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Re: [PPLetterpress] Font formats

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  • innererklang@aol.com
    Gerald-- I m fairly new to computers (and fairly old to letterpress, some 25 odd years). Reading your last post I realized (and have been realizing for some
    Message 1 of 10 , May 4, 2005
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      Gerald--
      I'm fairly new to computers (and fairly old to letterpress, some 25 odd
      years). Reading your last post I realized (and have been realizing for some time)
      that I am completely lost to the jargon/abbreviations. I don't know my OTs
      from my P1S (or whatever it was). Is there a book that covers this stuff in a
      readable/understandable way?
      I'm not being critical, just trying to expand my horizons.

      Mark Olson


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Fritz Klinke
      I wonder if the printers of the 1880s went through this same amount of anguish when the type foundries changed to the point system, rendering thousands of
      Message 2 of 10 , May 4, 2005
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        I wonder if the printers of the 1880s went through this same amount of anguish
        when the type foundries changed to the point system, rendering thousands of
        fonts of bastard sizes incompatible with the new standardized system adopted by
        all the American type companies? My sincere sympathies to our electronically
        challenged brethren.

        F.

        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "Gerald Lange" <bieler@...>
        To: <PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Wednesday, May 04, 2005 1:25 AM
        Subject: [PPLetterpress] Font formats


        > There is a current discussion going on over at T-D
        >
        > http://type-design.p90.net/
        >
        > among type designers over what has happened or will happen to
        > Fontographer now that Adobe has absorbed Macromedia. And how could FOG
        > possibly remain viable unless it was re-built from the ground up?
        >
        > It occurred to me, in reviewing the discussion, that most type
        > designers must have the latest hardware and software because they sure
        > seem to think the general public has the latest system version whether
        > it be PC or Mac, that we are all running Adobe CS apps, that we are
        > all using OT fonts. That we all have our ears intently to the ground
        > and are attuned to the newer than the newest. Problem is, we aren't.
        >
        > Quite frankly, I don't think the general public or even most of the
        > computer savy folks out there know the difference between a TT, PS1,
        > or OT font format, or have ever even heard of the more advanced MM or
        > GX technologies. I know everytime I have to send something out to a
        > service bureau they require PS1, everytime I have to send something to
        > a book manufacturer they require PS1. And even though many new type
        > designs are being offered in OT, it still is not a viable format as
        > most currently used apps don't recognize it.
        >
        > I also know that most people don't buy fonts, they use what the
        > operating system gives them as part of the purchase, or what various
        > apps give them as part of the purchase or . . .
        >
        > Because of this, to a great extant, we are completely at the mercy of
        > the major software suppliers. If we all begin to use OT fonts, for the
        > most part it will be because there are no other options, not because
        > we made the choice. But on T-D there seems to be little awareness of
        > how long this transition takes. Someone mentioned somewhere that
        > computer hardware/software stabilizations have the lifespan of more
        > than a rat and less than a cat. PS1 is over a decade and a half old,
        > TT is over a decade, and OT about half a decade. And the latter is
        > establishing itself painfully slow.
        >
        > Over the years I've accumulated a huge library of PS1 fonts and was
        > greatly concerned as to how I would be able to convert these to OT to
        > remain viable. I even have the conversion software. But I'm still
        > waiting for a reason to do so.
        >
        > Gerald
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > Yahoo! Groups Links
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
      • Ludwig M. Solzen
        Mark Sure a lot of books on the topic can be suggested. I d be pleased too if someone could offer an exhaustive, yet comprehensive bibliography on different
        Message 3 of 10 , May 4, 2005
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          Mark

          Sure a lot of books on the topic can be suggested. I'd be pleased too if
          someone could offer an exhaustive, yet comprehensive bibliography on
          different (digital) font technologies available and in use today.

          As an introduction, however, I can highly recommend the 10 page article of
          Thomas W. Phinney (Adobe): "TrueType, PostScript Type 1, & OpenType: What's
          the Difference?" (Version 2.22, December 5, 2002) You can download the pdf
          at http://www.font.to/downloads/TT_PS_OT.pdf.

