Version 0.9 has been a long time coming. There are not all that many new
kanji. The current count is 1754 kanji, up from 1502 in version 0.8 roughly
a year ago. This includes all the elementary-school kanji through Grade
Four, and 100 of the 185 kanji in Grade Five. A lot of infrastructure work
has also been done. This version was prepared in a hurry, for reasons to be
This version of Tsukurimashou introduces FontAnvil, a standalone interpreter
for FontForge's native scripting language (PE script). The decision to
bundle a more or less complete font editor, drastically increasing the
amount of code in the project and thus increasing the maintenance costs, was
not made lightly. The issue is that within the last two years or so I have
been involved in FontForge development, and it is clear that the strategic
direction of that project will present problems for the long-term use of
FontForge within Tsukurimashou. FontForge's development team is primarily
interested in end-user GUI features (even going so far as social networking)
and encourages Python for all new code; they have even seriously discussed,
though not yet committed to, removing PE script support entirely, which
would be fatal to Tsukurimashou if Tsukurimashou continued to rely on
FontForge. Especially given that Tsukurimashou already bundles its own
versions of several other critical tools (such as Metatype1 and t1asm), it
seems reasonable to bundle Tsukurimashou's own replacement for FontForge.
This is hoped to be of benefit to FontForge development as well, because it
may make it easier for them to stop supporting PE script should they want to
in the future; they can encourage PE script users to use FontAnvil instead
of leaving such users out in the cold.
FontForge has very recently made significant improvements to its
spline-geometry operations (remove overlaps, find intersections, add
extrema). I have been complaining about those bugs for *years*; they
are critical to Tsukurimashou. Many thanks are due to Frank Trampe of the
FontForge team for his assiduous work on the spline geometry issues. The
latest changes to these features from FontForge were ported into FontAnvil
at the last minute before the Tsukurimashou 0.9 release, along with some
quick-and-dirty last-minute hacking on other stability issues (infinite
loops and segfaults) to just get the build working. I cannot vouch for
Tsukurimashou 0.9 to build properly with any font compiler except the
development FontAnvil bundled with it; and I cannot vouch for that version
of FontAnvil to do anything except build Tsukurimashou 0.9 more or less
correctly. However, that specific combination, on my specific desktop
computer, seems to work pretty well.
I presented Tsukurimashou at TUG 2013 in Tokyo. Slides from that talk are
at https://tug.org/tug2013/slides/skala-slides.pdf , and the associated
TUGboat article is available to TUG members at
https://www.tug.org/members/TUGboat/tb34-3/tb108skala.pdf ; it will
eventually become open-access. Most of the source code for the article
(maybe not including the absolute latest edits, made by the journal editors
instead of by me) is in the tug2013/ subdirectory of Tsukurimashou's
version control system.
In this version the Korean-language fonts have had their names changed to
"Mandeubsida"; from talking to some people at the TUG meeting, it appears
that this is a better translation of the name Tsukurimashou into Korean.
The GSUB features to support Korean glyph shaping have been redesigned to
better work with some shapers (in particular, recent versions of HarfBuzz).
Also in this version, build system support for an experimental font family
called Kazoemashou ("let's count!") has been added; this is intended to
become a Unicode Math font based on Tsukurimashou, but as of this writing it
is very fragmentary and not usable.
An academic article about IDSgrep is currently in submission to ACM
Transactions on Asian Language Information Processing. You can read a
preprint version at http://arxiv.org/abs/1404.5585 .
Version 0.9 was prepared in a hurry, and there are some ongoing questions
about the future of Tsukurimashou as a result of my life and employment
situations. This release is a fair bit less polished than other releases
have been, and some parts of the documentation (especially in the parasite
packages) may not have been properly updated. I am releasing it as it
stands because after a year, we need a new version; the kanji planned for
inclusion in this version are complete at least; and it may be a long time
before I have another chance.
I mentioned in last version's release notes that I was unhappy about being
single and unemployed. It took me a year and a half to find an academic
job. During that time I lived mostly on savings, with occasionable
short-term contracts. During that time my availability to work on
Tsukurimashou was limited and development was slow. I eventually obtained a
postdoctoral position at the IT University of Copenhagen, working for a
project called Scaleable Similarity Search. This project's subject matter
is a close match to the kind of thing I wrote about in my doctoral
dissertation, and I am excited about getting to do more work on it. As I
write this text (August 16, 2014) I am in the middle of packing to move from
Canada to Denmark. Now I am rushing to get the Tsukurimashou 0.9 release
out the door before I leave, because if I don't, it won't go out until much
later, if ever. Very soon I will be shutting down and packing my main
development computer so it can be shipped; and it will probably be at least
two months before I can use this computer again.
Once I arrive in Copenhagen, I don't know if I will be spending a lot of
time trying to learn to speak Danish, and if so what that will do to my
Japanese studies. Despite strict Danish government regulations limiting
employment work hours, I don't know how much leisure time I will really have
to devote to Tsukurimashou; and I don't know to what extent I will be able
to fit continued Tsukurimashou development into my future career plans. I
am now six years post-PhD. My job in Copenhagen is to be at most two years
long, and given that it took me a year and a half to find this job, and next
time, if I am to have a real academic career at all then my next job had
better be at the faculty level, it appears that I should *already* have
been searching for my next job since something like a year ago.
This is an extremely stressful state to be in and it is destructive to my
ability to pursue side projects like Tsukurimashou. I am conscious that my
life outside of work is also far from what it should be, it is not
clear whether I will ever be able to have the life that I was promised and
have earned, and that too is destructive. The bottom line is that I can't
predict much about possible future development of Tsukurimashou.