even without any fontDir, it is possible to show (with 
acceptable degradation) any PDF file that doesn't require decorative fonts. This 
happens because the default Type1 fonts cover ISOLatin1 character set well. But 
including more fonts will certainly improve the situation.

And two more unrelated notes:

1) The LessTif dependency is listed as required. This should be changed to 
"required for the viewer", because it is still possible to build utilities such 
as pdftops without LessTif.

2) "links -g" refers to a program the use of which is discouraged in the Wiki 
for UTF-8 reasons (because it cannot display anything not covered by its builtin 

Alexander E. Patrakov

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