Peter T. Daniels wrote:

>Mark E. Shoulson wrote:
>>I remember reading something about this (or something like it) last year
>>or so. Looks like the fonts are finally ready for market.
>>It's an Arabic font with no shaping, no initial/medial/final/isolated
>>forms, and even designed with LTR directionality in mind as a
>>possibility. I don't know about LTR possibility, and I'm not an
>>Arabic-reader myself, but *maybe* one could get used to it. Would be
>>easier if there were a free version available too...
>It's clever (additional lettershapes are shown at the "more like this"
>page), but it would be like trying to read text printed with a display
Yeah, turns out there are three flavors of Mutamathil Arabic fonts. The
unqualified one that I linked to is intermediate: favors RTL
directionality, no shaping or final glyphs. There's another version that
favors RTL more strongly and has final forms for some letters, a little
closer to normal Arabic, and a version in which all the letters are
perfectly symmetrical about the vertical axis(!), with no final forms or
anything, attempting to make LTR layout feasible. That last one has to
be tough to get used to, even if you stick with RTL. Dal is tough to get
used to, and I bet ray takes some work as well.

>Such extreme compression isn't necessary -- the IBM Selectric Arabic
>ball managed to fit a quite readable Arabic text font into the under-80
>positions available (you can see it in just about every Arabic textbook
>published in the 70s and 80s).
I guess it depends on your view of "necessary." I think part of this
guy's whole point is the simplification of Arabic writing, to bring it
more in line with simpler single-letter-based alphabets. Obviously,
whether or not this is a Good Thing is a matter of opinion!