Mac OS X 10.6.7 Update Causes Problems With OpenType Fonts

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

21 Comments:

  1. At least for us, flushing all and every font cache did NOT solve the issue, neither did manually resolving double fonts etc (which were mostly ttf versions of system-otfs). Some fonts – like FFDIN are still messed up. The weird thing is that it LOOKS okay in «Preview» but doesn’t in Acrobat, it even can kill the complete Application to open a PDF now, and when you ty to print from Previews the Printout looks as messed up as the PDF in Acrobat. It is a system-wide bug and affects non-adobe-software like GrandTotal. Some OTF-PS fonts are affected, other weirdly enough, are not. Even the bug with FFDIN is completely unpredictable, with some numerals being displayed and in another line the very same glyphs vanish. Very funny bug – not. Especially as downgrading doesn’t seem to work on my system.

    Posted by HD Schellnack on Mar. 29, 2011
  2. Darnit! So that proposed fix is not fool-proof? I hope Apple resolves this soon. Thanks for the additional information.

    Posted by Yves Peters on Mar. 29, 2011
  3. Hmmm

    is this related to the flash bug?
    http://forums.adobe.com/thread/825673

    Posted by Nuvolari on Mar. 29, 2011
  4. Yes; Adam Engst reports

    In a nutshell, font rendering with 10.6.7 is breaking when certain types of fonts are used. In particular, people are reporting errors when printing using certain fonts from Word and Pages, among other programs. Others are experiencing problems when creating PDF documents using OpenType PostScript fonts. (These PDF files work correctly in Preview, but may cause problems in Adobe Reader and Adobe Acrobat on the Mac and in Windows.) We’ve even seen reports of font problems when developing in Flash Professional. […]

    Posted by Yves Peters on Mar. 29, 2011
  5. Don’t rely on others to report it: report it yourself! Send details to Apple’s feedback page:
    http://www.apple.com/feedback

    Posted by Mister on Mar. 29, 2011
  6. Cleaning the font cache doesn’t seem to be a permanent solution. The problems will reappear.
    Deactivating and activation the broken fonts (in my case in FEX) at least makes the font usable for some time.

    Posted by Ralf Herrmann on Mar. 29, 2011
  7. Tried Onyx and Reinstalling in FEX – nothing works. In Grand Total DIN (and weirdly enough, also DINRound have errors – Parachutes DIN works. It feels completely random so far.

    Posted by HD Schellnack on Mar. 30, 2011
  8. That’s why it’s always good practice to back up your system before any upgrade or update. So should anything go wrong you can easily revert back to the previous working OS. A little extra work, but well worth it if you run into situations like this.

    Posted by Eric on Mar. 30, 2011
  9. This is (or was?) a core competency of Apple until now. I think it is a very serious issue and I faced such problems only on Windows OS or in the beginnings of PDF technology.

    I remember a speech of Mr. Jobs, where he was talking about his special interest in typography and how important it is for Apple. Dabblers at work.

    What is most annoying is the ignorance so far. There are no official statements of Apple.

    Downgrading is not acceptable.

    Please tell Apple:
    http://www.apple.com/feedback

    Small detail: in the selection list of the form 10.6.7. does not appear at all. Maybe this is the reason that Apple is not aware of the problem.

    Posted by Reiner Schlenker on Mar. 31, 2011
  10. Since I have written many articles on fonts I was stunned to find I suddenly could not print files from Pages using the fonts I have embedded in all the Pages templates I have been using for years. My PS Dell printer errors out every time. My non PS Brother printer has no problem. At least it’s nice to know what the culprit is. It is NOT nice to know that nothing is being done about it!

    SB

    Posted by Stephen Beals on Mar. 31, 2011
  11. We found a workaround that dealt with the issue quite well with our workflow. Downgrading our systems from OS X 10.6.7 to 10.6.6 was not a realistic option. Your milage may vary if you have hundreds or thousands of OpenType fonts or troublesome Type 1 Postcript fonts or a very large number of OS X 10.6.7 workstations to manage.

    We found that if we converted the OpenType fonts to TrueType fonts, then the problem went away. This may also work if you convert Type 1 Postscript fonts to TrueType. I posted some suggestions for how to do that in the “main” thread on the problem here http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?messageID=13323072

    Posted by Bert Sierra on Apr. 1, 2011
  12. >> convert to TrueType

    … which means you modify the outlines, break the hinting, digital signatures and the like.
    That’s not really recommendable.

    Posted by Ralf Herrmann on Apr. 2, 2011
  13. Out of curiosity I phoned Apple support just now (1720 hours, 02 April 2011) and they sure enough told me they were unaware of any problems with Fonts in 10.6.7… And they were not willing to acknowledge any such problem. Very disappointing…

    Posted by Steve on Apr. 2, 2011
  14. It’s your fault for relying on proprietary software.

    Posted by Anonymous on Apr. 3, 2011
  15. After Upgrading to 10.6.7, I had problem with all text editor, Word,
    Page, Quark .. many old font ( FUTURA) and others not displaying the (
    dot ) at the end of a phrase and some other symbols, all was working
    fine with 10.6.6.

    I used FontXchange (1 month trial) from FontGear Inc, to transform the
    problem font (Bitmap and PostScript Type 1) to Open Type (.otf)
    I removed all old font with FontDoctor.

    ALL NOWS WORK AGAIN in 10.6.7, no problem with printing or pdf
    all font are accessible as before.

    Posted by J_luc on Apr. 7, 2011
  16. When running in demo mode, FontXchange makes random changes to glyphs. It warns you about this when you press the demo button.

    PS. Adobe and Apple are now working on a fix, see:
    http://kb2.adobe.com/cps/896/cpsid_89637.html

    Posted by Steve West on Apr. 8, 2011
  17. I have exactly that problem too. OTF fonts like Fakt, Whitney etc. can not be printed as PDF without error. Temoprary the only way is to clean the font caches after each start. It is a mess!

    Posted by Michael J. on Apr. 10, 2011
  18. Downgrading to 10.6.6 is the only solution methinks.

    Posted by Tom Nychay on Apr. 15, 2011
  19. Posted by Ernest Ratliff on Apr. 27, 2011
  20. Unable to print pdf files from Adobe Acrobat Reader X. No accounting option when printing from MAC OSX 10.6.7
    Job gets to printer and fails to print displaying message invalid account id.

    Installed Adobe Acrobat Reader 9 and saw pop-up for accounting codes saved as preset. Job printed fine.

    Posted by kim codner on May. 5, 2011
  21. APPLE HAS A FIX HERE:
    http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1377

    Posted by Beth W. on Jun. 6, 2011

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