AFDKO under Linux

SebastianK's picture

Ladies & Gentlemen,

I'm a happy user of FontForge under Linux. I'd like to try out Adobe's autohinter just for the fun of it. Back in the day, Thomas Phinney announced it'd be available for Windows, Mac and Unix. It seems that this is not true -- at least I was only able to find Windows and Mac versions.

Wine allows me to run autohintexe, but when passing any files to it (OTF or PFA/AFM) I get error messages like "Error. Illegal command line. Must provide font info file name." or "ERROR: Bad file format. Unknown operator: dict in character."

If anyone ever got this to work, or if I'm doing something totally wrong, I'd be thankful if you could share your wisdom!

Khaled Hosny's picture

From reading the comments in the python files, autohintexe works only on glyphs in some "bez" format, there is a Pyhton wrapper that work on font files, which is called by autohint.cmd. With some little effort you can get it to work on Linux with wine (I have to add the "win" directory to my PATH, rename all .exe files to get rid of the extension, make sure binfmt support is working so windows programs can be called directly like native executables) Now it is working and I got it to hint a font, but I didn't check if the hinting is correct.

SebastianK's picture

Thanks Khaled! According to the documentation you should be able to simply pass it PFA or OTF files. What the 'bez' and 'font info' files are I wasn't able to figure out. I'm afraid it's easier for me to ssh into my University's Windows account, but I'll keep your comment in mind for further experiments. Too bad Big A neglects us again ...

Khaled Hosny's picture

I got the whole FDK to work by using Windows binaries and OSX shell scripts with very little modification. I've no use for it though, may be I'll use it to "validate" FontForge's feature file implementation.

SebastianK's picture

I'd just like to play with the autohinter, since FontForge's hints seem to make Crimson look weak and irregular on prints, unless I'm doing something wrong (yes, it's a crappy old laser printer).

twardoch's picture


it's my experience as well. Essentially, I took the the AFDKO Mac OS X shell and Python scripts, replaced the Mac OS X executable files with shell scripts that call the Windows executables though wine, and there you go.


blank's picture

…unless I'm doing something wrong (yes, it's a crappy old laser printer).

Low-end printers don’t always interpret hints correctly, and if the model has no Postscript emulation at all bad hints can deform letters when the output is converted to PCL. The hints produced by the Adobe autohinter work better than others, but in my experience it’s best to just not autohint a font until the final step of production.

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