Mac OS X 10.6.7 Update Causes Problems With OpenType Fonts

 

I just now received this warning from FontShop‘s trustworthy FontFeed:

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TUAW.com blogger David Caolo warns that Mac OS X 10.6.7 introduces issues with PostScript-flavoured OpenType fonts. In a thread on Apple’s Discussions boards Kurt Lang describes problems with regards to printing and PDF handling.

As soon as you install 10.6.7, OpenType PostScript fonts are indeed broken… [the issue] is confined to OT PS fonts. All PDF files, including those using OpenType PostScript fonts display correctly in Preview. With the Acrobat Reader, all PDF files display correctly except those using OT PS fonts. So no matter who gets PDF files created under 10.6.7 using OT PS fonts, they will not display correctly on the Mac or in Windows…

After extensive troubleshooting Lang concludes that the issues only arise after updating the OS X – his installations of Adobe Reader or Preview were unchanged, and everything worked fine in Mac OS X 10.6.6. Furthermore TidBITS publisher Adam Engst reports that the impacts are wider than one may suspect. He describes the problem as follows.

[…] each font used in a PDF has a description of how the glyphs are encoded, and a change in 10.6.7 resulted in PDFs ending up with an incorrect encoding definition. Since Mac OS X uses PDF as the print spool format, that accounts for both PDF files and print jobs showing the problem. The Flash Professional authoring tool relies on the platform’s font rendering, which explains why it’s having trouble too.

As the bug only affects Mac applications that rely on Mac OS X’s mechanism for rendering fonts, designers using programs like Adobe InDesign are safe. Those applications have their own rendering engines, making them immune to these issues.

Apparently Apple is not yet working on the issue. If you haven’t updated to Mac OS X 10.6.7 yet it is advised holding off until Apple resolves the situation. According to a tweet by San Diego based graphic designer Joshua Robinson (via the incomparable Typegirl), the unofficial answer to fixing some of the font problems in OS X 10.6.7 is to clear your font cache using the free multi-function utility OnyX.

Kurt Lang’s comment in the Font Problems After 10.6.7 thread – Apple Discussions forum
OpenType PostScript Fonts Troublesome in 10.6.7 – TidBITS, Adam C. Engst

 

Jay Nelson is the editorial director of PlanetQuark.com, and the editor and publisher of Design Tools Monthly. He’s also the author of the QuarkXPress 8 and QuarkXPress 7 training titles at Lynda.com, as well as the training videos Quark includes in the box with QuarkXPress 7 . In addition, Jay writes regularly for Macworld and Photoshop User magazines and speaks at industry events.