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Section C.5. Type 42 Fonts

C.5. Type 42 Fonts

Ever since version 2013, PostScript interpreters have contained a TrueType rendering engine. This engine allows for direct rendering of glyphs found in TrueType fonts, without first going through a conversion to PostScript (which would be catastrophic, since the nature of the curves is different and the hints in the two systems have absolutely nothing to do with each other). The only problem is communication: how to transfer data from a TrueType font to the TrueType rendering engine inside a PostScript interpreter? To this end, Adobe introduced Type 42 [13].

The reader surprised by this sudden switch from small numbers (Types 0, 1, 2, 3...) to the number 42 will understand once he has read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams [2], a gem of British science fiction and British humor, and a must for those who wish to learn about hacker culture. In this book, the number 42 is of central importance, as it represents the "answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything".[C-21]

[C-21] In fact, according to Adams, an extraterrestrial race designed a supercomputer called Deep Thought to find the answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything. After seven and a half million years, Deep Thought proclaimed that the answer is "42". Thus we noticed that the answer is worthless if we do not know the question. Deep Thought therefore designed an even more enormous computer to find the question, after 10 million years of calculations. This computer is Earth, it is powered by mice, and humanity's reason for being is to feed the mice. But five minutes before fulfilling its mission, Earth was destroyed to make room for an intergalactic highway. Ken Lunde, in [240, p. 280], even gives the name of the person who is responsible for assigning the number 42 to this type of font: Kevin Andresen, an employee of Xerox. Apparently all the computers used by his team had names drawn from this book, and their network printer was called Forty-Two.


  

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