Fonts are the last thing I want to worry about when I write a research paper. Unfortunately fonts have often become the last thing I need to worry about when IMessage 1 of 1 , Oct 13, 2005View Source
Fonts are the last thing I want to worry about when I write a research paper. Unfortunately fonts have often become the last thing I need to worry about when I write a research paper.
In the olden days (circa 1990), we all wrote our LaTeX papers using the Computer Modern font. When we sent a paper to a proceedings we printed up a clean copy and sent it via Federal Express.
Now we have choices of fonts. Fonts are a surprisingly complicated process. A good font is a work of art and a scalable font is actually a computer program for each letter. If you intellectual property issues for digital music is complicated, IP for typefaces is nearly impossible to implement well.
When some societies like the IEEE first started taking electronic uploads for their proceedings we would get the occasional disastrous effects because the IEEE fonts didn't match the fonts people used to create a paper. For example the "<" would appear as a "⇒" making some of the papers unreadable. Most of these organizations have become more aware of this issue but now require us to jump through some hoops (use the right fonts and style files and putting the paper in the appropriate format using the right program to do so). Makes me wish for the old days when I could send a paper and they would scan it, which the IEEE will still do but charge extra for.
Sometimes you'll see "¿From" in older papers. This is not a font problem but a property of sending text files through email would add a ">" to a line beginning with "From" which would come out "¿From" after LaTeX processed the file. You see it less now as files get sent via attachments instead of directly in the mail body.
Distractions from worry about something as minor as fonts really keeps us away from focusing on research and other important activities. Remember, no one was ever denied tenure for bad font selection.
Posted by Lance to Computational Complexity at 10/13/2005 10:05:00 PM