How to install FontForge on Mac OS X Lion, using Homebrew
In my research into font creation software, there was one free & open source piece that came to the top: FontForge. Some say it's even more capable than FontLab Studio, which costs around $650 and seems to be what is most often recommended. FontForge makes me think of Gimp, which is a free, open source graphics manipulation program that is equivalent to Photoshop. Clunkier, and possibly more powerful in some areas.
There are no current "normal" installer for Mac. Nor for Windows or Linux, for that matter. So to install it, it must be compiled from source. It's (almost) an easy process, so don't be scared. I only had one glitch in the installation process, and once I got over that, the installation completed.
Here's the first trick. Don't compile it from source. I mean, don't do it yourself. Let Homebrew do it for you. Installation instructions here. I already had homebrew installed, but if I remember correctly, I had to run the ruby command using sudo. I mean
sudo /usr/bin/ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.github.com/gist/323731)". You should try it without sudo first. Homebrew does require xcode, which is a free download from the apple store. But it's a big download that will probably take an hour or longer.
Install fontforge, first attempt
OK, so you have homebrew installed. Great! Now let's put it to work. At your commandline, type:
sudo brew install fontforge. Homebrew should already know about fontforge, and will determine that it has some dependencies... gettext, pango, etc. etc. And these dependencies have their own dependencies. Homebrew figures all that out, downloads what it needs to, compiles stuff, and you can just watch the code in the terminal and feel all super powerful. But when I did this, it failed when installing a glib library. Tried again, same fail, except quicker. We can't get fontforge installed until this glib library is installed.
Install fontforge, second attempt, and success!
I could see that the problem was caused by a 404 on a patch file. By enabling verbose mode in homebrew and doing a little sleuthing at github, I found a fix. So if this happens to you, do this:
Using a plain text editor, open
/usr/local/Library/Formula/glib.rb, delete its contents (maybe make a backup first), and replace them with the contents of this file: https://github.com/mxcl/homebrew/blob/4b4760af7538fe62fd3dc075e8ffe2ee1a...
After I did that and ran
sudo brew install fontforge, the installation finally completed successfully! The one last thing I had to do before I could run it like a normal program was:
ln -s /usr/local/Cellar/fontforge/20110222/FontForge.app /Application. I had to do it that way because
brew linkapps didn't work for me.
- Install Homebrew
brew install fontforge
Success? Yay! Add the symlink, and you're done.
- Replace /usr/local/Library/Formula/glib.rb with https://github.com/mxcl/homebrew/blob/4b4760af7538fe62fd3dc075e8ffe2ee1a...
brew install fontforge
- Add the symlink
ln -s /usr/local/Cellar/fontforge/20110222/FontForge.app /Application