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1. Introduction

An often heard complaint is the poor default fonts and font settings of X as implemented by many Linux distributions. Some programs use fixed width default fonts when a variable width font would be more appropriate. Other programs use fonts that are so small as to be practically unreadable. Many of the fonts that are bundled with XFree86 are not of the same quality as found on some other platforms. XFree86 does come with a halfway decent courier font, but its Times and Helvetica fonts are simple bitmap fonts that pixelize when scaled. This is changing for the better recently, but a default Linux desktop still often needs some tweaking to get the best fonts possible.

This HOWTO attempts to show how to adjust various font settings, install new fonts, and a few other things that should 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, and by making sure TrueType fonts are installed and available. TrueType does indeed make a huge difference in many applications.

Comments, corrections, additions and critiques are always welcome. You can reach the author at . Contributions are also welcomed. Especially anyone who really stays current with KDE and/or GNOME issues! (So I guess nobody uses these since the silence is deafening?)

1.1. Conventions Used in this Document

1.2. Change Log and What's New

1.3. New Versions

The pre-release versions of this document can be found at

1.4. Copyright

Copyright ╘ 1999 by Doug Holland, 2002 Hal Burgiss.

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 information.

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

  Original author: Doug Holland.

 Updated and maintained by Hal Burgiss.

Special thanks go to:

1.6. Translations

Chinese: by Yu-Chia Chang.

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