Font Book System Validation Error

kimmyk's picture

I have been selling a font family for over a year now, and just recently received a few emails from users saying they are getting a System Validation Error in Font Book, and are advised to not install this font. It's only happening to a couple people, but I want to fix the problem. The font has always worked perfectly for me so there isn't really a way for me to test whether I have solved the problem or not.

I've read some other forums on the subject... one solution was generating the font with hinting enabled. I checked my settings and this was already done.

Another suggested a solution that was on the user side:
1. Deleting the file ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.systemuiserver.plist and then log out/in
2. Install the 10.6.2 combo update

I can't test this as the issue doesn't apply to me, but is anyone confident enough in that solution that I should email it out to consumers? Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

kimmyk's picture

Here is a screen shot of the error message in Font Book.

George Thomas's picture

An age-old problem: the end-user. Not all users keep their systems in the cleanest shape nor do they all use their computer in the same way, so no one answer will fit all. Since you don't have a problem with the font then the font is probably OK. The simplest solution might be to have the users put the "problem" font in ~user/Library/Fonts rather than use Font Book to manage them. Font Book has never been known to be the best of font managers anyway.

malcolm's picture

The latest versions of FontBook have become particularly sensitive to errors in fonts. Looking at the style of CPL Kirkwood it maybe worth investigating to see if you have some overlapping contours or multiple nodes on the same co-ordinates.

kimmyk's picture

Thank you Malcolm and George. Font Book drives me nuts, it seems to create issues where there is none. I've been trying to research what System Validation Error even means, but haven't found any real answers. Which makes it really difficult for me figure out if it's something I'm on wrong on my end. I hate going back to consumers and telling them that's an issue on their end, so I really want to find a solution.

I will go through and see if there are any overlapping contours / nodes as well, maybe that will help. Thank you so so much!

kimmyk's picture

Thank you Grzegorz, I've read that thread (a dozen times) but the problem isn't in the kerning feature and I already had hinting enabled (which solved the problem for that person.)

malcolm's picture

Grzegorz may have a point regarding the hinting of the font especially if you auto-hint on output. If FontLab is creating many, many hints for each glyph it maybe too much for the system, you may need to just insert a single ghost hint at the baseline position for each glyph.

Also for a distressed style of font you should turn off 'Use subroutines to compress outlines...etc'. FontLab may try to create thousands of small contour subroutines that will not be of any benefit and may cause errors.

I am happy to run some diagnostics on your fonts for you if you wish (mwooden at dtptypes dot com).

Grzegorz Rolek's picture

In a more general note, if your font is more about distressed texture than particular curve control, why not distribute it with TrueType outlines? Both problems Malcolm’s just mentioned are of PostScript nature, so they wouldn’t apply. TrueType outlines are in some measure also more ‘native’ technology to Microsoft and Apple, and both companies deal with it very well. Font Book, for example, would list the table with TrueType outlines and indicate it specifically in case of any problems, whereas the CFF/PostScript table didn’t even show up in the report.

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