Intel-native FontLab Studio 5.1 for Mac to arrive in July 2011

twardoch's picture

We are pleased to announce that Fontlab Ltd. will release an Intel-native FontLab Studio 5.1 for Mac OS X in July 2011. Currently, the application is undergoing internal testing, and beta versions will be issued to selected testers within the next week.

FontLab Studio 5.1 will be mainly a bugfix release and will be available free of charge to all users of FontLab Studio 5. It will not introduce new features but because it's Intel-native, users on Intel Macs will experience a significant increase in speed (up to 2.5x faster) and stability. Users who upgrade to Mac OS X 10.7 Lion will secure an uninterrupted workflow.

Following the release of FontLab Studio 5.1, Fontlab Ltd. will publish TypeTool 3.1 for Mac OS X, a free update for all users of the popular TypeTool 3 font editor. This update will also make the application Intel-native.

Later this year, Fontlab Ltd. will introduce FontLab Studio 6 (for both Mac OS X and Windows) which will include a number of further improvements and several interesting new features.

Below is a small screenshot showing a development build of FontLab Studio 5.1 running as a Intel-native Mac application:

Stay tuned for more news from Fontlab Ltd.!

Best regards,
Adam Twardoch
Fontlab Ltd.

eolson's picture

!

William Berkson's picture

Whoopee!

dezcom's picture

Yes!

Karl Stange's picture

and there was much rejoicing!

Andreas Stötzner's picture

My FL 5 happens to freeze rather often under MacOS 10.6. So this sounds fairly promising.

behnam's picture

Mine is jumpy when scrolling the font window. This is a very good reason to upgrade to Lion (or not)!

wolfattack's picture

Thank goodness I saw this, I was about to update my computer to OSX Lion (dev golden master copy), and remembered that Fontlab Studio was PowerPC based...

Any word on when in July we can expect the update? Fontlab is the only PowerPC app that is holding me back from upgrading, grrrrr.

hrant's picture

I still miss the 68040.

hhp

twardoch's picture

FontLab Studio 5.1 for Mac OS X beta running on Lion:

Register to participate in the beta program:
http://bit.ly/fontlabbetaaplication

The beta program is starting this week!

Best,
Adam

blank's picture

The beta program is starting this week!

I never thought you'd make me hot, Adam ;)

twardoch's picture

We have just published a note about compatibility of FontLab products with Mac OS X 10.7 Lion. Go check it out if you're planning to upgrade your Mac OS X to Lion anytime soon.

wolfattack's picture

so how buggy is the 5.1 beta so far? Is the official 5.1 version still in line for release in the next week or so, before July ends? Thanks!

Goran Soderstrom's picture

OK, so this is the last day of july. Will FontLab hold its promise?

ralf h.'s picture

*bump*

wolfattack's picture

August 1st :(

jordydavies's picture

Can't wait, especially as I have a new contract with a font distributor and need to tweak several fonts, etc., etc. I could do this in the new Fontographer but would prefer FontLab.

blank's picture

Can't wait…

So just don't update to 10.7. It's just another mediocre Apple cash grab, not the second coming of Christ.

jordydavies's picture

I did the update before I read the FontLab page. How very inconvenient! Someone here doesn't like Apple, wonder who that might be.

blank's picture

Trust me, if I could run all my development tools on 10.4 I would. That was the last decent OS to come out of Cupertino.

dezcom's picture

Cost: $29 for .5 upgrade from Apple; $399 for a .5 upgrade from Adobe; The love of your children--Priceless.

wolfattack's picture

I guess this is how it goes with software though, you gotta kinda expect it to get pushed back..... hopefully an end of August release isn't too much to ask.

Aaron Moodie's picture

Software is an unwieldy beast and always throws up unexpected hurdles. Despite understanding this, I've been hitting refresh in this thread and and Fontlab site for the last two day in anticipation.

:-(

twardoch's picture

Unfortunately, we're still in beta phase. As soon as FontLab Studio 5.1 is good enough for general consumption, we'll be releasing it for general public. The overall opinion of the first beta build is good, we'll be having a second build soon. I realize how inconvenient this all is, and we'll keep you posted.

(Sorry for the days of silence, I was on vacation for the last week, but the work's been going on.)

dan_reynolds's picture

So, if a second build is still going to be built and tested, I guess it would be safe to say that the public release will still be weeks or months away.

twardoch's picture

Weeks: yes. Months: no. Some time in August is realistic. Otherwise, I'll be seriously annoyed.

