I NEED A STABLE MAC VERSION OF FONTLAB NOW!

Kristian M's picture

Setup:
I own a MacBook Pro i7 2,8 Ghz processor with 8 GB memory, 250 MB SSD, Lion installed (10.7.4) with FontLab 5.1.2 (4447).

Problem:
Crashes constantly (ten times a day) an irregular but usually when editing in glyph-window-mode.

Any one else with similar setup – do you have this problem?

Right now I’m looking for replacement software like ”Glyphs” any suggestions?

–FontLab, SHAPE-UP!!!
In one years time I’m going to need retina-supported software as well!

BW,
KTKM
(Frustrated but devoted FL-User since 2004)

dezcom's picture

THANKS Again, Mark!

<< there is a RoboFont extension I would recommend called Groups2Features that does finish the job, allowing you to move any of your classes from groups into your feature code. I would also recommend the FeaturePreview extension.>>

I assume these are downloadable?

Mark Simonson's picture

Yep: http://typemytype.github.com/RoboFontExtensions/

Installation instructions are there, too. Basically, you just double click on each extension file to install.

dezcom's picture

Thanks, Mark! Got it installed :-)

twardoch's picture

I totally sympathize with the tenor here. We at FontLab tremendously respect our user community, and have been working hard.

However, the fact is: the current codebase of FontLab Studio was written on Windows and was then ported to Mac OS 9, then to PowerPC Carbon on Mac OS X, and then to Intel Carbon on Mac OS X. It's like a wardrobe that you kept dismantling and reassembling three or four times, each time you move. The fourth iteration will squeak and wobble no matter what you do. We've had three full-time developers working primarily on stability of FontLab Studio 5.1 for over a year now, and you can see the results. They are, well... (Please note that, despite the fact that it was three man-years of development, we decided to release FontLab Studio 5.1 for free to all existing users.)

This only confirms the decision we made three years ago to build up a completely new codebase from scratch (Victoria). Since then, a second team of three developers has been working on this under the greater-than-ever Yuri Yarmola.

*Finally*, at ATypI Hong Kong (next week) we'll be showing the first application based on the Victoria technology.

It won't be the new FontLab Studio this time, but let me just say that it opens 200 UFOs in under 25 seconds total, is very stable and I think many of you will like it a lot, whether you're on FontLab Studio, Fontographer, Glyphs, RoboFont or FontForge.

For the first time ever, we won't have to deal with a huge effort of porting code between Mac and Windows (we can release applications for both platforms practically from the same core), so we can concentrate on the *relevant things*, not on aligning some stupid dialog boxes and making sure that copy-paste of text doesn't crash the application.

It took Adobe many years to develop InDesign 1.0 because they could not develop PageMaker any further. It took Apple many years to develop Mac OS X 10.0 because they could not develop Mac OS 9 any further. They needed fundamental change.

And yes, some people actually moved away from Mac OS 9 to Windows in that process. Some switched back over to Mac OS X. And quite a few switched to Mac OS X from Windows even though they had never used a Mac before.

However: in both Apple's and Adobe's cases, people were frustrated because it took the companies so long, and the very initial releases of the products were also frustrating to some.

Yet, if you use InDesign on Mac OS X now, and perhaps think back to PageMaker on Mac OS 9, I'm not sure you would want to ever go back.

So, as for FontLab Studio: there will be one more version of FontLab Studio 5.x for both Mac and Windows available this year. It will be maintenance release with a few potentially useful features.

A brand-new font editor will follow, based on Victoria. Some 60-70% of the new editor are ready, but there are still some major parts missing. It will be free of all those frustrating limitations we had to live with for the last 5-10 years which were part of FontLab Studio. I might even say, it'll be free of quite a few frustrating limitations that any type designer had to live with, regardless of the tools they use.

It certainly won't be the old shit. It'll be a fundamental change.

Perhaps it'll be new shit. You'll be the judge. But I cannot say "available now" just yet — sorry.

I've been on this bumpy ride of Victoria development for three years now. It's been the busiest and the most exciting time since I joined FontLab. To me, and people who have seen it, the results are absolutely breathtaking.

So, prepare yourselves to join the last bit of the bumpy ride in 2013. Don't hold your breath quite now, save that for later. But please keep your fingers crossed for us.

By all means, if FontLab Studio 5.x is causing you pain, use Glyphs or RoboFont until then. Since the Victoria-based font editor will be an entirely new product anyway, we'll need to win over the users of existing apps to switch — be it our own or someone else's apps.

Did I say 2013? Yes, I did say 2013. And we mean it.

Best regards,
Adam

hrant's picture

Adam, sounds great - godspeed. Patience is not for the impatient. :-)

Since this will essentially be a new product, do you expect the upgrade fee to be more than usual?

hhp

dezcom's picture

Adam,
I understand and appreciate your efforts. It is just that it is frustrating to not be able to release type in the midst of this transition.

oldnick's picture

Well, it DID take Adobe many years to develop InDesign 1.0, and it was an unmitigated piece of crap; it screwed up font handling so bad that I had to uninstall, then reinstall Acrobat, Illustrator AND Photoshop. From the serious ass-smoking that Adam is laying down, I suppose that we can expect a similarly auspicious launch of Victoria. Whoop-tee-freaking-doo.

