[NTG-context] Most portable font name

Philipp Gesang gesang at stud.uni-heidelberg.de
Thu May 17 16:11:58 CEST 2012

Hi all,

tl;dr: by which name to refer to a font.

I was about to recommend (tomorrow; context: an introductory
LaTeX course) *the* way of referring to a font by its name. As we
all know, the same font (as in file) usually comes with a variety
of possible denominations. “otfinfo -i” on a *file name* results
in a list of *full name*, *Postscript name*, *unique id*, etc.,
which all might have some valid purpose. I have come across
answers to assignments that made me wonder “How on earth did E
get that to work on Eir system?”.  There’s some background info
[1] on the Fontforge pages but it doesn’t really answer my

  Which identifier is least likely to break things and at the
  same time most portable between both frontends (Fontspec,
  Simplefonts, typescripts) and platforms (Win/Linux/Mac)?

For some time now I myself settled for the Postscript name as it
never caused problems in typescripts and it’s got no spaces. The
filename might be the most explicit one, but oftentimes contains
spaces which I *always* replace with underscores prior to
installing a font; also case insensitive filesystems might cause
trouble. Also, some fonts have weird file naming schemes (e.g.
CMU and the Paratype fonts), so extra comments may be required to
support legibility of the resulting code. The typescripts that
come with Context use both (“name:” and “file:”) but I have no
clue why exactly which method was chosen over the other in what
case.  The fontspec documentation (and the Simplefonts module and
our course so far) conforms to the WYSIWYG tradition of
purportedly more human-readable, spaced identifiers, e.g. “TeX
Gyre Bonum Bold”. (Cf. [1]: “FullName is designed to be read by

So I judged that my preferred choice might not be as good as I
think. I got cold feet and am about to remove the slide where I
recommend the PS name (I can do that later anyways). Is there --
apart from personal opinions -- some valid reason to prefer one
name over the other *in general*?

Thanks for any advice and opinions.


[1] http://fontforge.sourceforge.net/fontinfo.html#Names

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