The second beta build will be available next week. Anyone interested in obtaining it can register at http://bit.ly/fontlabbetaaplication

Best,
Adam

twardoch's picture

Initially, we had hoped that Apple's announcement of Lion "available in Summer" would mean late August. So far, no Mac OS X version was released in July and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mac_OS_X#Versions shows that "Summer" in the past was indeed late August. But as you know, even weeks before release, Apple only said "in July". No precise release date announced. I hope you'll understand that we could not predict that date either, and if even Apple doesn't fix their release dates, same can apply to independent developers such as Fontlab Ltd.

But please be assured that we're seriously committed to releasing FontLab Studio 5.1 as soon as possible. Given the conditions, I can say that it's likely that we'll post a beta build publicly as soon as it's stable enough for people to run.

Even now with the current beta 1 (build 4204), the most testers are generally happy with the application, and they say it's more stable than 5.0.4. However, there are still a few open issues where the actual functionally doesn't work at all as intended. Those are being actively worked on, so it's very likely that next week or the week after, all the users who need a workable version of FontLab Studio running on Lion will have one. It will be initially branded "beta" because some (rarely used) aspects may not work as they should, but the vast majority of the functionality will be working as good as in 5.0.4 or actually better.

So — it's true that we missed our intended deadline of July with the public release, but at least there is a build right now which is "mostly workable" and my expectations are that next week we'll have a version that is workable. Further builds will follow, and after the initial 5.1.0 release I'm sure there will be several bugfix releases. So in a way, one could say that FontLab Studio 5.1 has sort of arrived in July 2011, but not quite yet. :/

The ultimate goal is that in a few months, we'll have a "final final" FontLab Studio 5.x for Mac OS X which will not only be "Lion compatible" but will actually be significantly better than the current 5.0.4 version. It'll be a free update to all FontLab Studio 5 users, and, apart from lots of bugfixes, it'll have several noteworthy feature improvements:

* First of all, the application is, in general, much faster. Action Sets run approx. 2.5 times faster in 5.1 than in 5.0.4, running on Mac OS 10.6.8.

* FontLab Studio 5.1 has no longer the 6,400 glyph limit. It allows you to open, save and generate fonts with up to 65,535 glyphs.

* Adobe FDK for OpenType version 2.5 is integrated in 5.1 (as opposed to 1.6 in 5.0.4). This means that you can use mark attachment or "sub fi by f i" type of statements, as well as "script DFLT" etc. Due to this change, you need to add the "languagesystem" statements in the lower-right portion of the OpenType panel, as in:
languagesystem DFLT dflt;
languagesystem latn dflt;
languagesystem latn TRK;
languagesystem cyrl dflt;
languagesystem cyrl SRB;

* "Clean up paths" algorithm from Fontographer is integrated. In beta 1 (build 4204) it's only available through the Action / Action Set dialogs (in the Contour group of the dialogs as "CleanUp"). This algorithm is not MM-compatible, unlike "Optimize". For single-master fonts, however, it will deliver different, sometimes better, results, from "Optimize". We plan to add it directly into the Contour menu in a later build.

* In the TrueType Hinting / TrueType Preview panel, the little chequer icon lets you switch between additional rasterizers. The list of those rasterizers is subject to change, but one highlight is the addition of the native Microsoft rasterizers. The MS B&W rasterizer is the same as used in the black-and-white Windows rendering mode. The MS Grayscale rasterizer is the same as used in the grayscale rendering mode. Note that those rasterization modes are not yet sensitive to the "gasp" table settings in Font Info, though this may change. The rasterizers (especially the MS ones) run much faster so any changes to the manual TrueType hinting are instantly visible.

Regarding Python integration, there are some improvements but also caveats:

* Build 4204 integrates with Python 2.5 (on Mac OS X 10.5, 10.6, 10.7). FLS 5.0.4 integrated with Python 2.3. Therefore, some of your macros may not work if they relied on Python packages installed into /Library/Python/2.3/site-packages. Please re-install them into /Library/Python/2.3/site-packages. However, this is likely to change. Future builds of FLS 5.1 will probably link to the "Current" Python framework on each OS, which is 2.5 on OS X 10.5, 2.6 on 10.6, 2.7 on 10.7.

