GENTIUM-FAQ Gentium Basic Release 1.102 28 November 2013 ======================== Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about the Gentium fonts: General ======== How do you pronounce Gentium? The preferred pronunciation is with a soft G as in 'general', not a hard one as in 'gold': JEN-tee-oom. What is GentiumAlt? It is a version of the font with redesigned diacritics (flatter ones) to make it more suitable for use with stacking diacritics, and for languages such as Vietnamese. The Greek glyphs also use the Porsonic (single-curve) design for the circumflex. Since the main Gentium fonts do not currently include any 'smart' rendering routines, there is no easy way to access these alternate diacritic shapes from within the regular Gentium font. The encoding of the fonts are the same, so the same text can be viewed with either one. There is also no problem with having both font families installed at the same time. Licensing ========= I want to use Gentium in my publication - can I? Gentium is released under the SIL Open Font License, which permits use for any publication, whether electronic or printed. For more answers to use questions see the OFL-FAQ. The license, alongside information specific to Gentium, is in the release package. I would like to bundle Gentium with my application - can I? This is our most common question. The SIL Open Font License allows bundling with applications, even commercial ones, with some restrictions. See the OFL file. Can I use the font on my web site? You can certainly create web pages that request that Gentium be used to display them (if that font is available on the user's system). According to the license, you are even allowed to place the font on your site for people to download it. We would strongly recommend, however, that you direct users to our site to download the font. This ensures that they are always using the most recent version with bug fixes, etc. To make this easier, we've simplified the URL for Gentium: Is Gentium going to stay free? There is no intention to ever charge users for using Gentium. The current version is licensed under a free/open license and future versions will be similar. Modification ============ I would like to modify Gentium to add a couple of characters I need. Can I? Yes - that is allowed as long as you abide by the conditions of the SIL Open Font License. So will you add glyphs upon request? If you have a special symbol that you need (say, for a particular transcription system), the best means of doing so will be to ensure that the symbol makes it into the Unicode Standard. It is impossible for us to add every glyph that every person desires, but we do place a high priority on adding pretty much anything that falls in certain Unicode ranges (extended Latin, Greek, Cyrillic). You can send us your requests, but please understand that we are unlikely to add symbols where the user base is very small, unless they have been accepted into Unicode. Can I send you work I've done to be incorporated into Gentium? Yes! See the FONTLOG for information on becoming a contributor. Technical ========= Can you help me get Gentium working on my system? We cannot afford to offer individual technical support. The best resource is this website, where we hope to offer some limited help. However, we do want to hear of any problems you encounter, so that we can add them to the list of bugs to fix in later releases. Our contact address is . Please understand that we cannot guarantee a personal response. I can't find all the extended Latin letters in the font. How do I type them? Gentium is Unicode-encoded, which means that the computer stores a special, unique code for each letter in your document. Since most keyboards do not have hundreds of keys, special software is needed in order to type the hundreds of special characters supported by the font. I can't find the 'o with right hook' in the font. Where is it? Combinations of base letters with diacritics are often called composite, or pre-composed glyphs. Gentium has hundreds of these (the ones that are included in Unicode). There are, however, many common combinations that are not represented by a single composite. It is possible to enter these into a document, but only as individual components. So 'o with right hook' would be entered as 'o', then 'right hook'. Although this may not look very good in some cases, we're not able to anticipate every possible combination. Future versions of Gentium will include 'smart font' support for technologies such as OpenType and SIL's Graphite. This will make diacritic positioning much better. The Gentium Basic fonts do, however, include limited support for both OpenType and Graphite, and demonstrate the type of support that will eventually be provided. Some diacritics are not aligning well with base glyphs, and if I type more than one diacritic, they run into each other. Why is that? Gentium currently has no 'smart font' code for automatic diacritic positioning, but the Gentium Basic fonts do, and similar support will appear in the main fonts in the near future. How do I type the Greek letters? You need a Unicode-compatible keyboarding system, which is not included in the distribution package. I'm having problems making PDFs -- why won't my document distill? Gentium is a large font, with lots of glyphs. As a result, some printers can balk at PDFs that have the complete font embedded. The easiest way to avoid this is to have Acrobat/Distiller subset the font. This is generally a good idea anyway (with any font) and can reduce the size of your files. Basic ===== How are the Basic fonts (Gentium Basic, Gentium Book Basic) different from Gentium? These font families are based on the original Gentium design, but with additional weights. Both families come with a complete regular, bold, italic and bold italic set of fonts. The supported character set, however, is much smaller than for the main Gentium fonts. These 'Basic' fonts support only the Basic Latin and Latin-1 Supplement Unicode ranges, plus a selection of the more commonly used extended Latin characters, with miscellaneous diacritical marks, symbols and punctuation. In particular, these fonts do not support full extended Latin IPA, complete support for Central European languages, Greek and Cyrillic. What is the Book weight? It is a complete second font family that is slightly heavier overall, and more useful for some purposes. The main Gentium family will eventually have a complete matching Book weight, along with matching italics. Why is the line spacing greater for the Basic fonts? In some environments, stacked diacritics in Gentium could display as 'chopped-off'. Gentium Basic has slightly wider default line spacing in order to avoid this problem. Most applications do, however, let you set the line spacing explicitly, so you can have the lines spaced precisely as you wish. Will you be accepting requests for additions to the Basic character set? No. We are now focusing our development efforts on the main Gentium fonts, which already provide richer character set support. Is there an Alt version of the Basic fonts? No, although you may notice that capitals and some tall lowercase letters do use 'low-profile' versions. Future ====== Now that SIL International has taken over Gentium, who will be the next designer? Victor Gaultney will remain as primary designer, but Annie Olsen, a fellow type designer from the SIL Non-Roman Script Initiative, has joined the project team. She is a former calligraphy teacher, and is well suited for the task. Other members of the NRSI team will also add their expertise in technical matters. Do you plan to include other typographic enhancements (small caps, old style figures, etc.)? Those would be nice, wouldn't they? From a design point of view, it would be great to have these refinements, and we haven't ruled them out. But there are other needs that are much higher priority (Bold, Cyrillic, etc.). If you think you could contribute some of your time and effort to these enhancements, see the FONTLOG file for information on becoming a contributor. What about bold? The Gentium Basic fonts include Bold and Bold Italic versions. The main Gentium fonts will also include them in the future. Sans-serif? There is a definite need for a sans-serif font that shares some of Gentium's strengths -- high readability, economy of space, etc. It would also be great if that font also harmonized well with Gentium. We don't currently have any plans for a companion face, although one of our other projects - Andika - may be useful. Andika is a sans-serif font designed specifically for use in literacy programs around the world, and is available from our web site. Will you be extending Gentium to cover other scripts, and Hebrew in particular? It is very unlikely that we would do this, as there are so many pressing needs in Latin, Greek and Cyrillic scripts. But you could contribute to the project. When will Cyrillic be completed? As soon as we can get it done, but it is still a few months away. I need a couple of ancient Greek glyphs, such as the digamma. When will those be ready? These have already been designed and will be in the next main release. Will there be a Type 1 version? What about OpenType? The next generation of Gentium will have OpenType, Graphite and AAT support. We do not plan to produce Type 1 versions at this time, but please write us if this is important (and tell us why). We are, however, considering releasing a version in OT-CFF format, but it will not go through the same careful testing as the standard OT/Graphite/AAT version.