This document is very very very out of date, and is at this point of only historical interest. For actually useful information about fonts in Debian, have a look here.
A very short guide to setting up fonts for X in Debian. It assumes
XFree86 4.1 or more recent, and explains how to setup
Add a line like this to /etc/X11/XF86Config-4, in the “Files” section:
Adding it at the top of the list is probably a good idea. This line will setup XFree86 to use any TrueType fonts you install from Debian packages. If you install a new set of TrueType fonts while in X, run
xset fp rehashto get XFree86 to look at the contents of that directory again and to pickup new ones.
Move this line to the bottom of the list of FontPaths:
XFree86 does a rather poor job of rendering Type1 fonts these days, and if this is above your better looking fonts, you can get a some pretty ugly results.
Add :unscaled to the end of the 100dpi and 75dpi font lines, so they look like this:
FontPath "/usr/lib/X11/fonts/100dpi:unscaled" FontPath "/usr/lib/X11/fonts/75dpi:unscaled"
Without the “
:unscaled” bit, XFree86 will try to scale these bitmap fonts up and down, which usually looks rather horrible.
And, after all that, my Files section looks like this:
Section "Files" FontPath "/var/lib/defoma/x-ttcidfont-conf.d/dirs/TrueType" FontPath "/usr/share/fonts/truetype" FontPath "/usr/lib/X11/fonts/CID" FontPath "/usr/lib/X11/fonts/Speedo" FontPath "/usr/lib/X11/fonts/misc" FontPath "/usr/lib/X11/fonts/cyrillic" FontPath "/usr/lib/X11/fonts/100dpi:unscaled" FontPath "/usr/lib/X11/fonts/75dpi:unscaled" FontPath "/usr/lib/X11/fonts/Type1" EndSection
Now that it’s all setup, install some font packages.
ttf-bitstream-vera is a rather nice set of fonts, and is [Free]
(http://www.debian.org/intro/free) enough to go into Debian itself.
It’s not in woody yet, but you can download the .deb from
(or your local mirror) and install it with:
dpkg -i ttf-bitstream-vera_1.10-3_all.deb
(as root). sid and sarge users are just an
ttf-bitstream-vera away from it. Another option is
which is in all three current versions of Debian.
For Japanese and other non-roman languages, you might want to try
Another alternative is to install Microsoft’s Corefonts. They removed
the fonts from their website, but the
msttcorefonts package will
download them for you from a mirror. Note that these are NOT Free (in
the Debian sense), but you’re permitted to at least use and download
Both of these packages (and the other
ttf-* packages in Debian)
should now Just Work, and appear available to all X programs that use
the regular “core” font system. This includes things like xterm,
emacs and most other non-KDE and non-GNOME applications.
xfontsel and select either “Microsoft” or “Bitstream” in
the fndry menu (click on the word “fndry”). Now look at the ungrayed
out entries in the “fmly” menu. You should have a bunch of either
Microsoft fonts (Verdana, Trebuchet, etc) or some Bitstream ones (or
For KDE2.2 and GNOME1.4 (with libgdkxft0, which is a hack to get GTK
1.2 to do anti-aliased font rendering), you need to setup Xft1, as
well. Xft1 is highly deprecated, and is basically only used by
GNOME1.4 and KDE2.2. For GNOME2 and KDE3, you need to setup
fontconfig which Xft2 uses to find fonts. I’ll get to that in a
/etc/X11/XftConfig and add a line like:
before the other dir lines. I don’t have any xft1 stuff on my machine
anymore, so I’m not sure if you need to restart X or not before this
change will take effect. I seem to remember that
update the Xft1 cache, but it’d be good if someone could confirm that
fontconfig, which does not exist in woody. You shouldn’t
need to install anything extra for this, since all the packages using
Depend on it (indirectly) already. First, look in
/etc/fonts/fonts.conf. There should be a line like the one below. If
not, open up
/etc/fonts/local.conf and add this:
just after the
Fontconfig should pick these up immediately, and
list your new fonts. Another neat feature of
fontconfig is that you
can just drop fonts in
~/.fonts/ and all your
will have access to them immediately.