Tuesday, April 29, 2008

difference between malayalam fonts lohit and meera

here just mentioning things i notices in between these two fonts
1) both are mono thick fonts shapes are almost same
you can see the image(fontforge metrics window) below for checking shape difference, its almost null

meera fonts shapes looks bit thicker than lohit

2) this difference i noticed while comparing two fonts in open office

meera really needs some work on this, since if we set this font in GUI application at 8-9 size it is unreadable. Even if we check its point size with other Latin fonts it is very smaller almost half than other fonts.

3) the major difference is meera support traditional script whereas lohit is following new script, so you need to choose right font according to your script need.

yeah, there are possibility of some rendering differences, bugs as they are depends upon GSUB rules of fonts and underlying rendering engine, it is not in the scope of this blog.


Hiran Venugopalan said...

Hope you doesn't did a good analysis. The major difference is on the proportion and beauty of glyphs. The font design of meera is perfect for reading. I think you are not a Malayalam reader by considering your knowledge. Please know the fact that Meera is the one font which attained a wonderful user count with in its release. Mathrubhoomi, one of the main Malayalam paper is providing the meera as there suggested font for web page.Look over the curves, proportions, size of circles and understand the difference.

Over the case of font size, as you said the Meera is using traditional glyph set and has a huge collection of vertical glyphs. In order to attain readability, the ascent-descent proportion was changed to 5.5:4.5 from 8:2. This was done by Hussain, designer of Meera font after his research over about 8 years. He is the same person who designed Rachana, the most popular Unicode Malayalam font. As the proportion changed the size changed.There is no meaning that we should follow the English. font size values. English is quite a simple font set when compared to Indic.

For one who look a language, it may be a collection of curves and strikes, but for one who reads its letters having meaning. The same issue will be there when I design arabic, which I don't know and when I analysis arabic!

മണിലാല്‍ : Manilal K M said...

The traditional Malayalam fonts has much significance with respect to the culture and heritage of the Malayalam language, whereas the typewriter fonts are introduced just to over come some technical difficulties in printing. However, since technology has grown there is no need of maintaining the typewriter fonts.

The small size of Meera is not a big issue in browsers and word processors. But the critical issue is the perfectness of rendering. With lohit fonts the glyphs are misplaced and unreadable. Here are the screenshots of the same wikipedia page in Meera and Lohit:

What's the significance of size if the words rendered cannot be read properly ?

Rahul said...

For those talking about rending issues, it is important to provide feedback via proper bug reports rather than via off the hand comments in a blog post. It ain't a bug unless it is in bugzilla ;-)


The problem of size can be workaround in fontconfig but it is still a relevant issue.

evuraan said...

here's the work around to the fix font size

Neverthless, I too believe that its size is still a relevant issue, as I myself have shunned it and returned to older fonts due to rendering size issues, despite the crappier rendering.

അനിവര്‍ said...

Hey man Look at the curves , I can find differences now with a single look on your screenshots. In all the letters.differences for ങ ച ഛ ജ is easily understandable for anyone

I used both lohit and Meera. On visual side Lohit is an ugly font . but meera rocks(not considering new/traditional lipi). I like to see your conclusions if you can compare meera with some other even thickness fonts like anjaliOldlipi

ani said...

I really wonder how can a person who is not a Malayalee can make such comments about the language. I agree, technically maybe you know things better than a normal user, but how can you comment about our language, its culture and heritage. Indeed, knowingly or unknowingly you are questioning that? Meera is a font which is developed taken care of our language culture. Above all, its developed by Hussain Sir, whom we all respect and also has an experience with Malayalam fonts for more than 8 years, he also developed Rachana as Hiran has mentioned in his comment.

When a Malayalee talks or comments something about his/her mother tongue, state and culture, you are supposed to listen and understand that there should be some reason for that person to make such comments. No Malayaless has any problem against any font, but we know and have the right to point out if a font is not developed according to our language culture. This is not mainly about traditional and typewriter script. But even, when we say about traditional script that too is to safeguard our language culture. We feel we are responsibile for our language and hence working for the betterment of our mother tongue. We comment only about our language. Its our mother tongue and you got to agree that we are the expertise in it than you.

pravi said...

The way some folks are bossing and messing around with Malayalam is becoming so sick. Would any other language community allow people to take decisions that affect them by people clueless about the language an culture? What do these people think of themselves to be judges of something which they have no clue about? Please leave our language to us. We have had enough problems with actions of our own people messing up and we can't stand it anymore to have every bystander making judgments on our language and culture. Why is the Malayalam speaking community's words overridden by people who don't speak the language? Why is Lohit becoming default when community wants something else? Is it because there is one company controls Fedora and its code is more important than that of the community?

I know it is too strong, but it has been for too long, and it is easier to dump Fedora altogether, but we love its commitment to Freedom, if not, it would have been already thrown away.

Manu said...

I think the question is not regarding whether Meera or Lohit is the good one. In my perspective we have to think about the technical feasibilty and viability of fonts and other language computing tools. One problem I find with Malayalam language as such is the property of 'non-linearity' at all levels of language use, whether it is orthography, typography or even at the level of Grammar. At orthographic level, we write words together (e.g 'oudyogikaangiikaarattinum'), and in case of typography, we use complex glyphs...
And this 'non-linearity' or irregularity is a major hinderance for the development of language technology with regard to Malayalam. It sucks when you try to develop a spell checker for Malayalam, or write a rendering engine or whatever...
One advantage I see with reformed writing system (and coresponding fonts) is that it has made the Malayalam script a bit more linear, which will bear its fruits when it is taken to computing platforms.
In fact I don't understand why people mess up the things like culture, heritage with technically relevent issues.
It is unfortunate that people use the tags like 'Malayalee', 'Non-Malayalee' to express their views and opinion. It has to be appreciated that people like Praveen has started addressing issues pertiaining to the Malayalam langauge. I hope that discussions like this will give more focus to the issues posing series challenges to the development of language technology in Malayalam.
And in my opinion, it is not a sin to simplify aspects concerning language for adapting it to the technology. Many language communities have done this (example, Chinese) before.

cibu cj said...

Here are my take on these:

- For a native user, Meera glyphs are much better than Lohit.
- Smaller font size of Meera is a real pain.
- Did you look at AnjaliOldLipi at http://varamozhi.sourceforge.net/fonts/AnjaliOldLipi.ttf? It is the only font with newly encoded Chillu letters and can display nta conjuct whether author is using Microsoft sequence or open sequence.
- Swathanthra Malayalam Computing is a cult. It is their usual habbit to coordinate using email and attack as a group where they don't like.

Hiran Venugopalan said...

Font is the basic thing for any writing language. Even when the providing one (default) is bad, the people who need to use those language will find the exact needed font and start using it. Its the need of OS/ OS distro to find the best and popular among 'users'and make it default and it just benifit them.

SMC is not 'making' bugs. We are just showing you the issues what we came over. Bugs can be there for any system, accepting issues and solution to better the technology is the duty of a good programming artist. I don't belive in the idea that only a native is supposed to do the font designing, if so I am not able to make English fonts! But its fair to know the language and accept ideas from others.

"Beware of bugs in the above code; I have only proved it correct, not tried it. "-Donald Ervin Knuth