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Font Files

Font Original files Modern files
6x6 system font Monospace fonts discussion - ttfs in progress
8x8 system font Earlier fonts thread - ttf
8x16 system font Monospace fonts discussion - ttfs in progress

Font Formats

These are the font formats to know about when dealing with ST fonts, bitmap fonts in general, and scalable fonts that mimic these.

Format Used by Usage notes
FNT (GEM) GDOS Header + font data line by line. Set up fonts in ASSIGN.SYS file. You need to have the standard screen font for your display represented in this file. Your GDOS installation should come with the right file.
FNT (Harlekin) Harlekin III (others?) Raw font data line by line, 8x8 (2048 bytes) or 8x16 (4096 bytes) only.
BDF/PCF X Window System (mainly UNIX/Linux) BDF is the ASCII version, PCF is the binary version.
FON MS Windows
MBK (font) STOS Unknown
TTF This is the main vector font format in use today. Since it's usable on all the major platforms, we won't yet worry about other modern vector formats.

comp.fonts FAQ on Atari fonts

(From [1])

The standard Atari OS in ROM does not support any type of fonts. To use different fonts in applications, either the application has to have built-in support for some font format, or an add-on program is needed. This add-on program is called a GDOS, a Graphical Device Operating System. There are many different versions of GDOS.

The earliest versions of GDOS supported only GEM bitmap fonts (*.FNT). These versions include GDOS, AMC-GDOS (Atari), G-plus (Codehead) and Font-GDOS (Atari again). Font-GDOS (available for free) added caching to the font-manager, so not all fonts need to reside in memory at the same time.

FontGDOS and FSM-GDOS were develloped in parallel and are both successors of Atari-GDOS (1.x). The FSM stands for Font Scaling Manager and allowed vector fonts to be used. FSM-GDOS was only included with Wordflair II and G-Man. FSM-GDOS also still supported GEM bitmap fonts. The font format is the QMS/Imagen format.

After FSM-GDOS, Atari introduced SpeedoGDOS 4.0, using Speedo font scaling technology licensed from Bitstream. 14 fonts are included with this version (see 1.15). SpeedoGDOS 4.0 and 4.1 can use GEM bitmap, Atari encrypted and commercially encrypted Speedo fonts. As of version 4.2 also the publicly available X11 Speedo fonts can be used. SpeedoGDOS offers improved speed and reliability over FSM-GDOS, as well as track- and pair-kerning.

Recently Compo Software introduced SpeedoGDOS 5.x which supports GEM bitmap, Speedo, Truetype and Type 1 fonts. Included are 22 Speedo fonts (see 1.15).

For more information about the GDOS format, consult the GDOS FAQ: The ``?? is the version number; as of 01 Mar 95, the versions are: 24 in English and 25 in German. A LaTeX version of the German edition is also available.

Also recently introduced was NVDI 3.0 by Behne & Behne, which supports GEM bitmap, Speedo and Truetype fonts. The biggest difference when compared to SpeedoGDOS 5.x is the improved speed, because NVDI is written in Assembler instead of C. Only 2 fonts are included with NVDI 3.0.

These fonts are transparent to programs. There are a few other options that require support by the program using the fonts. Two major font formats are supported in this way on the Atari, namely Signum!2/Signum!3 fonts and Calamus fonts.

The Signum!2 font format is a bitmapped font format supported by many wordprocessors and some drawing packages. Amazing print quality on 9-needle printers. Many high quality designs are available in Signum!2 and Signum!3 format (Mostly German), especially for some special languages like Polish. There are also many PD fonts available in this format.

The Calamus (*.CFN) format was introduced by DMC, in their Calamus DTP program that uses soft-RIPping. The Calamus font format has no hinting since it is meant to be used on very high resolution type setting machines. Also supported by Digital Art's (DA's) software. Many professional designs are available in this format, as well as a lot of PD fonts.

File formats specific to the Atari platform:

Bitmapped Signum!2 screen font.
Bitmapped Signum!2 printer font for Laser and Deskjet printers.
Vector font table used by FSM-GDOS.
Bitmapped Signum!2 printer font for Hi-Res 9-needle printers (214*196 dpi).
Bitmapped Signum!2 printer font for 24-needle printers.
Vector font used by FSM-GDOS.

Font Facilities


System Source Facilities
GDOS Bitmap fonts (.FNT) only
AMC GDOS Bitmap (.FNT)
G-Plus Bitmap (.FNT)
Font-GDOS Bitmap (.FNT)
FSM-GDOS Bitmap (.FNT)
SpeedoGDOS Speedo, Bitmap (.FNT)
NVDI [2] TrueType, Speedo, Bitmap (.FNT)
FVDI (usually used with Aranym) TrueType, Bitmap (.FNT)