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True Type fonts under Linux

It's time to get on the Internet. You fire up Netscape, go to www.freeos.com

and look in horror at the horrible fonts in use. FreeOS obviously doesn't

know how to make a good page. You move off to your other favourite news

site and more horrendous fonts are waiting for you there too. Something

wrong? Not really. Just that X doesn't use the newer True Type fonts which

are now heavily used on the web and thanks to Microsoft, have become the

most popular font format. X still uses the older bitmap fonts which don't

scale well, hence the horrible fonts. Fortunately there is a way to utilise

True Type fonts on Linux too.

Xfree86 4 and above include True Type font support so you don't have to do

anything else. If you're using a version below 4, you need to get a X true

type font server. I'm using xfsft which you can get here.

( http://www.dcs.ed.ac.uk/home/jec/programs/xfsft/ ). Currently it is the

best font server and was made part of the Xfree86 4 source tree.

The latest version as of writing this article is 1.1.6. Red Hat, Mandrake and

users of distributions based on Red Hat do not need xfs as it is already

included in versions later than 6, though slighthly modified. You can safely

skip the next few steps.

Untar the file somewhere. /tmp is a good location.

tar zxvf xfsft-1.1.6.linux-i386-libc6.tar.gz

cd xfsft-1.1.6

Copy the xfs binary to some suitable location. If you have a xfs binary

lying somewhere then overwrite it with this one. I'm using SuSE and I

copied this one over the one on my hard drive.

cp xfs /usr/X11R6/bin/xfs

Untar the included encodings.tar file in some suitable location, usually


cd /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts

tar xvf /encodings.tar

Red Hat users can join me now.

Create a new directory to hold your fonts.

mkdir /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/ttf

Where to get the fonts from?

1. There are plenty of free fonts on the Internet that you can

download. Start with www.freefonts.com.

2. If you have a windows partition on your computer then you can use the