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Like Those Pretty Fonts in OS 4.5+? Thank Bitstream (Bolt) & DejaVu

BlackBerryFonts One of the most persuasive changes in recent OS version since 4.5 and on has been the strikingly clean cut fonts BBAlphaSans & BBAlphaSerif. I had been meaning to take a look into how RIM pulled this off for awhile now and finally had some time. Turns out that RIM was forced to credit the original authors of the fonts since they were not developed by RIM. You will find a copyright statement like this one in the screen/keyboard menu option.

I did some simple digging and found that these new fonts are based on Vera which is a typeface with a free license. It was created by Bitstream which is the same company behind the popular Bolt Browser for BlackBerry. From what I can tell it was designed by Jim Lyles from Bitstream back in 2003 to improve the look of fonts on low resolution devices. Since then it has been incorporated in quite a few open source projects due to its Free License. That list includes the popular Gnome & more. This has to be the closest I have seen any open source software incorporated in the RIM OS.

The DejaVu fonts are a derivative of the original Bitstream Vera fonts. DejaVu added additional glyphs and styles along with more languages.

Sorry if I bored anybody but I had a long train ride today… 🙂 I just knew there had to be a story behind these fonts.


8 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. Aren’t those the default fonts in 4.3 also?

  2. Well, for us “dinosaurs” Bitstream started out as a font house – one of the best in the early days of electronic publishing.

    It’s nice to see that they have adopted to the changing technology / business models.

  3. Hi,

    The statement that RIM doesn’t use free software in it’s OS for blackberry is false.

    The “radio file” contains wpa_supplicant, openssl and other free software. The wifi part (at least) is entirely using free software.


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