SMC Malayalam fonts updated versions released

The Unicode fonts for Malayalam maintained by Swathanthra Malayalam Computing were last updated almost 2 years ago. They all were supporting just the v1 Indic opentype spec. But there were rendering problems with the fonts under Harfbuzz.

I was fortunate to attend the Open Source Language Summit 2012 (last year!) organized by Wikimedia Foundation and Red Hat (thank you, guys!) where many of the Indic language experts came together to work on issues at hand. The 2-days workshop helped me greatly to get much more insight into fonts, opentype spec and Harfbuzz in general. Since then I have been spending a lot of effort in updating and fixing the Malayalam fonts and also testing git snapshots of Harfbuzz and reporting issues to harfbuzz development list.

In the meantime, Harfbuzz matured enough and fixed many rendering issues. Thanks to the last Udupi hackfest by Behdad and Jonathan Kew, all known issues with Malayalam shaping has been addressed. And we were busy updating the fonts, opentype lookup rules and fixing bugs to work with old shapers (old pango, Qt, ICU Layout Engine, Windows XP) as well as the new ones (Harfbuzz, Uniscribe, Adobe). The v1 Indic opentype spec was a mess due to ‘undesirable’ Halant reordering (Consonant+Halant forms were ligated while it should have been Halant+Consonant). It has caused a lot of grief on the font developers and shaping engine developers side. With the v2 spec (mlm2 script tag for Malayalam), this has been changed and there is no need to perform Halant shifting anymore by shaping engines. I was leading the effort of porting to mlm2 spec of Malayalam fonts. We could port only Meera and Rachana for now, and RaghuMalayalam taken care by a few sed scripts.

During the 12th anniversary celebrations of Swathanthra Malayalam Computing group, the new version of fonts (5.1 supporting old shapers and 6.0 supporting new shapers) were released. See the email to smc-discuss for details. Remaining fonts also need to be updated, there is interest from community to collaborate on that. The new release will show up in Fedora 20.

In the process, I have learned quite some intricacies of the Indic opentype spec and would try to document them in a series of posts.


3 thoughts on “SMC Malayalam fonts updated versions released

  1. And I am using the new version. It’s good. Thanks for your efforts.
    But still it has certain problems relating to the ‘dotted repham’. On Mozilla Firefox repham is working better than previous versions. But in Mozilla Firefox, when the ‘chandrakkala’ is typed to the letter [after the repham] the position of repham got changing and moved towards to chandrakkala!

    eg: ചേൎന്ന, ചേൎന്ന്, ജോൎജ്ജ, ജോൎജ്ജ്.
    Please look on the repham and its position of the above two words.
    If there is no ‘chandrakkala’ repham is good. When we add chandrakkala repham will be changed to the end position.

    I’m using Windows and MS Office as text editor.
    In MS Office repham not working properly at all. The dotted repham is displaying to the left side of the cursor. This is a big problem. So the repham can’t use in MS Office.


    And also please rectify the glyphs error in AOL on
    ണ്ട + ൂ , ഢ്ര + ൂ – ഇവ പരിശോധിക്കുക. ഊ – ചിഹ്നം ചേൎത്തിട്ടില്ല.
    ഷ്ര ഷ്രു ഷ്രൂ – ഇവയുടെ glyph name തെറ്റാണ്. പരിശോധിക്കുക.
    ‘shr3’ ക്കു പകരം ‘shm1r3’ എന്ന് എഴുതിയിരിക്കുന്നു.

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