Coming Soon to an OpenSource Platform Near You

Item 1:

Linux has perfectly good fonts these days, and they are getting better.

Patents held by Apple Corporation did not allow basic technology (the Bytecode Interpreter)to be implemented in Linux fonts (without paying). FreeType (the Linux font system) worked around this and things were workable, but still, having the Apple technology would have been better. But now....

As of May 2010, those patents have expired and as of July 12 with version 2.4.0, Freetype ships with the Bytecode Interpreter enabled. Version 2.4.1 was released July 18 to address a small bug found in 2.4.0. Freetype is released under a BSD-style FreeType License and the GPL.

Bwahahaha!!! The patents always expire, the dam always breaks, the grip always loosens. Bwhahahaha!!!

Item 2:

An Open Source 8-Bit Computer to Save the World

At a recent local LUG I regularly attend, Braddock Gaskill gave a wonderful presentation on an open source 8-bit computer he had created. This was his first public debut of the device and every person in attendance was enthralled. Later, we met over coffee since I wanted to let him know (and ask if it was ok) that I thought his device would make for a great piece for Linux Journal. Braddock agreed and we started to chat about both the Humane Reader & Humane PC.

Read about it here.

Item 3:

A government agency in India which apparently develops technology now has a pad-tablet thingie that is somewhat less expensive than the iPad.

It is not quite yet available, but it will have a 7 in ch color touch screen, 2 gigs of storage, WiFi, Ethernet, low power demand, a solar-power option, a scaled down version of Linux, and possibly a web cam. There may in the end be different versions available.

And when it is released in the near future, it will cost 35 bucks, with 20 dollars being the final target price.


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8-bit computer? Oh my. Can't we at least send something only a couple of decades obsolete? I get that it's cheap and better than nothing, but that is SO lame.

Yay for the fonts and the Indian device looks interesting.

By James McCann (not verified) on 31 Jul 2010 #permalink

James, sometimes I still miss my Commodore 64, and not for the games.

An 8 bit Z-80 running at 4 MHz is more than enough horsepower to run an eBook reader that doesn't require Internet access so the vendor can delete your legally purchased licensed books.

By LightningRose (not verified) on 31 Jul 2010 #permalink

I just hope those folks really did do their homework; patents can be extended as you please by filing additions. So you have FontTech-A, then FontTech-A.1, FontTech-A.2 and so on. Unfortunately it is not only the addition which is protected but the entire patent as originally granted.

@LightningRose: What eBook reader has a 4MHz Z80? One of the contemporary mutants of the Z80 runs at up to 50MHz (the Rabbit 4000, and I think there may be a 5000 now). However, without a floating point arithmetic unit, rendering can be painful. Font rendering can be done with all integers (and it's great) but you still need to build up the library to do it. As for the C64 - the most popular mutants of the 6502 are the Freescale HS08 series (Motorola sold the tech long ago) which run up to 48MHz and have loads of built-in peripherals. However, for an eBook reader I'd look at the ARM cores and the ColdFire CPUs rather than the more ancient 8-bit devices (which I still use all the time for other things).

By MadScientist (not verified) on 31 Jul 2010 #permalink

Re. the Open 8-bit computer, what would the purpose be other than teaching? I can get various versions of the Freescale HS08 series for under $10 - hardly expensive, and in bulk those processors are much cheaper. Also, is the computer implemented on an FPGA or what? (VHDL, which can be compiled for FPGA or for automated chip production?)

By MadScientist (not verified) on 31 Jul 2010 #permalink

An 8 bit Z-80 running at 4 MHz is more than enough horsepower to run an eBook reader that doesn't require Internet access so the vendor can delete your legally purchased licensed books.

Sure but such a device is so limited I really don't see the point.

A cheap 32 bit system would permit learning to write code and hack an OS such as linux. I guess learning Z-80 assembly language would be a good exercise for a young student but it really wouldn't translate into learning a 21st century 1st world employable skill. Something like the Indian device mentioned in this post or the One Laptop Per Child project is so much more valuable that I think resources going to this are almost wasted.

By James McCann (not verified) on 31 Jul 2010 #permalink

nearly all comic book fonts are ttf.


By Marion Delgado (not verified) on 31 Jul 2010 #permalink