BTW, I stall haven't heard anything about DTL Kernmaster 2012; wasn't that due out months ago?

J Weltin's picture

This sounds promising, Adam. And is appreciated very much.

oldnick's picture

This sounds promising, Adam. And is appreciated very much.

How very obsequious. I have a better idea…

Adam, how about you give everyone your personal phone number, so you can field all if the calls from people who are fed up with your smoke-up-the-ass song and dance routine. Enough irate calls might incentivize you to actually fix these stupid problems. ASAP, or in 2013. Really. No shit.

Best Regards, Nick

P.S. Nice hat, dude…although it could really use a feather to round out the whole William Tell vibe you have going…

cdavidson's picture

I'm interested in seeing the new technology. I'm always pleased when companies do a 'ground up' revision, it bodes well for the future of the software and normally always results in pleasing usability (if not in the first release, then the second).

Also, I can't help but feel certain comments on this forum are becoming exceptionally cruel. I've been following Typophile for some time now, and the things that I'm seeing posted lately are beginning to push me away. It's not nice and no one respects nasty posters. Being friendly is so much better!

hrant's picture

Actually ever since James left* there's only been one abusive person here. And if you can't ignore one person out of hundreds that's mostly your loss.

* Although he did recently pop in with this tinged-with-racism gem:
http://typophile.com/node/96629#comment-523576

hhp

octopi's picture

Adam, does this mean there will be no further development of Fontlab after the next maintenance upgrade?

I saved for a year to buy Fontlab, will there be a cheaper crossgrade for existing Fontlab users to the new app if Fontlab is dis-continued?

Many thanks

msmiths's picture

Has anyone experienced FontLab 5.1.3 pre-release build 4631 being more stable than 5.1.2?

I have yet to install 5.1.3, but I've been getting a lot of random crashing with 5.1.2 after upgrading to Mountain Lion awhile back.

Karl Stange's picture

Has anyone experienced FontLab 5.1.3 pre-release build 4631 being more stable than 5.1.2?

Yes, running on 10.7.3 and so far more stable than 5.1.2.

twardoch's picture

Octopi,

yes, that's right. We won't be releasing a new major upgrade of FontLab Studio based on the old codebase. Maintaining it has become increasingly complex.

The new font editor we're working on, which we'd like to release in 2013, won't be a direct continuation of the current FontLab Studio as we know it today.

Of course we will be offering discounted pricing for all existing users of FontLab Studio (and for users of other our products accordingly) -- just as we had offered discounted pricing in the past for, say, users of Fontographer who'd like to purchase FontLab Studio.

We think that for some time, users will find it useful to have both products. It's likely that some of the "font tech trickery" features which are part of the current FLS won't be included in the new product.

I'm excited to say that we've shown an early preview of our new font editor at ATypI in Hong Kong last week, both publicly and, in more depth, privately to some respected type designers, and they reacted very positively to what they have seen.

This gives us strength to continue our efforts to create the best tool for type design on the market. Many thanks for your continued support!

Best,
Adam

twardoch's picture

Karl, Michael,

build 4631 includes a key fix to -- there is no other way to put it -- a major fuckup that crept into the code after build 4447.

Please let us know of your experiences!

(While, as I said above, we won't be releasing a major upgrade to FLS 5.x, we do intend to continue fixing bugs for quite some time. Our goal is to make FLS 5.x as stable as possible, while new features will go into the fully new product.)

Thanks!
Adam

Karl Stange's picture

Please let us know of your experiences!

A key one for me (and I know others here have mentioned it) was the app (5.1.2) crashing as I edited glyphs, which happened on a fairly regular basis. This has so far not happened with the 5.1.3 build.

Without knowing more about the new product (though I would very much like to be involved in beta testing, if and when that is opened up) it would be nice to see the FontLab tool maintained in some way; perhaps broken down into components or depending on the success of the new product, with a version released into the wild for others to tinker with?

oldnick's picture

Also, I can't help but feel certain comments on this forum are becoming exceptionally cruel. I've been following Typophile for some time now, and the things that I'm seeing posted lately are beginning to push me away. It's not nice and no one respects nasty posters. Being friendly is so much better!

I presume that this comment is directed toward me; perhaps I flatter myself. However, I do not think it unreasonable to expect that a product which carries a premium price actually to work, or that promises made be actually fulfilled. Silly me.

.00's picture

* Although he did recently pop in with this tinged-with-racism gem:

My being bored to death with everything you have to say has nothing to do with racism.