          I recognize Gerald's concerns about backward compatibility and usability
          regarding the high-speed evolution of computer technology. But holding too
          much to outdated technologies hinders progress. As for fonts, I'm not afraid
          this progress could ever be too speedy. Exchanging layout files with service
          bureaus or printers *was* indeed a painstaking undertaking, because of using
          other hardware, programs and font libraries. (I'm still horrified thinking
          of the experiences I had with several printers: my PC GoudyOS PostScript
          font suddenly lost it's ligatures, the text fitting no longer &c.) But those
          days are gladly over, thanks to Adobe's Portable Document File format.
          Whatever program you are used working with, whatever font format: simply
          (hm) export your layout into a pdf (doing it the right way) and it will be
          processed as you set it. If compatibility of formats is thus no longer an
          issue, what keeps you from using yourself the best (i.c. fairly the latest)
          technologies available? Why using PS1 fonts, going over and over your text
          lines until all the ligatures and small caps are consequently implemented
          from an overcomplicated expert font? Why not using OpenType features to
          change default lining into old style figures, by one simple mouse click? And
          what about opticals &c if you stick with PS1? If using OT, GX or MM requires
          adequate software, update your system; if your customer or service bureau
          doesn't want to invest in newer technologies, at least they can download
          Acrobat Reader for free. If in the old days a printing studio wanted to
          achieve the best quality, a Monotype or Linotype was the right investment.
          As for that, not much is changed in the digital age. Only with this great
          advantage that a newer version of your hardware, os or layout software is
          not as big an investment as the acquisition of a Linotype was in the 1930s.
          And buying the matrices for a the fount one was used to set by hand, sure
          was more expensive than downloading the newest OT version of your favourite
          Bembo.

          http://www.font.to/downloads/TT_PS_OT.pdfLudwig
        • Regis Graden
          Fritz, I can t even imagine the termoil and frustration they must have felt! Regis Fritz Klinke wrote: I wonder if the printers of the
          Message 4 of 10 , May 4, 2005
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            Fritz,
            I can't even imagine the termoil and frustration they must have felt!

            Regis
            Fritz Klinke <nagraph@...> wrote:
            I wonder if the printers of the 1880s went through this same amount of anguish
            when the type foundries changed to the point system, rendering thousands of
            fonts of bastard sizes incompatible with the new standardized system adopted by
            all the American type companies? My sincere sympathies to our electronically
            challenged brethren.

            F.

            ----- Original Message -----
            From: "Gerald Lange" <bieler@...>
            To: <PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com>
            Sent: Wednesday, May 04, 2005 1:25 AM
            Subject: [PPLetterpress] Font formats


            > There is a current discussion going on over at T-D
            >
            > http://type-design.p90.net/
            >
            > among type designers over what has happened or will happen to
            > Fontographer now that Adobe has absorbed Macromedia. And how could FOG
            > possibly remain viable unless it was re-built from the ground up?
            >
            > It occurred to me, in reviewing the discussion, that most type
            > designers must have the latest hardware and software because they sure
            > seem to think the general public has the latest system version whether
            > it be PC or Mac, that we are all running Adobe CS apps, that we are
            > all using OT fonts. That we all have our ears intently to the ground
            > and are attuned to the newer than the newest. Problem is, we aren't.
            >
            > Quite frankly, I don't think the general public or even most of the
            > computer savy folks out there know the difference between a TT, PS1,
            > or OT font format, or have ever even heard of the more advanced MM or
            > GX technologies. I know everytime I have to send something out to a
            > service bureau they require PS1, everytime I have to send something to
            > a book manufacturer they require PS1. And even though many new type
            > designs are being offered in OT, it still is not a viable format as
            > most currently used apps don't recognize it.
            >
            > I also know that most people don't buy fonts, they use what the
            > operating system gives them as part of the purchase, or what various
            > apps give them as part of the purchase or . . .
            >
            > Because of this, to a great extant, we are completely at the mercy of
            > the major software suppliers. If we all begin to use OT fonts, for the
            > most part it will be because there are no other options, not because
            > we made the choice. But on T-D there seems to be little awareness of
            > how long this transition takes. Someone mentioned somewhere that
            > computer hardware/software stabilizations have the lifespan of more
            > than a rat and less than a cat. PS1 is over a decade and a half old,
            > TT is over a decade, and OT about half a decade. And the latter is
            > establishing itself painfully slow.
            >
            > Over the years I've accumulated a huge library of PS1 fonts and was
            > greatly concerned as to how I would be able to convert these to OT to
            > remain viable. I even have the conversion software. But I'm still
            > waiting for a reason to do so.
            >
            > Gerald
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > Yahoo! Groups Links
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >



