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Project Description

Font meta-family, multiple styles, for Japanese, English, and Korean, made with Metafont. Full coverage of hiragana, katakana, hangul, and Latin. Partial coverage of grade-school kanji. Also includes IDSgrep, a tool for querying kanji databases...

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Released at 2014-08-18 03:08
(A) Tsukurimashou (complete package) 0.9 (1 files Hide)

Release Notes

Version 0.9 has been a long time coming. There are not all that many new kanji. The current count is 1754 kanji, up from 1502 in version 0.8 roughly a year ago. This includes all the elementary-school kanji through Grade Four, and 100 of the 185 kanji in Grade Five. A lot of infrastructure work has also been done. This version was prepared in a hurry, for reasons to be described below.

This version of Tsukurimashou introduces FontAnvil, a standalone interpreter for FontForge's native scripting language (PE script). The decision to bundle a more or less complete font editor, drastically increasing the amount of code in the project and thus increasing the maintenance costs, was not made lightly. The issue is that within the last two years or so I have been involved in FontForge development, and it is clear that the strategic direction of that project will present problems for the long-term use of FontForge within Tsukurimashou. FontForge's development team is primarily interested in end-user GUI features (even going so far as social networking) and encourages Python for all new code; they have even seriously discussed, though not yet committed to, removing PE script support entirely, which would be fatal to Tsukurimashou if Tsukurimashou continued to rely on FontForge. Especially given that Tsukurimashou already bundles its own versions of several other critical tools (such as Metatype1 and t1asm), it seems reasonable to bundle Tsukurimashou's own replacement for FontForge. This is hoped to be of benefit to FontForge development as well, because it may make it easier for them to stop supporting PE script should they want to in the future; they can encourage PE script users to use FontAnvil instead of leaving such users out in the cold.

FontForge has very recently made significant improvements to its spline-geometry operations (remove overlaps, find intersections, add extrema). I have been complaining about those bugs for *years*; they are critical to Tsukurimashou. Many thanks are due to Frank Trampe of the FontForge team for his assiduous work on the spline geometry issues. The latest changes to these features from FontForge were ported into FontAnvil at the last minute before the Tsukurimashou 0.9 release, along with some quick-and-dirty last-minute hacking on other stability issues (infinite loops and segfaults) to just get the build working. I cannot vouch for Tsukurimashou 0.9 to build properly with any font compiler except the development FontAnvil bundled with it; and I cannot vouch for that version of FontAnvil to do anything except build Tsukurimashou 0.9 more or less correctly. However, that specific combination, on my specific desktop computer, seems to work pretty well.

I presented Tsukurimashou at TUG 2013 in Tokyo. Slides from that talk are at , and the associated TUGboat article is available to TUG members at ; it will eventually become open-access. Most of the source code for the article (maybe not including the absolute latest edits, made by the journal editors instead of by me) is in the tug2013/ subdirectory of Tsukurimashou's version control system.

In this version the Korean-language fonts have had their names changed to "Mandeubsida"; from talking to some people at the TUG meeting, it appears that this is a better translation of the name Tsukurimashou into Korean. The GSUB features to support Korean glyph shaping have been redesigned to better work with some shapers (in particular, recent versions of HarfBuzz). Also in this version, build system support for an experimental font family called Kazoemashou ("let's count!") has been added; this is intended to become a Unicode Math font based on Tsukurimashou, but as of this writing it is very fragmentary and not usable.

An academic article about IDSgrep is currently in submission to ACM Transactions on Asian Language Information Processing. You can read a preprint version at .

Version 0.9 was prepared in a hurry, and there are some ongoing questions about the future of Tsukurimashou as a result of my life and employment situations. This release is a fair bit less polished than other releases have been, and some parts of the documentation (especially in the parasite packages) may not have been properly updated. I am releasing it as it stands because after a year, we need a new version; the kanji planned for inclusion in this version are complete at least; and it may be a long time before I have another chance.

I mentioned in last version's release notes that I was unhappy about being single and unemployed. It took me a year and a half to find an academic job. During that time I lived mostly on savings, with occasionable short-term contracts. During that time my availability to work on Tsukurimashou was limited and development was slow. I eventually obtained a postdoctoral position at the IT University of Copenhagen, working for a project called Scaleable Similarity Search. This project's subject matter is a close match to the kind of thing I wrote about in my doctoral dissertation, and I am excited about getting to do more work on it. As I write this text (August 16, 2014) I am in the middle of packing to move from Canada to Denmark. Now I am rushing to get the Tsukurimashou 0.9 release out the door before I leave, because if I don't, it won't go out until much later, if ever. Very soon I will be shutting down and packing my main development computer so it can be shipped; and it will probably be at least two months before I can use this computer again.

Once I arrive in Copenhagen, I don't know if I will be spending a lot of time trying to learn to speak Danish, and if so what that will do to my Japanese studies. Despite strict Danish government regulations limiting employment work hours, I don't know how much leisure time I will really have to devote to Tsukurimashou; and I don't know to what extent I will be able to fit continued Tsukurimashou development into my future career plans. I am now six years post-PhD. My job in Copenhagen is to be at most two years long, and given that it took me a year and a half to find this job, and next time, if I am to have a real academic career at all then my next job had better be at the faculty level, it appears that I should *already* have been searching for my next job since something like a year ago.

This is an extremely stressful state to be in and it is destructive to my ability to pursue side projects like Tsukurimashou. I am conscious that my life outside of work is also far from what it should be, it is not clear whether I will ever be able to have the life that I was promised and have earned, and that too is destructive. The bottom line is that I can't predict much about possible future development of Tsukurimashou. バージョン0.9は、楽しんで下さい。


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