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(I've posted a question about this on the FontLab forum, but haven't gotten a response after several days, so I'm trying here.)
I'm building a new version of one of my old fonts, Anonymous. It's a TTF fixed-width font (meant for programmers) and I'd like to include bitmaps for certain PPMs (10, 11, 12, 13). I created the bitmaps with BitFonter and successfully imported them into the FontLab file.
The generated font works great in most OS X apps I've tested (including Terminal, Coda, TextEdit, PhotoShop CS4, Illustrator CS4, Mail) using whatever method is available to disable anti-aliasing. (In some apps, such as Quark 8, it's not possible to disable anti-aliasing, but the font still works.) It also seems to work fine in Windows (XP) in the limited testing I've done there. The font validates in Apple Font Book. I got some errors in MS Font Validator, but I was able to eliminate them.
Nevertheless, this font causes BBEdit, one of the most popular Mac programmers' text editors, to crash, whether antialiasing is enabled or not. The only way the font can be used without crashing BBEdit is to generate it without the bitmaps. I've also found one app, TexEdit, a simple shareware text editor, will not display the font at any of the sizes that have bitmaps--the characters become invisible at those sizes. The app doesn't crash, though. There may be other apps that are affected, but these are the only two I've found so far.
In the old version of the font, which I built years ago with Fontographer, I was only able to include the bitmaps in the Mac version (as a font suitcase). This version works flawlessly with BBEdit, so it's not that BBEdit can't display embedded bitmap fonts at all. Thinking it might be something to do with Mac vs. PC TTF, I tried generating a Mac suitcase-based TrueType file from FontLab, but this, too, causes BBEdit to crash. I tried importing the new version of the font into Fontographer (OS X version) and generated a Mac suitcase-based TrueType font. This doesn't cause BBEdit to crash, but Fontographer would only include the first 256 bitmap characters. I also tried limiting the number of bitmap characters in FontLab, but this still caused BBEdit to crash.
I've been unable to find much information about embedding bitmaps in TTF files (the FontLab manual has very little to say about it). I have assumed that I'm doing something wrong, but I've spent several days trying different things with no success. Has anyone else successfully built TTFs with embedded bitmaps using FontLab? Could this be a FontLab bug? If it's a bug in BBEdit, why would it work if the font is generated by Fontographer, but not if it's generated by FontLab? Any advice or information is welcome.
(I realize I could manually hint the font, optimized for the PPMs in question, using my bitmaps as a guide, but it would be much simpler and faster if I could get the bitmap embedding to work, as I already have all the bitmaps created. The new version of the font has over 600 glyphs x 2 weights x 4 PPMs, so doing manual hinting would add a huge amount of extra work to the project.)