Segment14 font A while ago, I recovered my old font files from some crufty old SuperDisks, but did nothing more with them than copy them to my network storage, in the hope that that is a safer home.

Last weekend I was reading about the Fedora Fonts SIG, and decided to bring the old font files back to life. The Fonts SIG is concerned with packaging fonts for Fedora, but their pages have some interesting pointers on how they might be created as well, so I grabbed an old font and explored the tools that are available.

The font I picked is one I created when I was working with an old Stag PROM programmer, back in 1996. The programmer had a 14-segment LED display. The real thing doesn’t look much like the clean vertical pictures you’ll see in that Wikipeda article. The real characters are slightly oblique and there seems to be a kind of hexagonal mesh over the top that makes the segments look like the figure at the top of this posting.

I originally created the font by hand-coding the Type 1 format on a Sun workstation with Ghostscript installed, using my own tools to transform some readable path descriptions into the encrypted form.

This time, it seemed sensible to update the font to OpenType format, and I decided to use FontForge for the job.

Importing the old PFB file worked OK, and exporting is a doddle, except for FontForge complaining about overlapping segments in the font. There aren’t any, but there are some subroutines that move back to the glyph origin, causing some empty subpaths, which FontForge doesn’t ignore.

The only other problem was my attempt to upload the font to the Open Font Library, because the upload facility is broken. Ho hum.

Here’s the result of my hacking, a font called Segment14, released under the SIL Open Font License (OFL): segment14-1.0.tar.gz.