Seeing now that the situation regarding Free fonts is much better than in the past, I have started packaging some that are of high enough quality so that we can have it available on our systems (be it Debian or any of the good derivatives).
In particular, I spent some time during the past few days packaging some that, I think, deserve to be mentioned:
ParaType Sans: this typeface family consists of a set of proportional, sans-serif fonts that supply a lot of Cyrillic glyphs.
Purpose: the intention of this font is that of supporting many of the smaller ethnic and cultural aspects present in Russia. It was even funded by the Russian Government: in particular, by the Federal Agency for Press and Mass Communications of the Russian Federation.
Why you should care: for those (like me) that use a Latin-based alphabet, the fonts also have some nice attractives, like, besides the usual 4 shape/weight combinations (regular, italic, bold, bold italic), two other variants: PT Sans Narrow (with its respective bold) and PT Sans Caption (also with bold).
On top of that, the fonts support ligatures (liga, dlig), fractions (frac), ordinals (ordn), and glyph composition (ccmp), among other OpenType features.
Anonymous Pro: this typeface family consists of a set of fixed-width fonts with the usual 4 shape/weight combinations (regular, italic, bold, bold italic).
Purpose: Anonymous Pro was made with people that stare at a computer screen, coding for long amounts of time, or people that use a terminal all the time. Apart from being scalable, it also features some pre-made bitmap versions at some sizes (10, 11, 12, and 13), so that they should look better than some automatically drawn font without proper TrueType hinting.
My package still is not good enough, as I have not yet included explicit support for the bitmapped sizes via some fontconfig configuration, but I expect to fix those in two or three days.
(This should just be a matter of including something like
<edit name="embeddedbitmap" mode="assign"> <bool>true</bool> </edit>
in the configuration that I ship with the fonts).
Cardo: this is produced by David Perry and it is a proportional, serif, old-style typeface similar to some highly regarded fonts like Bembo. It does not offer italic, or bold versions.
Purpose: Cardo's target "audience" are scholars that need to type set Medieval texts, it has many glyphs, support for many opentype features and the author has told me that he may even provide some support for typesetting Mathematics (and this is a very big deal, since typesetting Mathematics is hard enough when you decide to change your typefaces).
It works quite well with Jonathan Kew's XeTeX and you should just try it, especially if you are into serif fonts (like I am).
Droid: this consists of three font families, with varying shapes and weights, in sans-serif, sans-serif monospaced, and serif families. It has received a lot of press, due to it being sponsored by Google and made by Ascender Corporation.
Purpose: the Droid fonts were made for Google's Android platform and one of the main concerns was to be readable on devices with low resolution (like computer screens). It has a very wide coverage of glyphs (as one would expect from a font for phones) and have very high quality. A really nice donation to the world.
Linux Libertine: this has to be one of the most beautiful fonts that I have see in a while. It has the basic four combinations of a serif font
Purpose: to provide a beautiful, "organic" version of a typeface that can substitute Times/Times New Roman. It works well both with "regular" latex/pdflatex and with XeTeX (and, quite probably, with LuaTeX). It has quite a lot of OpenType features:
rbrito:~$ otfinfo -f /usr/share/fonts/truetype/linux-libertine/LinLibertine_Re.ttf | wc -l 25 rbrito:~$
OK, I can't be impartial with this font. It is beautiful. It is a pity that we are in a feature freeze and that a the new version won't probably be included in squeeze.
Heuristica ("Эвристика"): since Adobe has donated Utopia to the TeX Users's Group under a Free Software license, it was only a matter of time that people would tweak them and generate other versions. Then comes Andrey Panov's Heuristica, a modified version of the four basic typefaces that Adobe donated, in OpenType format (and, to boot, some nice scripts for fontforge).
Purpose: Heuristica improves Utopia with the primary intent of adding Cyrillic symbols by Andrey V. Panov. Andrey has also incorporated Vietnamese glyphs made available by Hàn Thế Thành. Heuristica is a family that features regular and italic shapes, with both being present also in bold weight.
Well, that's it for now. Stay tuned for more to come.