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            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Gerald Lange
            Mark I doubt you d want to read a book on the subject as it is not exactly light reading matter. Ludwig s reference should be enough I d think. My concerns
            Message 5 of 10 , May 4, 2005
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              Mark

              I doubt you'd want to read a book on the subject as it is not exactly
              light reading matter. Ludwig's reference should be enough I'd think.

              My concerns here are in relation to letterpress application.

              PostScript Type 1 (PS1) has been the font format standard since it was
              unlicensed by Adobe in the late 1980s. It has long been the high-end
              format that you would use for print production and, in our case, for
              generating film negatives. Fonts in this format can be edited for
              letterpress configuration in both Fontographer and FontLab.

              TrueType (TT) was developed by Apple for Microsoft and was released in
              the early 1990s. It is largely all purpose but is not often used for
              high end applications. Its longevity has been quite assured by web-
              based applications.

              Multiple Masters (MM) are a variant of PS1 that allowed for user
              interpolation. A user could creat innumerable variations of these
              fonts between the "parent" fonts provided. I use these quite a bit but
              Adobe discontinued the format when it switched from PS1 to OT. Not
              many MM designs were produced as they were hardly applicable to the
              general user. MM fonts only work well in the classic Mac system not
              OSX. Several type designers still use the format as a tool. I recently
              received a beta of a very nice Didot that is still in MM format. And,
              there is some rumor that Linotype is apparently introducing several
              new MM designs for the Tiger version of the Mac OSX.

              Quick Draw GX (GX) was a highly advanced format that supported a
              number of typographic niceties and was developed by Apple in the early
              to mid 1990s and though several foundries produced GX fonts, including
              Apple, Linotype, and Adobe (though none by the latter were released),
              the format failed when Apple could not convince developers to support
              it in their applications (primarily Adobe). GX was recognized by
              Fontographer as TT (it was based on the TT format) so you could
              actually configure them.

              OpenType (OT) was jointly developed by Adobe and Microsoft and the
              first fonts in this format started appearing a few years ago. OT is
              unicode based as well as a cross-platform format. That is its
              significant difference. Both PS1 and TT types can be implemented as OT
              but would need to be "wrapped" in an OT shell. In other words, you can
              use them in OT aware applications (for the time being). OT can be
              configured in FontLab. But OpenType is experiencing the same problems
              that faced Apple's GX. Other than Adobe and Microsoft there has been
              insignificant application support by third party developers (only the
              most recent versions of Acrobat recognize it.) One of the reasons for
              that is that OT is still not a completely standardized format. And,
              except for new font designs, there is also significant resistance on
              the part of the font buying public as switching from older formats to
              OT will eventually require conversion (as soon as Microsoft gets sick
              and tired of supporting TT; Adobe has already abandoned new offerings
              in PS1).

              At some point you will find that the older formats are no longer
              supported. In other words, you are going to have to buy all your
              favorite fonts all over again, unless you can satisfactorily convert
              them. At this point the only commercially available application that
              can do that is FontLab's TransType Pro. I haven't yet tested it so I
              don't know how reliable it is.

