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Old 11-17-2007, 09:41 AM   #21
terrie
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Quote:
cristen: Sadly, Steve doesn't work for Apple, or the corporate world would be a better place. '-}
Indeed it would be!!! '-}}

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Old 11-23-2007, 08:15 PM   #22
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Being deeply involved in beta testing the forthcoming new VectorLinux version, I haven't had a lot of time to be here. I have four computers with Linux partitions on them and what with installing a new beta or release candidate on four systems about once a week, I've had a lot of looks at fonts on Linux.

Strictly speaking, I don't think there are any TrueType or Type 1 fonts that could be considered system fonts that would appear in all distributions. Since a graphical interface itself is optional in Linux, and the font system itself could be different, you can't count on any particular font being there.

There are a bunch of discrete sized bitmapped fonts that seem quite common but are not used much (or at all) for Web browsers. So we can ignore those.

Linux distros generally stick to open-source fonts or fonts released to the public domain or fonts specifically allowed by their owners to be installed without royalties on Linux. I also think that TrueType fonts are preferred, not because they're better than Type 1 fonts (which actually don't look as good onscreen as TrueType fonts), but because they're so common. Any TT or Type 1 font that can be installed under Windows can be installed under Linux (providing the font system used by the particular distro supports those types of fonts). For Type 1 fonts you need a PFB and an AFM file. I think most modern distros are now using a system called FreeType and fontconfig for getting fonts integrated into font-aware applications.

Fonts that are very common on Linux systems include the DejaVu family (roman, italic, bold, bold italic) in many variants (serif, sans, sans mono, condensed), the Bitstream Vera family, the Luxi family from Bigelow & Holmes, the Utopia family in Type III format, the Bitstream Courier 10-Pitch family, and some URW clones of the PostScript 35. The Microsoft Web Core Fonts were originally freely downloadable and the EULA did not restrict use of the fonts as long as they were distributed unaltered. Microsoft stopped having these fonts available for download quite some time ago but the original EULA was not changed. I don't think distros are including the Web Core Fonts or other Microsoft fonts now, but many people already have those fonts and they install them in Linux.

So if a Web designer is choosing fonts that Linux users are likely to have, I'd say you're probably safe with the DejaVu family and maybe with the Bitstream Vera family. DejaVu and Vera are similar. Users will probably have a Times Roman or similar font, a Helvetica or similar font, and a Courier or similar font. It's that "or similar" that is the fly in the ointment. I would not count on Linux users having Verdana or Georgia installed.

I'm not aware of any TrueType or Type 1 font that *must* be installed in Linux. The user can set a system font to be just about anything, and there are some applications that prefer to use one of those discrete-sized bitmapped fonts. There is also no desktop environment that is universal in Linux. KDE and Gnome are probably the most popular desktop environments, but there are several others.

Not much help, is it?<g>
--Judy M.

   
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Old 11-24-2007, 05:36 AM   #23
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Actually very useful. Thanks. I now know 98% more about Linux fonts than I did when I woke up this morning.

The “or similar” part should be covered by the generic font types, which ought to be in any CSS font spec: serif, sans-serif, mono, etc.

   
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Old 11-24-2007, 04:52 PM   #24
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I happened to notice today that Bitstream Charter is included in many distros--in Speedo format! Blast from the past?

It's only in the past few years that there has been anything approaching uniformity in how fonts are installed in Linux and made available to applications. It used to be that one application did it one way, another had its own way, some distros included support for TrueType, others didn't. Now with Freetype and fontconfig, it's much easier. Some directories have "magic" in them (made by running the mkfontscale and mkfontdir commands on them). They can be designated to be read at the startup of the graphical interface. If you add or remove fonts, you just run the fc-cache command and the fonts will show up as available.

This is a HUGE improvement over the way it used to be. It's now actually easy!
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