August 8, 2019

SMC Malayalam fonts updated in Fedora 30

This was originally written by Rajeesh KV and published at Soliloquies.

The Fedora package smc-fonts has a set of Malayalam fonts (AnjaliOldLipi, Kalyani, Meera, Rachana, RaghuMalayalamSans and Suruma) maintained by SMC. We used to package all these fonts as a single zip file hosted at These fonts were last updated in 2014 for Fedora, leaving them at version 6.1.

Since then, a lot of improvements were made to these fonts — glyph additions/corrections, opentype layout changes, fontTools based build system and separate source repository for each font etc..  There were lengthy discussions on the release  management of the fonts, and it was partially the reason fonts were not  updated in Fedora. Once it was agreed to follow different version number  for each font, and a continuous build+release system was put in place  at Gitlab, we could ensure that fonts downloaded from SMC website were always the latest version.

To reflect the updates in Fedora, we had to decide how to handle the  monolithic source package at version 6.1 versus the new individual  releases (e.g. Rachana is at version 7.0.1 as of this writing). In a  discussion with Pravin Satpute, we agreed to obsolete the existing fonts  package and give each font its own package.

Vishal Vijayaraghavan kindly stepped up and did the heavy lifting of creating the new packages, and we now even build the ttf font file from the source. See RHBZ#1648825 for details.

With all that in place, in Fedora 30, all these fonts are in latest version — for instance, see Rachana package. The old package smc-fonts no longer exists, instead each individual package such as smc-rachana-fonts or smc-meera-fonts can be installed. Our users will now be able to enjoy the improvements  made over the years — including updated Unicode coverage, new glyphs,  improved existing glyphs, much better opentype shaping etc.