Making Fonts on Linux

I made a font of my handwriting tonight, on my ubuntu laptop. Capitals only at this point, and I don’t have a full set of punctuation in there, as I just threw it together.

Here’s the font:

Making Fonts in Linux
Anyway, here’s the recipie:

  • Make sure you have the GIMP, potrace, imagemagick, and fontforge installed.
  • Write the alphabet, numerals, and punctuation on lined paper, like graph paper.
  • Scan it in. Adjust the levels in an image editor like the GIMP so that the light graph-paper lines disappear.
  • Here’s the tedious part: break it apart into individual files, one for each letter, digit, and punctuation mark. Wish I knew a way to automate that easily. Name the parts obvious things, like A.png, B.png, comma.png, etcetera.
  • Here’s a one-line script to convert them to pgms, which you’ll need in a moment: ls *.png | while read FILE; do convert $FILE `basename $FILE png`pgm; done
  • And here’s a one-liner to convert those pgms to xfigs, which you’ll need: ls *.pgm | while read FILE; do potrace -b xfig $FILE; done
  • Now start up fontforge. Create a new blank font or base it on one you’ve got installed. In the menu under Element/Font Info fill in base information like the name of your font as you want it to appear in menus.
  • Go through all the letters, numbers, and punctutation you bothered to write out. For each one, open up the glyph in fontforge (shortcut: just type the letter or numeral or mark), import the appropriate xfig file– there’s your glyph, badda bing, badda boom. Move it smack up near the left edge of the box and move the right edge of the box in tight toward it or you’ll have a really splayed out all over the page font.
  • Save frequently just in case (never crashed on me but it doesn’t hurt to be sure).
  • When you’re done, choose File/Generate Font. Generate a TTF or whatever you want! Rock, you’re there!
  • To actually use your font in Ubuntu, check this out.

Took me a couple hours total but I was figuring it out as I went.

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Bush pulls the plug on Iraq reconstruction

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Bush pulls the plug on Iraq reconstruction

The Bush administration has scaled back its ambitions to rebuild Iraq from the devastation wrought by war and dictatorship and does not intend to seek new funds for reconstruction, it emerged yesterday.

In a decision that will be seen as a retreat from a promise by President George Bush to give Iraq the best infrastructure in the region, administration officials say they will not seek reconstruction funds when the budget request is presented to Congress next month, the Washington Post reported yesterday.

The $18.4bn (£10.6bn) allocation is scheduled to run out in June 2007. The move will be seen by critics as further evidence of the administration’s failure to plan for the aftermath of the war.

A decision not to renew the reconstruction programme would leave Iraq with the burden of tens of billions of dollars in unfinished projects, and an oil industry and electrical grid that have yet to return to pre-war production levels.

The decision is a tacit admission of the failure of the US rebuilding effort in the face of a relentless insurgency.

Maybe wars aren’t really very good for nations. Maybe wars are even worse for nations than vicious dictators are. Maybe there are better ways than shock and awe invasions to topple dictators, or at least ways that have less disastrous consequences. Maybe the U.S. is not militarily omnipotent.

Maybe the best thing we could do for Iraq now is free up a little extra reconstruction budget by getting our troops the hell out of there, and establishing good relations with the resulting Iraqi government or governments, and helping them rebuild.