* Python packages that rely on extensions written in C (such as RMX tools version 1.6 or the macros that ship with standalone AFDKO 2.5) will or may not currently work because they were built for an older Python version, and possibly were compiled only for PPC, while FLS 5.1 is 32-bit Intel (i386 architecture). This will need to be addressed by authors of the packages.

Regards,
Adam

dezcom's picture

Thanks for that informative post, Adam!

wolfattack's picture

I could be wrong, but, RMX tools website says that the newest release should work with 5.1, is this incorrect Adam?

http://remix-tools.com/updater

agisaak's picture

Your list of "noteworthy feature improvements" for the final release of FL 5.x has me doing a little happy dance.

One question though: For those of us with pronounced Leophobia, will Leopard still be supported?

André

twardoch's picture

Wolfattack: Evidently Tim has updated RMX to work with 5.1 -- that's exactly what I meant. Some 3rd party macro developers will need to do that.

Andre: FontLab Studio 5.1 will work on Mac OS X 10.5, 10.6 and 10.7, and probably also on 10.4.

Rob O. Font's picture

Congratulations on getting this new FL in the works and thanks to all for their hard work. I look forward to a whole lot of very happy people when the long hard transition is complete, and we can all look back and laugh, even if just a microscopic chuckle.

jordydavies's picture

Looking forward to the release of 5.1. I am especially pleased that the program will be backward compatible with earlier versions of Mac OS 10.5, 10.6, and 10.7.

Aaron Moodie's picture

Hi Adam,
how are things going? Still thinking you'll be able to release in August?

Goran Soderstrom's picture

So where is the second Beta as promised last week?

Hannes Famira's picture

Adam, sorry but I have to make sure I am getting this right: Are you saying that I will be able to preview my ClearType hinting on the Mac?

jordydavies's picture

The middle of August is here, neither FontLab Studio or Type Tool 3 are ready for the new Mac OS. Still waiting. And the new Mac OS compatible Fontographer does crash when opening vfb files, not always, but often enough to be annoying. Please help us out here.

hrant's picture

Guys, all this pressure might become counter-productive.
If you don't want to end up complaining that there are
[too many] bugs, let them be properly squashed.

hhp

Rob O. Font's picture

Using FOG until...

twardoch's picture

Our plan is the following: we're working towards a new beta build which will be free of critical bugs. We'll publish this beta build publicly, i.e. all existing FontLab Studio 5 users will be able to use it without joining the beta program. It'll still be branded "beta" as it still will have some functionality issues (hopefully only issues that will affect a small group of specialized users).

So -- there will be a publicly available version very soon. We'll continue working on it until it reaches "release quality". After that, we'll also continue working on post-release fixes.

It has to be a "flexible process". I hope you can bear with us. We're doing everything we can!

Best,
Adam

twardoch's picture

Also: FOG users who experience crashes when opening VFB files, please report them along with the VFB files at http://www.fontlab.com/support/problem/

Frode Bo Helland's picture

Off topic: Adam, do you have an e-mail address? I couldn’t find one at your website.

twardoch's picture

Hannes,

the ClearType preview won't work in FontLab Studio 5.1 quite yet, but it's definitely coming in a later version. Microsoft have kindly granted us a license for their ClearType rasterizer for inclusion in our applications, but integrating it takes some time.

Best,
Adam

hoefler's picture

Adam, any news? Crop of new machines arriving at our office this week will have 10.7 pre-installed…

Rob O. Font's picture

Adam > I hope you can bear with us. We're doing everything we can!

We're all Bearing as well as we can. But soon Robofont will end up with the Lion's share of my segment.

blank's picture

Crop of new machines arriving at our office this week will have 10.7 pre-installed…

You could always run 10.6 in a virtual machine until there is a dependable version of 5.1. It seems absurd, but it should work.

But soon Robofont will end up with the Lion's share of my segment.

This beta/release process has convinced me that I need to be in the same boat in the very near future.

butterick's picture

Crop of new machines arriving at our office this week will have 10.7 pre-installed…

I like your cargo-cult solution, JH.

Rob O. Font's picture

>This beta/release process has convinced me that I need to be in the same boat in the very near future.

Fortunately, Robofont is the anti-Titanic solution, so there's plenty of room on the lifeboats to hop aboard! ;)

dezcom's picture

Is Robofont a shipping product that currently runs on Lion?

blank's picture

I prefer to think of Robofont as the zippy new cruiser that will pull us from the lifeboats of a ship that already sank.

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