Can't launch FDK

rrichrs's picture

Hey guys any input as to why I would be getting this (Launch of "FDK" failed: the PowerPC architecture is no longer supported.) when ever I try to autohint-h in terminal after installing FDK. I just got a new macbook air and I'm trying to get it running FDK.

Theunis de Jong's picture

A new Air but it still contains a PowerPC chip? Where did you buy it, an on-line bargain? (g) See Apple's Macbook Air specs!

But check your system (in the Apple menu); if this says you do have an Intel-chip, there might be some error in the FDK. Altough the latest version runs flawless on my desktop Mac.

rrichrs's picture

haha no it's not a powerpc, it's a legit MacBook Air from apple. FDK is just telling me that it is. I've tried reinstall, reformatting, partitioning and installing on a separate partition. Nothing. Just wondering if anyone has run into the same problem with this using the new Air.

Theunis de Jong's picture

Jus' checking, jus' checking. As it is a new computer, did it come with Lion? Not that it would matter, autohint -h gives this output on my desktop system (also Lion):

autohint  AutoHinting program v1.30 Mar 13 2009
autohint -h
autohint -u
autohint [-g <glyph list>] [-gf <filename>] [-xg <glyph list>] [-xgf <filename>]
    [-cf path] [-a] [-logOnly] [-log <logFile path>] [-r] [-q] [-c]
    [-nf] [-ns] [-nb] [-o <output font path>]  font-path

Auto-hinting program for PostScript and OpenType/CFF fonts.
Copyright (c) 2006, 2007, 2008 Adobe Systems Incorporated ...

... followed by 4 screenfuls of options. I just now tried it on a font I made myself and it complains "Error: font must have at least four values in it's BlueValues array for AC to work!", so that's something I have to look in to ... But at least it runs.

Are you sure you have the Very Latest version of the FDK? If so, it might also be a failure of your installed Python (the FDK uses this extensively). Mine is Python 2.7.1 and as I have virtually no knowledge of Python and don't recall installing or upgrading it manually, it must have come with Lion, this FDK, or possibly some other software.

Theunis de Jong's picture

FYI, I got the version of my installed Python by typing in python in the Terminal. (I realize you probably already know that, but interested readers may not. After typing that, it is patiently awaiting my further commands and as I don't know any Python, I just pressed Ctrl+Z.)

(Just noticed this: .. in it's BlueValues ... Must be written by a programmer.)

rrichrs's picture

Yeah I'm just lost here. I can't seem to find anything that works. Even running the 'makeotf' command brings up the power pc thingy. Any suggestion on something similar? I've used 'chkfontpath' in Linux but I'm looking for something for Mac.

Theunis de Jong's picture

Checked your Python version?

Aside: I also have Apple's Font Dev Kit, but as with All Things Apple, you might have to register as a developer to get your hands on it.

Apple's is not as good or complete as Adobe's -- there is virtually no software that you can use create anything useful with (I mean, AAT, come on!). At least, that's my experience with it. Better try and get ADFKO running.

gargoyle's picture

The error message indicates that something is trying to use Rosetta, which was discontinued in Lion. Was anything on your new Macbook migrated over from a pre-Lion user account?

Read Roberts's picture

This is bizarre. The FDK is still built with support for PowerPC chips as well as Intel chips. This message is from the operating system, not the FDK program, and it is saying that it doesn't see the Intel code, only the PPC code. This has nothing to do with Python version or the options you are using with the programs.

It is possible that the Lion OS on the latest Airbook does not support the somewhat old FDK Intel code, but I have not heard about that kind of problem. I will look and see if there are other cases. I think it more likely that your download is damaged. Can you try down-loading the FDK again and re-installing?

The error message seen by Theunis de Jong is another issue altogether. "BlueValues" are the PostScript name for alignment zones. Hinting a font is a lot more useful if there are some alignment zones, and fonts without any are illegal and not guaranteed to work in all rasterizers. so autohint is built to object strongly if the alignment zones are missing.

Theunis de Jong's picture

No surprise, Read, as I build the entire font file myself :) Well, at least it proves the latest FDK runs correctly on my system.

You don't seem to think it could be the OP's Python? I can't tell which part of the FDK would show the original error message "Can't launch .."

(Late Night Edit) Oh wait, indeed you said so already.

Read Roberts's picture

Looking at this again, I suspect that you provided the real error message, not just a paraphrased version. If the error message does really complain about running the program "FDK", then you are using a much older version of the FDK that is pre-Intel. The FDK version 2.5 does not have the "FDK" program. Did you download from:

If so, you nevertheless have an older version of the FDK on your system, and the current "PATH variable is pointing to it. Please follow the instructions for installing the new FDK as described in FDK/Read_Me_First.html.

Best regards,
Read Roberts

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