FreeType

FreeType is a freely available software library to render fonts.

It is written in C, designed to be small, efficient, highly customizable, and portable while capable of producing high-quality output (glyph images) of most vector and bitmap font formats.

Some products that use FreeType for rendering fonts on screen or on paper, either exclusively or partially:

  • GNU/Linux and other free Unix operating system derivates like FreeBSD or NetBSD
  • iOS, Apple's mobile operating system for iPhones and iPads
  • Android, Google's operating system for smartphones and tablet computers
  • ChromeOS, Google's operating system for laptop computers
  • Ghostscript, a PostScript interpreter used in many printers

Counting the above products only, you get more than a billion devices that contain FreeType.

News & Updates

New Pledgie Campaign

2014-03-11

This is a call for a new Pledgie campaign to support my (Werner Lemberg) expenses in 2014. Thanks to all donors, the last campaign was successful, and all goals have been reached!

If your company is using FreeType in your product, and you care about continuing support and further development, please contribute to my funding effort so I can continue to bring the best text rendering to your devices!

Alternatively, direct donations to my PayPal account are also highly welcome :-)

Roadmap

Besides user support and fixing bugs, your money will help me implement the following issues.

  • Setting up a test framework for FreeType. This is a huge, long-term undertaking that will ensure both stability and reliability of the library. The idea is to collect test cases (mainly broken fonts) that cover as much source code as possible. Another idea to investigate is the development of scripts that can generate both valid and invalid input data to systematically increase the coverage of executed library code, including the unlikely cases. Finally, images of valid, well-rendered input fonts could be collected: As soon as a change to the rendering image gets applied, a comparison run with those images should detect rendering regressions.
  • Further improvements to the auto-hinter. Right now, the module for Indic support is a dummy, and support for the family of Arabic scripts is completely missing. Both investigation and research is necessary to find out how much auto-hinting is possible and useful, and whether other, completely different scripts can be supported at all.
  • Right now, rendering Type 1 and CID-keyed fonts is the weakest part of FreeType. However, we now have a brand-new module for handling CFF. Given that CFF is very similar to Type 1, it should be not too difficult to use and/or extend the CFF code so that Type 1 fonts can be handled, too.
  • Explore whether it makes sense to merge FreeType with (parts of) the HarfBuzz library. Since version 2.5.3, FreeType already links to HarfBuzz to use its abilities for scanning OpenType layout features, and more integration might be sensible for both libraries.
  • More improvements to this website. Last year I’ve redesigned the FreeType website. However, a large bunch of documents are still using the old design, and some of them are also no longer up to date.

FreeType 2.5.3

2014-03-08

FreeType 2.5.3 has been released. All users should upgrade due to fixed vulnerability in the CFF driver (CVE-2014-2240).

Its main new feature is much enhanced support of auto-hinting SFNT fonts (i.e., TrueType and CFF fonts) due to the use of the HarfBuzz library. A more detailed description of this and other changes can be found here.

FreeType 2.5.2

2013-12-08

FreeType 2.5.2 has been released. It fixes a serious bug introduced in version 2.5.1; all users should upgrade.

A listing of the changes can be found here.

FreeType 2.5.1

2013-11-25

FreeType 2.5.1 has been released, providing three major new features.

  • Support for the WOFF font format, contributed by Behdad Esfahbod.
  • The auto-hinter now supports Hebrew, together with improved support for Cyrillic and Greek.
  • The directory layout of the (installed) FreeType header files has been simplified.

Among other changes I want to mention that FreeType's TrueType debugger (ttdebug) has been made more versatile. An exhaustive list of changes can be found here.

Pledgie Campaign Was Successful!

2013-06-25

Thanks to a very generous donation by Pierre Arnaud from Epsitec, the pledgie campaign for FreeType has reached its goal. I want to say thank you again to all donors! Of course, noone stops you from further donating to the campaign :-)

After integration of Adobe's CFF module and Google's color emoji support, I will use the next months to work on the remaining issues that I've promised to implement. Stay tuned!

FreeType 2.5

2013-06-19

FreeType 2.5 has been released. A major new feature is support for color embedded bitmaps (eg. color emoji), contributed by Behdad Esfahbod on behalf of Google. Additionally, Adobe's CFF engine is now the default, which makes a good reason to change from the 2.4.x to the 2.5.x series.

On the technical side, the property API to access FreeType module parameters (FT_Property_Set and FT_Property_Get) is now declared as stable.

As usual, see this file for the complete release notes, which give more details. And we have again blog entries from Adobe and Google.

[Please download the 2.5.0.1 bundle of the FreeType library, which fixes a packaging error.]

FreeType 2.4.12

2013-05-08

FreeType 2.4.12 has been released. A major new feature is a new parsing and hinting engine for CFF fonts, contributed by Adobe in collaboration with Google. It was my job the last few months to fully adapt the code to FreeType, and we are very pleased with the results. You might also read the blog entries from Adobe and Google.

In connection with the new CFF engine, the demo programs, especially ftview and ftdiff, have been improved a lot; as usual, more details on the changes can be found in the release notes.

I also want to say a big thank you to all the people who have already donated to the campaign! In particular I want to thank Adobe, which has contributed to half the total pledgie amount.

Pledgie Campaign for Development and Maintainance

2012-12-20

Click here to lend your support to the FreeType project and make a donation at pledgie.com!

I've started a pledgie campaign for FreeType development and maintainance. While no single company employs me (Werner Lemberg) directly to work on it, I am constantly improving it, adding new features, relentlessly driving up quality, and responding to other developers’ requests.

If you or your company is using FreeType in your product, and you care about continuing support and further development, please contribute to my funding effort so I can continue to bring the best text rendering to your devices!

Besides user support and fixing bugs, your money will help me implement the WOFF font format and extending FreeType's auto-hinter to support more scripts, together with other issues as outlined in the roadmap.

FreeType 2.4.11

2012-12-20

FreeType 2.4.11 has been released. This is partly a security release (for users of fonts in BDF format), but it also contains important improvements:

  • experimental support for TrueType subpixel hinting support, as documented in Microsoft's whitepaper
  • support for OpenType Collections

See this file for the complete release notes, which give more details.

Redesigned Homepage

2012-12-20

The website has been redesigned, giving it a more recent look to enhance readability and to make navigation easier. Note that only the two topmost levels have been changed yet; the remaining pages will follow.

FreeType 2.4.10

2012-06-15

FreeType 2.4.10 has been released. This is minor release, fixing mainly a problem for GhostScript. See this file for the release notes, which give more details.

FreeType 2.4.9

2012-03-08

FreeType 2.4.9 has been released. This is mainly a security release, fixing many potential vulnerabilities. All users should upgrade. See this file for the release notes, which give more details.

FreeType 2.4.8

2011-11-15

FreeType 2.4.8 has been released. This is a security release, also providing a new API for accessing dictionary data in Type 1 fonts. All users should upgrade. See this file for the release notes, which give more details.

FreeType 2.4.7

2011-10-18

FreeType 2.4.7 has been released. This is a security release. All users should upgrade. See this file for the release notes, which give more details.

FreeType 2.4.6

2011-07-29

FreeType 2.4.6 has been released. This is a security release. All users should upgrade. See this file for the release notes, which give more details.

FreeType 2.4.5

2011-06-24

FreeType 2.4.5 has been released. This is a maintainance release. All users should upgrade, especially if you still experience rendering degradations with version 2.4.4. See this file for the release notes, which give more details.

This page is maintained by Werner Lemberg. The FreeType logo has been designed by Manuel Colom.