[TUHS] Berkeley Font Catalog

Clem Cole clemc at ccc.com
Mon May 15 05:11:25 AEST 2023

On Sun, May 14, 2023 at 2:17 PM segaloco via TUHS <tuhs at tuhs.org> wrote:

> Hello, I've just today secured purchase of an original 4BSD manual and
> papers set and a copy of what I believe is the V6 papers set as well.  Of
> note amongst the tabs I could read from the pictures of the Berkeley binder
> was a section of fonts that I don't think I've seen before named the
> Berkeley Font Catalog.  I did a bit of searching around and didn't find
> anything matching that on first inspection re: scanned and source-available
> BSD doc collections.  Anyone got the scoop on this?

The Berkeley Font Catalog was a collection of 200 bpi fonts that could be
used with vcat - the virtual  CAT/4 typesetter and old tools like some of
the original EE cad editors like Ken Keller's and another from Tom Ferrin
at UCSF. The bulk of them was a copy of the Hershey Fonts [
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hershey_fonts] and a number of fonts
specialty fonts, such as a set for typing chess, that had been developed
originally for the XGP at CMU, MIT, and Stanford.  Between the 3 ARPAnet
sites, there was a lot of mixing and matching.  Note: I should have a Xerox
copy of them from one of the UCB docs in my files. They are on a BSD tape,
I would look in the contributed area, but I don't remember.   There is
likely troff input to print the catalog (using vcat), but again I am trying
to remember where any of that was in the distribution kits.

FWIW: a few months back, Rob has corrected the history that the original
vcat(1) was Canadian in origin.  I thought that Ferrin had his hand in an
early version that came to UCB (This is likely an example of the side
comment sometimes used, that joy peed on it to make things smell like UCB,
as Tom was across the bay).  I also thought Tom had collected much of the
catalog originally; and while I could be smoking something here -- I seem
to remember that he also had some sort of Stanford connection with some of
his graphics work [the UCSF and Stanford medical schools - were doing 3D
graphics for medical diags at some point].   Tom was a graphics guy, and I
know he was mixed up in some of that so it would have made sense for him to
be somehow involved.  It was not for a few years later, when Barskey showed
up at UCB that there was any serious graphics work being done -- before
that, only ECAD tools like's Ken and later Oster's.

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