There are a number of ways fonts can be added to X. Firstly, XFree86 has a font path which is just a list of several directories or font servers where it searches for fonts. A font server is just a background process that makes fonts available to XFree86. An advantage of font servers is that they can send fonts to remote displays.
Recently, xfs ( the ``X font server'' ) has been patched to support TrueType fonts, and run as a stand-alone program. The patched version ships with RedHat and RedHat-based distributions, and is included in XFree86 4.0 and newer. xfs is actually just the standard font server that comes with XFree86. It's source code is part of the XFree86 source tree. However, distributions have recently been shipping a version that runs in stand-alone mode. The stand-alone X font server, with the TrueType support patch ( the TrueType support takes place via a font server called xfsft ) is probably the nicest font management solution currently available. Its advantages include:
Support for different types of fonts, including Type 1, TrueType and bitmap.
Makes fonts available to remote displays.
Greatly simplifies editing the fontpath -- you can do it via the command line utility chkfontpath, as opposed to having to edit configuration files. This not only makes life easier for users, it makes packaging more safer and more scriptable for packagers.
Because different distributions ship with different configurations, it is not true that one size fits all. We can split users up into three groups:
Your distribution ships with a stand-alone xfs and it has been patched to support TrueType. This group includes Redhat users and users of derivatives of Redhat such as Mandrake, and TurboLinux. Debian 3.0 will also include the patched xfs, currently in testing. For this group, the wisest strategy is to install both TrueType and Type 1 fonts through xfs
Some distributions ship with a stand-alone xfs package, but no TrueType support. Note that XFree86 supports TrueType as of version 4.0. This includes Debian stable ("potato"). For these users, the best thing to do is use xfs to install Type 1 fonts, and install TrueType fonts via xfstt. Debian users can seek out the TrueType Fonts in Debian mini-HOWTO for information about installing TrueType fonts in Debian.
If you don't have xfs then you will need to install Type 1 fonts by adding to their XFree86 font path and using xset. using xset. XFree86 3.x users should install TrueType fonts via xfstt, while XFree86 4.x users can add them to the X font path. You should install TrueType fonts via xfstt.
XFree86 finds your fonts by searching a font path, a list of directories ( or servers -- we'll explain this further later. ) containing fonts. When an application requests a font, it searches through the directories in your font path one at a time until the font is found. To make fonts available requires you to set your font path. You can add a directory to your font path with the command xset fp+ directory Once you have done this, you need to ask the X server to re-scan for available fonts with the command
xset fp rehash
... Section "Files" ... FontPath /usr/share/fonts/myfonts ... EndSection ...
The easiest way to make Type 1 fonts available to X is with the help of the Type1inst utility. This is a perlscript that automatically creates the fonts.dir and fonts.scale files that you need for X to use the fonts. Simply CD to the directory, and run type1inst. cd directory type1inst
Now you need to add the fonts to your font path. If you already have the stand-alone Section 4.4 running, you do this by editing your xfs configuration file. RedHat users can just use chkfontpath. the format is chkfontpath --add directory
Your fonts will be available to X after you restart xfs, or tell it to reload by sending a SIGHUP. You may need to run xset fp rehash as well.
Your fonts should now be available to X. Now you just run xset fp rehash and X will be able to find the new fonts.
In this case, you need to add the directory containing your new fonts to the font path, as described previously.
Adding TrueType fonts is a little more difficult, because you need to have a font server that is capable of serving TrueType fonts. Two font servers that do this are xfstt and xfs.
xfstt is a TrueType font server. While it's easy to configure, and quite useful, it appear that xfs is becoming more popular. The main advantage of xfs over xfstt is that it supports both Type 1 and TrueType fonts.
To set up xfstt, just download it and install it. Once you install it, you need to do the following:
install fonts into the appropriate directory ( read the documentation that comes with the package ).
cd to that directory and run xfstt --sync. This causes it to look for the fonts and create the fonts.dir file.
Now add unix/:7100 to your font path.
/usr/X11R6/bin/xfstt --sync /usr/X11R6/bin/xfstt &
Some of the newer Linux distributions ship with the X font server xfs configured to run as a stand alone program. Notably, Redhat and all the redhat based distributions use this modularised xfs with TrueType compiled in. Debian also ship xfs, but the version they ship in stable ("potato") doesn't have built in true type support, though the one in testing ("woody") does.
Running xfs as a stand alone server has several benefits, especially if it is compiled with TrueType support. The main advantage is that since the font server is no longer attached to the X server, it is possible to serve fonts to remote displays. Also, it makes it much easier to modify the font path.
As a font server, xfs has it's own font path. One might wonder where this fits into the picture. It works like this: you can place the xfs font server in XFree86's font path, by adding unix/:port to the XFree86 font path. Once you do this, any font in the xfs font path automatically becomes available to XFree86.
The xfs font path is determined by the xfs configuration file, which is /etc/X11/fs/config on Redhat, and /etc/X11/xfs/config on Debian. Redhat users do not need to explicitly edit this file, they can use the chkfontpath utility. The syntax is simple:
chkfontpath --add directory
catalogue = /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/misc:unscaled, ... /usr/share/fonts/my_new_fonts/, ... /usr/share/fonts/some_other_directory # in 12 points, decipoints default-point-size = 120 ...
To prepare a font for xfs, you need to follow the following steps:
If you don't have xfs installed, you need to install it.
Put the new fonts in a directory.
If you are installing Type 1 fonts, prepare the new directory for the server by running type1inst in the directory.
If you are installing TrueType fonts, ( remember, not all distributions can do TrueType via xfs ! ), prepare the new directory for the server by running ttmkfdir -o fonts.scale mkfontdir in the directory containing your new fonts. If you created a new directory for the fonts you may need to copy fonts.scale to fonts.dir or create a symbolic link. ttmkfdir is part of the freetype package.
Now you can add the new directory to your xfs search path. Users of Redhat-like distributions can do this with the chkfontpath utility: Other users can do this by editing their xfs configuration file.
if xfs is already installed on your system, you should see which port it is running on. You can do this as follows:
ps ax|grep xfs
Then check your XFree86 font path. xset -q
If your font path includes something like unix:/port_number were port_number is the port which the server is running on, then you already have xfs set up properly. Otherwise, you should add it to your XFree86 font path. xset fp+ unix/:port_number xset fp rehash You can add it permanently by editing your .xinitrc as explained previously. To add it system wide, edit your XF86Config file ( probably either /etc/X11/XF86Config, /etc/XF86Config or /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/XF86Config ), by adding a line FontPath "unix:/port_number" in the Files section. Here's an example:
... Section "Files" ... FontPath "unix/:-1" ... EndSection ...
If xfs is already properly installed, then you can tell it to reload, as described above, or restart it like this:
After restarting xfs, it's a good idea to restart your X-session.
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