April 19, 2019

New HOWTO: XFree86 Font Deuglification Mini HOWTO

Table of Contents, Section 1

  • March 23, 2001
XFree86 Font Deuglification Mini HOWTO

Maintained by: Hal Burgiss


Original Author: Doug Holland


v1.60e, 21 March 2001

How to improve ugly and unreadable X Window fonts. Various tips for improving
font handling for XFree86, including sections on fonts servers, TrueType
fonts, Netscape, and related topics.

Table of Contents
1. Introduction
    1.1. Conventions
    1.2. Change Log
    1.3. New Versions
    1.4. Copyright
    1.5. Credits
    1.6. Translations
2. X Server Configuration
    2.1. Setting The FontPath
    2.2. X Server Command Line Options
3. TrueType Fonts (One of the few things Windows is good for)
    3.1. Making TrueType Fonts Available
    3.2. Font Servers
        3.2.1. xfstt
   Adjusting the Default Font Size
        3.2.2. Redhat's xfs
   Setting the xfs FontPath
   Getting the Fonts Ready
    3.3. xfsft
    3.4. The fonts.alias File
4. XFree86 4.x
    4.1. Redhat 7.0 Differences
5. Adjusting Fonts in Specific Applications
    5.1. KDE
        5.1.1. Applying KDE Fonts and Colors to non-KDE Applications
    5.2. Netscape
6. Odds and Ends
    6.1. Notes
    6.2. Links

1. Introduction

One of the most annoying sets of problems I have had to deal with is the
abysmal default fonts and font settings of X (I'm talking specifically about
[http://www.xfree.org] XFree86, other versions of X may be better.) Many
programs use fixed width default fonts when a variable width font would be
more appropriate. Other programs use fonts that are ridiculously tiny and
unreadable. The fonts that are bundled with XFree86 are barely adequate for
the job. It does come with a halfway decent courier font, but its Times and
Helvetica fonts are simple bitmap fonts that pixelize when they are scaled.

This HOWTO attempts to show how to adjust various font settings, install new
fonts, and do other things that will greatly improve the appearance and
readability of fonts on the X Window Desktop. This is done by adjusting the
FontPath in the XF86Config file, by adding switches to X server command line
in startx or xdm (and variants), by adding new fonts, by installing a
TrueType font server and fonts, and by using a feature in the K Desktop
Environment 1.1 that automagically adjusts font settings in many
applications, including non-KDE apps to set their fonts and colors to match
KDE's style settings.  

Comments, corrections, additions and critiques are always welcome. You can
reach the authors at , or  

1.1. Conventions

  * Where examples of commands are used, a "#" character is used to denote
    where typically the command would be run as the root user. A "$" is used
    where typically a non-root user would be executing the command.
  * The examples use /usr/local/share/fonts/ttfonts as our TrueType font
    directory. There is no magic to this location, and could conceivably just
    as well be in any number of other locations.
  * References to "xfs" are to the xfs as packaged by Redhat for versions 6.x
    and later. This differs significantly in some respects from the stock
    XFree86 xfs.
  * References to "Netscape" are to the entire suite of programs from
    Netscape: Communicator, Navigator, Messenger, etc. For all intents and
    purposes, font configuration in Mozilla is the same.
  * 'XF86Config' is the X configuration file. For Redhat based distros, as of
    Redhat 7.0, this is now 'XF86Config-4' for XFree86 4.x. For the most
    part, we'll just use 'XF86Config' here.
    Also, while some aspects of XFree86 4.x configuration are the same as
    3.3.x, there are some significant differences. We'll only highlight the
    differences. So unless noted otherwise, any comments or examples will
    apply to both 3.x and 4.x versions.

