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FontForge on Mac OS/X

Building FontForge

Before you do anything you must get a copy of the Mac Developer Tools. These now ship with each new mac (on the CD labeled XCode), it is optional software, you must explicitly install it, or you can get this from Apple (you can either download a 250Meg file, or pay them $20 to FedEx you a CD.

Then you must install X11. Again it ships with new macs, again it must be explicitly installed. You need to install two X packages. The first is X11User on the third install CD, the second is X11SDK on the XCode CD.

It is possible to build FontForge without X11. There will be no user interface, but you can run scripts.

Thirdly you may choose to install some image libraries (I recommend at least installing libpng). Currently FontForge only tries to link statically with these libraries.

Finally you are ready to build fontforge. Download the most recent sources from this site. then:

$ gunzip fontforge_full-*.tgz
$ tar xf fontforge_full-*.tar
$ cd fontforge
$ configure
$ make
$ sudo make install

Installing the Mac OS/X binary distribution

Before installing FontForge you should ensure that you have X windows up and running. Apple now ships this with new Macs, but it is optional software (CD 3) and you must explicitly request it by customizing your install. You can also get this from apple, or from the GNU Mac OS/X site. (Or you can build fontforge without X, and end up with no user interface but the ability to run scripts).

After that you should just be able to unpack the packages provided in the File Release area. You want the PPC (power PC) version.

These packages install into /usr/local/bin. You may need to add that to your PATH environment variable, and do something similar for MANPATH:

$ vi ~/.bashrc
PATH=/usr/local/bin:$PATH ; export PATH
MANPATH=/usr/local/share/man:$MANPATH ; export MANPATH

See the dependencies section for external libraries/programs you may want to add to your system to enhance FontForge's capabilities.

Running FontForge on Mac OS/X

The X server X11 (or XDarwin in older releases) must be running before FontForge can start. X11 lives in the Utilities sub-folder of the Applications folder and may be started by double clicking on it.

The first time you start X11, go to the applications menu and select "Customize Menu..."
then press the (Add) button in the dialog which appears
double click in the left-most section of the blank line which just appeared and then type "FontForge"
press the tab key and type "/usr/local/bin/fontforge"
press the tab key again and type "f"
then press (Done)

You may start FontForge by selecting FontForge from the X11 Applications menu.

Caveats for Mac OS/X

  1. FontForge does not conform to Apple's Human Interface Guidelines


(Hexley the platypus, unofficial Darwin mascot, copyright Jon Hooper)