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4. Making Fonts Available To X

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:

Because different distributions ship with different configurations, it is not true that one size fits all. We can split users up into three groups:

4.1. The font path

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
Since you will want these commands to run automatically, you should put them in your .xinitrc file ( or possibly your .Xclients or .xsession file -- this depends on how you start X. It's convenient to make two of these files symlinks to the other to avoid confusion ). Another way to have the commands set automatically is edit XF86Config. For example, to add /usr/share/fonts/myfonts to the font path when X is started, edit XF86Config like this:
		Section "Files"
		FontPath /usr/share/fonts/myfonts
The advantage of editing XF86Config is that the resulting changes are system wide.

4.2. Installing Type 1 Fonts

4.2.2. If You Have the xfs Package

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.

4.3. True Type Fonts

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.

4.4. xfs

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.

4.4.1. The xfs 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
Users of other distributions can edit the configuration file as follows:
	catalogue = /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/misc:unscaled,
	# in 12 points, decipoints
	default-point-size = 120
The above would add /usr/share/fonts/my_new_fonts/ to the xfs font path. Note that the last line of the list of directories doesn't have a comma at the end. For these modifications to the font path to become effective, xfs must be told to reload by running /etc/init.d/xfs reload or sending it a SIGHUP with "kill -HUP [pid]" or "killall -HUP xfs". Alternately you can just re-start xfs, though if you do that it would be a good idea to re-start your X session too.

4.4.2. Installing a Font Into xfs

To prepare a font for xfs, you need to follow the following steps:

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