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Behdad Esfahbod

Seyed Behdad Esfahbod MirHosseinZadeh Sarabi is an Iranian-Canadian software engineer, type expert and free software developer. He worked at Google in Mountain View, CA, and at Facebook (2019-2020). At the time he quit Facebook, his annual salary, as reported by The New York Times, was 1.5 million dollars.

Behdad Esfahbod was born in 1982 in Sari, Iran. While at high school Esfahbod won a silver in the 1999 International Olympiad in Informatics and then gold in 2000. He studied computer engineering at Sharif University in Tehran while discovering the world of computer typography and open source.

In 2003 he moved to Canada, studied computer science at the University of Toronto (MSc, class of 2006), became a regular contributor to GNOME---he was a director at GNOME Foundation from 2007 to 2010, serving as the president from 2008 to 2009---and many other open source projects. Esfahbod was among the founders of Sharif FarsiWeb Inc. which carried out internationalization and standardization projects related to open source and Persian language. He worked at Red Hat, Google, and generally became the go-to person regarding everything font and text rendering in open source projects. Among the projects he has led are the cairo, fontconfig, HarfBuzz, and pango libraries, which are standard parts of the GNOME desktop environment, the Google Chrome web browser, and the LibreOffice suite of programs. He received an O'Reilly Open Source Award in 2013 for his work on HarfBuzz. In 2012, he obtained an MBA from the University of Toronto as well.

Speaker at ATypI 2014 in Barcelona. The abstract of his talk there explains the current status of the FontTools package: FontTools/TTX is a Python package for converting OpenType font fonts to / from XML. It was developed in early 2000s by Just van Rossum and has been in wide use by the type community since, mostly for testing and inspection, but its development has had stopped for the most part. In Summer 2013 I resurrected FontTools development by adding support for many tables that have not been supported before (EBDT/EBLC, CBDT/CBLC, sbix, COLR/CPAL, SVG, ...), as well as implementing new tools: a full font subsetting tool, font inspection tool, font merge tool. In this talk I will talk about the community gathered around the new FontTools development as well as my plans to expand FontTools into a full Open Source font production pipeline. Speaker at ATypI 2015 in Sao Paulo. Speaker at ATypI 2016 in Warsaw on The Open Source Python Font Production Pipeline.

Addendum: Read his personal story involving psychological torture by the Iranian government. New York Times article in August 2020 about his Iranian experience: Esfahbod was arrested by Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps' intelligence unit during a 2020 visit to Tehran. He was then moved to Evin prison, where he was psychologically pressured and interrogated in solitary confinement for seven days. They downloaded all his private data from his devices. Iranian security forces let him go based on his promise to spy on his friends once he was back in United States. According to Linkedin, he is now based in Edmonton, Canada.

Wikipedia link.

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Open source fonts ⦿ Font software ⦿ Type personalities ⦿ Type design in Iran ⦿ Type scene in California ⦿ The Canadian type scene ⦿

file name: Behdad Esfahbod Pic

file name: Behdad esfahbod in Zconf6 by Mardetanha

file name: Behdad Esfahbod A Typ I2015 Sao Paulo Opentype Panel Pic

file name: Behdad Esfahbod New York Times Pic 2020

Luc Devroye ⦿ School of Computer Science ⦿ McGill University Montreal, Canada H3A 2K6 ⦿ lucdevroye@gmail.com ⦿ http://luc.devroye.org ⦿ http://luc.devroye.org/fonts.html