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 The IKARUS program, sold in North America by URW America 
 (1-800-229-8791), runs on large UNIX systems and is for high-production 
 environments. IKARUS M is a subset, for the Macintosh. There was, long 
 ago, an IKARUS B which ran on DOS computers, but it has not been sold 
 nor supported for many years. I may have the only IKARUS B system left 
 in the world.
 The Macintosh program, IKARUS M, like all the IKARUS family, is for 
 artists who create their letters with pen (or brush) and paper before 
 digitizing. From sized original drawings you digitize using a digitizing 
 tablet. It is totally unsuited to freehand drawing on the screen. Of all 
 the font creation programs I have seen, the IKARUS products are the only 
 ones optimized for point-by-point digitization from artwork.
 As a port from UNIX, its bare-bones functionality will offend many Mac 
 enthusiasts. Its interface is almost un-Maclike; many of its proofing 
 and conversion features are rudimentary. It nevertheless does a 
 crackerjack job of getting artwork into IK format, and does a good job 
 of converting IK to Mac and Windows PostScript and TrueType fonts. It 
 has weakeness there, though. You cannot, for example, edit hints. 
 Kerning values can be imported only by a kind of voodoo. I believe its 
 autohinting is superior to Fontographer's, though, especially the way it 
 autohints TrueType.
 Its documentation of the digitization function is first-rate, and a good 
 primer on the mechanics of digital type design. Its documentation of 
 other functions, however, is minimal.
 The only other program I use is Fontographer, which is useless for 
 digitiztion, but which lets you put a scanned bitmap in the background 
 and trace it (by hand if you want fast, accurate work, or by autotracing 
 if you want time-consuming, sloppy work). Having experimented with both, 
 I recommend IKARUS hands-down for working from drawings, even at a 
 shocking $500 or so for the software (digitizing tablet extra). Once 
 you're used to it, it really cooks.