              Gerald

              i--- In PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com, innererklang@a... wrote:
              > Gerald--
              > I'm fairly new to computers (and fairly old to letterpress, some 25 odd
              > years). Reading your last post I realized (and have been realizing
              for some time)
              > that I am completely lost to the jargon/abbreviations. I don't know
              my OTs
              > from my P1S (or whatever it was). Is there a book that covers this
              stuff in a
              > readable/understandable way?
              > I'm not being critical, just trying to expand my horizons.
              >
              > Mark Olson
              >
              >
              > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Gerald Lange
              Actually, changes in type technologies have been devastating to the type industry ever since the introduction of the point system. I can easily think of more
              Message 6 of 10 , May 4, 2005
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                Actually, changes in type technologies have been devastating to the
                type industry ever since the introduction of the point system. I can
                easily think of more that followed.

                The pantograph matrix cutter and machine composition machines did a
                bit of damage to previous metal foundry type designs (the turn of the
                century had to be a complete mess to the average printer yet filled
                with such promise).

                Ultimately photo-film wiped out all efforts at metal type designs on
                both the part of the foundries and machine composition (and from what
                I have read this was hardly unwelcomed by printers or even type
                designers, notoriously, Goudy for one).

                And then there was proprietary analog. . .

                Digital type technologies cleaned the slate completely and turned the
                industry on its head. Very few established typography firms survived
                this transition.

                The "font wars" in digital began right from the get go. But
                collectively (and my point in posting), the long run of the PostScript
                Type 1 format allowed for the accumulation of large font libraries and
                for the resurrection of historical designs. This is actually of some
                significant consideration. And the new kid on the block is a bit of a
                high-roller.

                OpenType fonts are not easy to produce, and because of them we will
                see far fewer new foundries, more foundries dropping by the wayside,
                and consolidation of assets between foundries. Nor are there
                established standards for OT's varieties, and more and more despite
                the early praise of its cross-platform capabilites, the major
                operating system providers, Microsoft and Apple, are not playing ball
                in this regard. Conversion of previous formats or compatability is
                hardly a consideration for these folks, or any of the other
                manufacturers of font technology, as there is no profit in it for
                them. They would just as soon sell new software and hardware and
                provide the fonts to go with them, and they would just as soon not
                have to deal with backward compatibility (when have they?).

                And, of course, there is yet another font format headed down that
                night road.

                The access to affordable quality type that we "all" have recently
                enjoyed and benefited from over the last decade and a half, is slowly
                going to ebb away. Note that I am not opposed to this, it is simply
                the direction the industry is headed.

                And, as that changes, so will this little activity of ours. I don't
                doubt for a minute that the scrapings of immutable metal type
                technology will survive the photopolymer plate process but there will
                be far far fewer folks "practicing" letterpress when that day comes.

                Gerald


                --- In PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com, "Fritz Klinke" <nagraph@f...> wrote:
                > I wonder if the printers of the 1880s went through this same amount
                of anguish
                > when the type foundries changed to the point system, rendering
                thousands of
                > fonts of bastard sizes incompatible with the new standardized system
                adopted by
                > all the American type companies? My sincere sympathies to our
                electronically
                > challenged brethren.
                >
                > F.
                >
              • innererklang@aol.com
                Gerald-- Thank you for the short course in Font Formats. I guess I should back up a bit and ask a simpler question. I m not looking to alter fonts (in the near
                Message 7 of 10 , May 5, 2005
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                  Gerald--
                  Thank you for the short course in Font Formats. I guess I should back up a
                  bit and ask a simpler question. I'm not looking to alter fonts (in the near
                  future anyway). It is just that in this computer age more and more customers come
                  in with a font available on their computer that they want me to duplicate. I
                  have Illustrator, so I can set type in a reasonable fashion. But if I want to
                  expand my repetoir, offer new types--what format should I be looking at to
                  purchase? (I use an imac).

