The installation of additional fonts in SUSE Linux is very easy. Simply copy
the fonts to any directory located in the X11 font path (see
Section 14.3.1, “X11 Core Fonts”). To enable use of the
fonts, the installation directory should be a subdirectory of the directories
/etc/fonts/fonts.conf (see Section 14.3.2, “Xft”).
The font files can be copied manually (as
root) to a suitable directory, such as
/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/truetype. Alternatively, the
task can be performed with the KDE font installer in the KDE Control Center.
The result is the same.
Instead of copying the actual fonts, you can also create symbolic links. For
example, you may want to do this if you have licensed fonts on a mounted
Windows partition and want to use them. Subsequently, run
--module fonts executes
/usr/sbin/fonts-config, which handles the
configuration of the fonts. To see what this script does, refer to
the manual page of the script
The procedure is the same for bitmap fonts, TrueType and OpenType fonts, and Type1 (PostScript) fonts. All these font types can be installed in any directory. Only CID-keyed fonts require a slightly different procedure. For this, see Section 14.3.3, “CID-Keyed Fonts”.
X.Org contains two completely different font systems: the oldand the newly designed system. The following sections briefly describe these two systems.
Today, the X11 core font system supports not only bitmap fonts but also scalable fonts, like Type1 fonts, TrueType and OpenType fonts, and CID-keyed fonts. Scalable fonts are only supported without antialiasing and subpixel rendering and the loading of large scalable fonts with glyphs for many languages may take a long time. Unicode fonts are also supported, but their use may be slow and require more memory.
The X11 core font system has a few inherent weaknesses. It is outdated and can no longer be extended in a meaningful fashion. Although it must be retained for reasons of backward compatibility, the more modern Xft and fontconfig system should be used if at all possible.
For its operation, the X server needs to know what fonts it has
available and where in the system it can find them. This is
handled by a FontPath variable, which contains the path to all
valid system font directories. In each of these directories, a
fonts.dir lists the available
fonts in this directory. The FontPath is generated by the X server at
start-up. It searches for a valid
fonts.dir file in
each of the
FontPath entries in the configuration file
/etc/X11/xorg.conf. These entries are found in the
Files section. Display the actual FontPath with
q. This path may
also be changed at runtime with
xset. To add an additional path, use
+fp <path>. To
remove an unwanted path, use
If the X server is already active, newly installed fonts in mounted
directories can be made available with the command
fp rehash. This command is
executed by SuSEconfig
Because the command xset needs access to the
running X server, this only works if
--module fonts is
started from a shell that has access to the running X server. The
easiest way to achieve this is to assume
root permissions by
entering su and the root password.
su transfers the access permissions of the
user who started the X server to the root shell.
To check if the fonts were installed correctly and are
available by way of the X11 core font system, use the command
xlsfonts to list all available fonts.
By default, SUSE Linux uses UTF-8 locales. Therefore, Unicode fonts
should be preferred (font names ending with
in xlsfonts output). All available Unicode fonts can be
listed with xlsfonts
iso10646-1. Nearly all Unicode fonts available in SUSE Linux
contain at least the glyphs needed for European languages (formerly encoded
From the outset, the programmers of Xft made sure that scalable fonts including antialiasing are supported well. If Xft is used, the fonts are rendered by the application using the fonts, not by the X server as in the X11 core font system. In this way, the respective application has access to the actual font files and full control of how the glyphs are rendered. This constitutes the basis for the correct display of text in a number of languages. Direct access to the font files is very useful for embedding fonts for printing to make sure that the printout looks the same as the screen output.
In SUSE Linux, the two desktop environments KDE and GNOME, Mozilla, and many other applications already use Xft by default. Xft is already used by more applications than the old X11 core font system.
Xft uses the
fontconfig library for finding fonts and
influencing how they are rendered. The properties of
fontconfig are controlled by the global
/etc/fonts/fonts.conf and the
user-specific configuration file
of these fontconfig configuration files must
<?xml version="1.0"?> <!DOCTYPE fontconfig SYSTEM "fonts.dtd"> <fontconfig>
and end with
To add directories to search for fonts, append lines such as the following:
However, this is usually not necessary. By default, the user-specific
~/.fonts is already entered in
/etc/fonts/fonts.conf. Accordingly, all you need to do
to install additional fonts is to copy them to
You can also insert rules that influence the appearance of the fonts. For example, enter
<match target="font"> <edit name="antialias" mode="assign"> <bool>false</bool> </edit> </match>
to disable antialiasing for all fonts or
<match target="font"> <test name="family"> <string>Luxi Mono</string> <string>Luxi Sans</string> </test> <edit name="antialias" mode="assign"> <bool>false</bool> </edit> </match>
to disable antialiasing for specific fonts.
By default, most applications use the font names
sans-serif (or the equivalent
monospace. These are not real fonts
but only aliases that are resolved to a suitable font,
depending on the language setting.
Users can easily add rules to
resolve these aliases to their favorite fonts:
<alias> <family>sans-serif</family> <prefer> <family>FreeSans</family> </prefer> </alias> <alias> <family>serif</family> <prefer> <family>FreeSerif</family> </prefer> </alias> <alias> <family>monospace</family> <prefer> <family>FreeMono</family> </prefer> </alias>
Because nearly all applications use these aliases by default, this affects almost the entire system. Thus, you can easily use your favorite fonts almost everywhere without having to modify the font settings in the individual applications.
Use the command fc-list to find out which fonts
are installed and available for use. For instance, the command
a list of all fonts. To find out which of the available
scalable fonts (
:scalable=true) contain all glyphs
required for Hebrew (
:lang=he), their font names
family), their style (
their weight (
weight), and the name of the files
containing the fonts, enter the following command:
fc-list ":lang=he:scalable=true" family style weight
The output of this command could look like the following:
FreeSansBold.ttf: FreeSans:style=Bold:weight=200 FreeMonoBoldOblique.ttf: FreeMono:style=BoldOblique:weight=200 FreeSerif.ttf: FreeSerif:style=Medium:weight=80 FreeSerifBoldItalic.ttf: FreeSerif:style=BoldItalic:weight=200 FreeSansOblique.ttf: FreeSans:style=Oblique:weight=80 FreeSerifItalic.ttf: FreeSerif:style=Italic:weight=80 FreeMonoOblique.ttf: FreeMono:style=Oblique:weight=80 FreeMono.ttf: FreeMono:style=Medium:weight=80 FreeSans.ttf: FreeSans:style=Medium:weight=80 FreeSerifBold.ttf: FreeSerif:style=Bold:weight=200 FreeSansBoldOblique.ttf: FreeSans:style=BoldOblique:weight=200 FreeMonoBold.ttf: FreeMono:style=Bold:weight=200
Important parameters that can be queried with fc-list:
Table 14.2. Parameters of fc-list
Meaning and Possible Values
Name of the font family, for example,
The manufacturer of the font, for example,
The font style, such as
The language that the font supports, for example,
The font weight, such as
The slant, usually
The name of the file containing the font.
Font size in pixels. In connection with fc-list, this option only makes sense for bitmap fonts.
In contrast to the other font types, you cannot simply install CID-keyed
fonts in just any directory. CID-keyed fonts must be installed in
/usr/share/ghostscript/Resource/CIDFont. This is not
relevant for Xft and fontconfig, but it is necessary for Ghostscript and the
X11 core font system.
See http://www.xfree86.org/current/fonts.html for more information about fonts under X11.