[OS X TeX] Fonts included with Textures?

Adrian Heathcote adrian.heathcote at philosophy.usyd.edu.au
Wed Mar 27 21:20:00 EST 2002


>> The next question though is whether it is really necessary to convert
>> .pfa files to .pfb files since the latter are just packed versions of
>> the former and they need to be unpacked anyway every time they are sent
>> to the printer. (If .pfb files are really needed them it seems like a
>> mistake.)
> No. A binary format is necessarily smaller in size than an ascii format,
> since all the bits are significant, whereas this is not so for ascii 
> letters.
> Thus transmission times to the printer are generally reduced.
> Why do you think that the .pfb gets converted to .pfa before sending ?
> Which print-spoolers do that, and why ?

This is directly from the manual that accompanies the Lucida fonts: "The 
actual outline fonts themselves are in Printer Font Binary (PFB) form. 
PFB files are typically used on IBMPC compatibles, and are what the 
Windows PostScript driver and ATM expect to see. PFB files are compact, 
but need to be 'unpacked' into the more verbose hexadeimal PFA format 
before being sent to a postScript printer. Most applications that use 
Type 1 fonts can do this."

> It certainly isn't necessary, since a PostScript interpreter can read
> the binary form directly into its internal format.
> Similar it reads the (longer) ascii form directly into internals.
> There is no a priori reason why any ascii/binary conversion between
> the two forms needs to take place.
> Indeed, the binary form is more likely to be closer to the internal 
> format
> than is the ascii format.

Alan Hoenig, the author of TeX Unbound: LateX and TeX Strategies for 
Fonts, Graphics and More has said that his NexT/LateX set up deals 
directly with .pfa fonts---they do not need to be converted to .pfb.

My thought was: given that there is a fair bit of NexT legacy in OS X, 
it should not need .pfb outline formats either.

So Ross, can you clarify this? Is conversion necessary and if so why?

Having struggled with these font matters now for two weeks, I think it 
should all be reclassified as Necromancy.

Adrian Heathcote
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