I’ve been writing about fonts and OS X for a long time. Here is the problem; working with fonts in OS X still sucks. Badly.
Remember OS 9? You could get this application called ATM Deluxe or Extensis Suitcase. If you wanted to turn on a font you just clicked on it. Or, if in a pinch you wanted to install a font yourself you simply dragged it over the System Folder icon and all was good.
Fast forward to OS X. You have a product like Font Reserve or Suitcase. In theory everything should be simple. Except it isn’t. Clicking on a font doesn’t all work. There are a multiple places a font can go in OS X and each font, because it is a file, is subject to the often confusing world of OS X’s permissions. There is a point when the power of OS X should be kept hidden from users, and fonts are a perfect case. I don’t care about permissions for Futura Bold! I just want it to show up in my menu when I want it.
Apple’s Font Book is a lame attempt to fix all this. If you have a large collection of fonts it chokes, and it isn’t capable of auto-activating fonts.
I fear that there may be no solution to font issues and OS X. A lot of it has to do with the underlying Unix structure of the OS. However, I’m not ready to give up. Given that a large portion of the Mac audience are designers you would think Apple would invest some significant resources to not only fix the issues, but be innovative in how the OS deals with fonts.
What about you, what are your experience with fonts and OS X?