The Liberation typefaces

Red Hat recently announced the availability of a family of fonts they had commissioned from Ascender Corp. The goal behind the fonts was to be metric compatible with the nearly ubiquitous Microsoft fonts Arial, Courier New, and Times New Roman. I put together a comparison of the new »Liberation« family of typefaces along with their Microsoft metric compatible counterparts. To provide a little more additional information, I've also included the Bitstream Vera family. Bitstream Vera seems to be made available under a fairly liberal license. The Liberation fonts are made available under the GPL with the standard font embedding exception.

Liberation fonts comparison

Overall, I can't say the Liberation fonts feel particularly notable, but given that their main purposes is to provide a »free«,as in Freedom, replacement for deeply entrenched Microsoft fonts, I don't imagine originality was really considered as a goal. The fonts are available for download from here.


  1. kitby said,

    May 20, 2007 @ 1:16 pm

    Maybe I asked you this before, but is there a reason sans serif fonts don’t always make ‘I’ (capital “eye”), ‘l’ (lowercase “el”), and 1 (one) more distinguishable from each other? A number of fonts seem to draw all three as simply a bar.

  2. washburn said,

    May 20, 2007 @ 7:15 pm

    No idea. It does seem like it ought to be avoided.

  3. Don Williams said,

    June 5, 2007 @ 5:44 am

    just a fond hope from an old-style (not Old Style) typographer/compositor: when appraising new or existing fonts is there any way of making a comparison similar to that above between those proposed and their traditional precursors? Just a-wonderin’ …

  4. washburn said,

    June 5, 2007 @ 9:22 am

    Don, I’m not entirely sure I follow your question. Or at least the part about traditional precursors.

    Interestingly enough Brian had just asked me the other day about tools for comparing fonts. I was not aware of any tools for doing so, but I just did quick search on Google and found Typetester. It is not everything I might have hoped, but it is still pretty slick. The tools Brian and I had in mind would let you perform a more fine grained comparison and include things relative x-heights, etc.

    It seems like a neat idea for an applet to write once I have more time for experimentation.

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