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Graphite (smart font technology)

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(Redirected from Graphite (SIL))
Developer(s)SIL International
Stable release
1.3.14 / 1 April 2020; 4 years ago (2020-04-01)[1]
Written inC++
Operating systemMulti-platform
TypeSoftware development library
LicenseLGPL, CPL

Graphite is a programmable Unicode-compliant smart font technology and rendering system developed by SIL International as free software, distributed under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public License and the Common Public License.[2]

Capabilities and comparison to other smart font technologies[edit]

Graphite is based on the TrueType font format, and adds three of its own tables. It allows for a variety of rendering rules, including ligatures, glyph substitution, glyph insertion, glyph rearrangement, anchoring diacritics, kerning, and justification. Graphite rules may be sensitive to the context. For instance, there might be a glyph substitution rule that replaces every non-final s by an ſ.

In a Graphite font, all smart rendering information resides within the font file. In order to display the Graphite smart rendering, an application needs only Graphite support, but no built-in knowledge about the writing system’s rendering. This makes Graphite especially suited for minority writing systems that cannot rely on applications to provide built-in rendering information. In this regard, Graphite is similar to AAT and different from OpenType which requires applications to provide built-in rendering information.

Graphite support[edit]

Graphite was originally implemented on Windows. It has been ported to Linux. It is also available on Mac OS X Snow Leopard[3] although with AAT, macOS already provides a technology suitable for minority scripts.

Applications that support Graphite include the SIL WorldPad,[4] XeTeX, OpenOffice.org (since version 3.2, except for the macOS version), LibreOffice (formerly except for the macOS version, since version 5.3, Graphite is available on all platforms).[5] It was built into Thunderbird 11 and Firefox 11,[6] and was turned on by default since version 22, but was disabled in Firefox version 45.0.1 and re-enabled in version 49.0.[7][8]

Graphite support can be added to applications on Linux with the package pango-graphite[9] and on Windows with the experimental add-on MultiScribe.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Releases - silnrsi/graphite". Retrieved 1 April 2020 – via GitHub.
  2. ^ Byfield, Bruce (March 28, 2006). "Graphite: Smart font technology comes to FOSS". Linux.com.
  3. ^ "Why was Graphite developed?". SIL International.
  4. ^ "SIL WorldPad". Scripts.sil.org. Retrieved 2012-08-14.
  5. ^ "Release Notes 5.3". Wiki. The Document Foundation. 11 November 2016. Retrieved 13 December 2016.
  6. ^ "Graphite - Using Graphite in Mozilla Firefox". SIL International. Retrieved 24 April 2013.
  7. ^ "Firefox — Notes (45.0.1) — Mozilla". Mozilla. Retrieved 24 September 2016.
  8. ^ "Firefox — Notes (49.0) — Mozilla". Mozilla. Retrieved 24 September 2016.
  9. ^ Debian Webmaster. "pango-graphite". Packages.debian.org. Retrieved 2012-08-14.
  10. ^ "MultiScribe". Projects.palaso.org. Archived from the original on 2012-03-03. Retrieved 2012-08-14.

External links[edit]