                  Thanks so much for the time you are willing to spend on this list.

                  Mark Olson
                  Innerer Klang Letterpress


                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • alex brooks
                  Here is my point of view - as a young graphic designer and letterpress printer- the main difference (to me) between TT and PostScript fonts is that TT fonts
                  Message 8 of 10 , May 5, 2005
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                    Here is my point of view - as a young graphic designer and letterpress
                    printer-

                    the main difference (to me) between TT and PostScript fonts is that TT
                    fonts are bitmap based and PS are vector based. So postscripts are
                    infinitely scalable and will always look smooth.

                    the real benefit of OT, on the other hand, is ease of use. Especially
                    in book design. I am used to setting type by hand, making everything
                    perfect. The computer is supposed to simplify, but if you want
                    everything to be perfect you have to go through and change figures to
                    another font, change ligatures to another font, etc. All of this done
                    by manually takes a long time and is tedious. With OT this should be
                    done automatically. Additionally, with PS fonts, you can have a list of
                    12 or so fonts in your font browser (all the different variants) while
                    the OT font will be listed as one font with 12 variants. If you are
                    dealing with a lot of fonts this is extremely valuable as you don't
                    have to scroll through a hundred fonts.

                    I've found that with InDesign it is very easy to implement these
                    features, however I haven't used older programs wit OT fonts.
                    i have no problem with buying a few OT faces if they are indeed an
                    improvement (it's a lot cheaper than metal type anyway)

                    -alex
                    press eight seventeen
                    lexington, ky


                    On May 4, 2005, at 6:02 PM, Gerald Lange wrote:

                    > Mark
                    >
                    > I doubt you'd want to read a book on the subject as it is not exactly
                    > light reading matter. Ludwig's reference should be enough I'd think.
                    >
                    > My concerns here are in relation to letterpress application.
                    >
                    > PostScript Type 1 (PS1) has been the font format standard since it was
                    > unlicensed by Adobe in the late 1980s. It has long been the high-end
                    > format that you would use for print production and, in our case, for
                    > generating film negatives. Fonts in this format can be edited for
                    > letterpress configuration in both Fontographer and FontLab.
                    >
                    > TrueType (TT) was developed by Apple for Microsoft and was released in
                    > the early 1990s. It is largely all purpose but is not often used for
                    > high end applications. Its longevity has been quite assured by web-
                    > based applications.
                    >
                    > Multiple Masters (MM) are a variant of PS1 that allowed for user
                    > interpolation. A user could creat innumerable variations of these
                    > fonts between the "parent" fonts provided. I use these quite a bit but
                    > Adobe discontinued the format when it switched from PS1 to OT. Not
                    > many MM designs were produced as they were hardly applicable to the
                    > general user. MM fonts only work well in the classic Mac system not
                    > OSX. Several type designers still use the format as a tool. I recently
                    > received a beta of a very nice Didot that is still in MM format. And,
                    > there is some rumor that Linotype is apparently introducing several
                    > new MM designs for the Tiger version of the Mac OSX.
                    >
                    > Quick Draw GX (GX) was a highly advanced format that supported a
                    > number of typographic niceties and was developed by Apple in the early
                    > to mid 1990s and though several foundries produced GX fonts, including
                    > Apple, Linotype, and Adobe (though none by the latter were released),
                    > the format failed when Apple could not convince developers to support
                    > it in their applications (primarily Adobe). GX was recognized by
                    > Fontographer as TT (it was based on the TT format) so you could
                    > actually configure them.
                    >
                    > OpenType (OT) was jointly developed by Adobe and Microsoft and the
                    > first fonts in this format started appearing a few years ago. OT is
                    > unicode based as well as a cross-platform format. That is its
                    > significant difference. Both PS1 and TT types can be implemented as OT
                    > but would need to be "wrapped" in an OT shell. In other words, you can
                    > use them in OT aware applications (for the time being). OT can be
                    > configured in FontLab. But OpenType is experiencing the same problems
                    > that faced Apple's GX. Other than Adobe and Microsoft there has been
                    > insignificant application support by third party developers (only the
                    > most recent versions of Acrobat recognize it.) One of the reasons for
                    > that is that OT is still not a completely standardized format. And,
                    > except for new font designs, there is also significant resistance on
                    > the part of the font buying public as switching from older formats to
                    > OT will eventually require conversion (as soon as Microsoft gets sick
                    > and tired of supporting TT; Adobe has already abandoned new offerings
                    > in PS1).
                    >
                    > At some point you will find that the older formats are no longer
                    > supported. In other words, you are going to have to buy all your
                    > favorite fonts all over again, unless you can satisfactorily convert
                    > them. At this point the only commercially available application that
                    > can do that is FontLab's TransType Pro. I haven't yet tested it so I
                    > don't know how reliable it is.
                    >
                    > Gerald
                    >
                    > i--- In PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com, innererklang@a... wrote:
                    > > Gerald--
                    > > I'm fairly new to computers (and fairly old to letterpress, some 25
                    > odd
                    > > years). Reading your last post I realized (and have been realizing
                    > for some time)
                    > > that I am completely lost to the jargon/abbreviations. I don't know
                    > � my OTs
                    > > from my P1S (or whatever it was). Is there a book that covers this
                    > stuff in a
                    > > readable/understandable way?
                    > > I'm not being critical, just trying to expand my horizons.
                    > >
                    > > Mark Olson
                    > >
                    > >
                    > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > Yahoo! Groups Links
                    > � To visit your group on the web, go to:
                    > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PPLetterpress/
                    > �
                    > � To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                    > PPLetterpress-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                    > �
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                    > Service.
                    >