1.2. Change Log


  * 0.1: Feb. 21, 1999: First release.
  * 0.11: Feb. 27, 1999: Added copyright info to protect my butt.
  * 0.12: Jun. 10, 1999: Added A Plea for Help.
  * 0.20: Sep. 14, 1999: Added section on xfs for Redhatters. Many thanks to
    Hal Burgiss for his contribution.
  * 1.0: Nov. 23, 1999: Converted document to SGML, for submission to the
    Linux Documentation Project. Removed Plea for Help.
  * 1.5: July 25, 2000: New sections added on fonts.alias, XFree86 4.x, and
    xfsft. Miscellaneous other changes and additions.
  * 1.55: Oct 11, 2000: Additional info on XFree86 4.x, especially Redhat's
    changes for RH7.0. A few other minor updates and additions.
  * 1.60e: March 21, 2001: A few very minor changes. Most notable news is
    anti-aliasing support now in XFree 4.02 (referenced in the Notes section
    only). Chinese translation URL added.

1.3. New Versions

Version 1.60x, is a pre-release version of this document. Nothing
substantially new. Anti-aliasing support in XFree86 4.02 is the biggest news.
I haven't had a chance to dig into this yet.

Version 1.55 adds additional information relating to XFree86 4.x, and in
particular what is new with Redhat 7.0. Also adding a neglected credit to
Kristin Aanestad for his insight into much of what this document is all

Version 1.5 includes new sections on xfsft, fonts.alias and XFree86 4.x.
Also, includes new Links and Notes sections, as well as a rewrite of the xfs
sections. Various other changes and additions.

The latest version of this document can be found at [http://feenix.dyndns.org
/ldp/fdu/index.html] http://feenix.dyndns.org/ldp/fdu/index.html.  

1.4. Copyright

Copyright � 1999 by Doug Holland.

Unless otherwise stated, Linux HOWTO documents are copyrighted by their
respective authors. Linux HOWTO documents may be reproduced and distributed
in whole or in part, in any medium physical or electronic, as long as this
copyright notice is retained on all copies. Commercial redistribution is
allowed and encouraged; however, the author would like to be notified of any
such distributions.

All translations, derivative works, or aggregate works incorporating any
Linux HOWTO documents must be covered under this copyright notice. That is,
you may not produce a derivative work from a HOWTO and impose additional
restrictions on its distribution. Exceptions to these rules may be granted
under certain conditions; please contact the Linux HOWTO coordinator for more

In short, we wish to promote dissemination of this information through as
many channels as possible. However, we do wish to retain copyright on the
HOWTO documents, and would very much like to be notified of any plans to
redistribute the HOWTOs, this one in particular! Web page authors are free to
link to this HOWTO without restriction, though the author would appreciate an
email informing him of this, just so he can boost his ego by knowing who else
reads and links to this document.

Many of the terms mentioned in this document are trade names. Unless
otherwise stated, all trademarks are property of their respective owners.

1.5. Credits

 Created by Doug Holland.
  Email: [mailto:meldroc@frii.com] meldroc@frii.com
  WWW: [http://www.frii.com/~meldroc/] http://www.frii.com/~meldroc/

 Updated by Hal Burgiss.
  Email: [mailto:hal@foobox.net] hal@foobox.net
  WWW: [http://feenix.dyndns.org/ldp/fdu] http://feenix.dyndns.org/

Special thanks go to:

  * The developers of the [http://www.xfree86.org] XFree86 Project, for all
    the hard work and time they have given. Also, Juliusz Chroboczek for his
    work with xfsft, and XFree86 4.x to help bring TrueType to the masses.
  * Font wizard Kristin Aanestad, whose legwork and insight on much of the
    xfs, TrueType, Netscape, and especially, the fonts.alias sections are
    much appreciated. More from Kristin at [http://home.c2i.net/dark/
    linux.html] Some Linux for Beginners on a wide range of topics.
  * The folks at [news:comp.os.linux.x] comp.os.linux.x who gave me a hand in
    figuring all of this out in the first place.
  * The Linux community in general who made all of this possible in the first
  * Microsoft and Apple: for providing the fonts that adorn my desktop.


1.6. Translations

 Chinese: [http://www.linux.org.tw/CLDP/mini/FDU.html] http://
www.linux.org.tw/CLDP/mini/FDU.html by Yu-Chia Chang. 

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