Now get back to bitching about font editors.

hrant's picture

You get back under the bridge!

hhp

xy's picture

Robofont is great. But one major issue with it now is that it is conceived as a glyph editor and doesn't provide tools for hinting. You can autohint with the AFDKO on generating a OTF, or with ttfautohint if you're doing TrueType, and that's basically it. I have a few few fonts with PS links in FontLab. In Robofont I will just loose this information and have to rely on what a tool is doing automatically. With the demand for webfonts, this is not enough. So just for that, FontLab is still a major, functional and advanced tool.

The great strength of Robofont is the UFO workflow and community. While robofont has nothing for hinting, you ***could*** build your own tool for it (or for whatever else), and attach it to Robofont as a plugin or as an external tool like MetricsMachine. That is already happening with RoboHint: http://vimeo.com/38350058

As far as FontLab goes, sure last years have been annoying as hell. And surely when you pay for a product you expect it to work well. But as font makers, don't we also experience the difficulty of producing software that has to work in different environnements over a long period of time? Sometimes you get requests and just can't answer them in a timely matter because you have to finish a project or find out what is causing that problem. Would you really like your customers to treat you like an idiot because kerning is suddently not working in Word after they updated their computers?

Beating on the FontLab guys relentlessly just shows a lack of respect and understanding.

(And I have my share of unanswered questions/requests on the FontLab forum)

Now it would be great to get an answer there: http://typophile.com/node/36474?page=1
:)

.00's picture

You get back under the bridge!

I'll get back under the bridge when I see you hanging off of it.

msmiths's picture

Adam yes the 5.1.3 build solved the problems I was having, specifically with the intermittent crashing. Everything has been smooth since installing it the other day.

Speaking on your earlier post, I'm curious what you meant by "font tech trickery"? My current workflow is Fontlab, RMX Tools, Prepolator, Superpolator and UFO Stretch. I have no interest in trying the new programs on the market as I have no real qualms with my current workflow, I only imagine that it'd be much nicer if all the separate programs I just listed were merged into one program.

The new version of FontLab in 2013 won't have all the same features as the current version? What major features are being omitted?

oldnick's picture

@Michael Jarboe

Them's a whole lotta tools; I've gotten by with Fontographer, FontLab and MS Font Validater for years—but, then, I'm a hack with 0ver 1,100 fonts to my name.

What would be really cool would be an INTELLIGENT Bold function—one with tunable parameters to solve the S/8 pariah…

twardoch's picture

Mike,

well, it's difficult to explain. Most functionalities have a different approach. For example, we have unlimited layers which includes any numbers of outlines and bitmaps (color, grayscale or b/w). Glyph design and spacing happens in one unified window, which supports any OpenType features including Indic and Arabic shaping. The "blind" implementation of Multiple Master is replaced by a very different approach to interpolation across different masters. Character sets, encodings, codepages are seriously revamped. Etc. etc.

All this has serious implications to the workflow. I think you're right to assume that quite a few of functionalities that you've mentioned will be unified in the new app.

charles ellertson's picture

For about 1/3 the price of FontLab, you can by a basic PC (Dell) that will run Fontlab in Windows. If you must, hide it in a closet so your friends won't know.

twardoch's picture

Luc(as) de Groot has a Dell notebook with an Apple sticker plastered over the Dell logo on the cover :)

charles ellertson's picture

Best of both worlds, Adam. He's got a good, inexpensive machine, and his designer friends still think he's cool.

hrant's picture

And he gets to laugh at their delusions. Luc[as] is da man.

hhp

msmiths's picture

Adam, I have noticed that in version 5.1.3 using the Macro Toolbar, the 'Top level' drop down doesn't change to reflect any of the selections. For instance, if I select from the Top level drop down 'RoboFabUFO', it will still read as 'Top level', or any other selection it gets stuck on.

It doesn't seem to effect the functionality, as the second level drop down reflects each selection and the Macros still work. (even though RoboFab seems to be broken a bit with this new version of 5.1.3) The only way to get the Top level drop down to reflect the selection name is to 'Reset macro' after making a selection.

msmiths's picture

These FontLab updates keep screwing up my RoboFab Macro, I need oldnick to start yelling at someone, pronto.

oldnick's picture

And exactly what are you trying to imply, Buster?

twardoch's picture

We have posted today new pre-release builds 4692 of FontLab Studio 5.1.3 for Mac and 5.2 for Windows. Quite a few bug fixes, finally including a fix for the RoboFab UFO importing problem!

Best,
Adam

dezcom's picture

Thanks, Adam!
Is 4692 at least as stable as 4447?

twardoch's picture

Chris,

we haven't heard any negative comments or problem reports so far.

Best,
Adam

dezcom's picture

Thanks, Adam.

piccic's picture

I am feeling sick merely at the idea of having to learn a new type design software… :-(

cuttlefish's picture

If it matters to anyone, a largely stable build of FontForge for Mac is now available at http://fuuko.libferris.com/osx/packages/. It's not perfect, in fact it's downright experimental, but it might give you something to work with for a while.

Grrrben's picture

Hi Adam,

Since we're almost halfway through 2013 now, which quarter will FontLab's Victoria thing most likely be released? Second, third?

Curious!

Cheers,
Gerben

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