                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Gerald Lange
                    Mark Given what you have, an imac and Illustrator, I would buy similar fonts to what your clients have a need for. If you are using a pre-CS version of
                    Message 9 of 10 , May 5, 2005
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                      Mark

                      Given what you have, an imac and Illustrator, I would buy similar
                      fonts to what your clients have a need for. If you are using a pre-CS
                      version of Illustrator (CS apps don't work in the old Mac classic
                      system) then you would need either PS1 or TT. I only recommend TT
                      because I'm assuming these might be part of what your clients have.

                      If you are running in OSX and have one of the later versions of
                      Illustrator (CS) go with OT. But again, it depends on, in this case,
                      what your clients have. CS apps will recognize any of these formats.

                      Don't know if this is of interest but if you still have a pre-OSX
                      system (I'm not sure it works in OSX, never tried it), you can easily
                      change TT to PS1 (and convert from platform to platform) in
                      Fontographer which sells for about $120. With the merger between Adobe
                      and Macromedia I'm not sure how long Fontographer will be available
                      though. Likely it will disappear quite soon. If you do go that route I
                      have some very quick and assured "sequences" for conversion that I can
                      send you. If you have only a OSX system, a convertor, TransType, is
                      available from FontLab.

                      Because of licensing restrictions, your client can supply you with
                      their fonts, but you are required to remove them from your drive upon
                      completion of the project (just like a service bureau would do). One
                      user/one drive; in theory.

                      Gerald

                      --- In PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com, innererklang@a... wrote:
                      > Gerald--
                      > Thank you for the short course in Font Formats. I guess I should
                      back up a
                      > bit and ask a simpler question. I'm not looking to alter fonts (in
                      the near
                      > future anyway). It is just that in this computer age more and more
                      customers come
                      > in with a font available on their computer that they want me to
                      duplicate. I
                      > have Illustrator, so I can set type in a reasonable fashion. But if
                      I want to
                      > expand my repetoir, offer new types--what format should I be looking
                      at to
                      > purchase? (I use an imac).
                      >
                      > Thanks so much for the time you are willing to spend on this list.
                      >
                      > Mark Olson
                      > Innerer Klang Letterpress
                      >
                      >
                      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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