The TrueType digital font format was originally designed by Apple Computer, Inc.
It was a means of avoiding per-font royalty payments to the owners of other font
technologies, and a solution to some of the technical limitations of Adobe's
Type 1 format.
Originally code named "Bass" (because these were scalable fonts and you can
scale a fish), and later "Royal", the TrueType format was designed to be
efficient in storage and processing, and extensible. It was also built to allow
the use of hinting
approaches already in use in the font industry as well as the development of new
hinting techniques, enabling the easy conversion of already existing fonts to
the TrueType format. This degree of flexibility in TrueType's implementation of
hinting makes it extremely powerful when designing characters for display on the
screen. Microsoft had also been looking for an outline format to solve similar
problems, and Apple agreed to license TrueType to Microsoft.
Apple included full TrueType support in its Macintosh operating system, System
7, in May 1991. Its more recent development efforts include TrueType GX, which
extends the TrueType format as part of the new graphics architecture QuickDraw
GX for the MacOS. TrueType GX includes some Apple-only extensions to the font
format, supporting Style Variations and the Line Layout Manager.
Microsoft first included TrueType in Windows 3.1, in April 1992. Soon
afterwards, Microsoft began rewriting the TrueType rasterizer to improve its
efficiency and performance and remove some bugs (while maintaining compatibility
with the earlier version). The new TrueType rasterizer, version 1.5, first
shipped in Windows NT 3.1. There have since been some minor revisions, and the
version in Windows 95 and NT 3.51 is version 1.66. The new capabilities include
enhanced features such as font smoothing
(or more technically, grayscale rasterization).
Microsoft's ongoing development effort includes the TrueType Open specification.
TrueType Open will work on any Microsoft platform and Apple Macintosh machine, and
includes features to allow multi-lingual typesetting and fine typographic control.
The next extension to the TrueType Open format is to be TrueType Open version 2,
a collaborative effort with Adobe Systems to produce a format capable of
containing both TrueType (and Open) and PostScript data.
Last updated 30 June 1997.