7.4. Fonts

Red Hat Enterprise Linux uses two methods to manage and display fonts under X. The newer Fontconfig font subsystem simplifies font management and provides advanced display features, such as anti-aliasing. This system is used automatically for applications programmed using the Qt 3 or GTK+ 2 graphical toolkit.
For compatibility, Red Hat Enterprise Linux includes the original font subsystem, called the core X font subsystem. This system, which is over 15 years old, is based around the X Font Server (xfs).
This section discusses how to configure fonts for X using both systems.

7.4.1. Fontconfig

The Fontconfig font subsystem allows applications to directly access fonts on the system and use Xft or other rendering mechanisms to render Fontconfig fonts with advanced anti-aliasing. Graphical applications can use the Xft library with Fontconfig to draw text to the screen.
Over time, the Fontconfig/Xft font subsystem replaces the core X font subsystem.


The Fontconfig font subsystem does not yet work for OpenOffice.org, which uses its own font rendering technology.
It is important to note that Fontconfig uses the /etc/fonts/fonts.conf configuration file, and should not be edited by hand.


Due to the transition to the new font system, GTK+ 1.2 applications are not affected by any changes made via the Font Preferences dialog (accessed by selecting Main Menu Button [on the Panel] => Preferences => Font). For these applications, a font can be configured by adding the following lines to the file ~/.gtkrc.mine:
style "user-font" {

fontset = "<font-specification>"


widget_class "*" style "user-font"
Replace <font-specification> with a font specification in the style used by traditional X applications, such as -adobe-helvetica-medium-r-normal--*-120-*-*-*-*-*-*. A full list of core fonts can be obtained by running xlsfonts or created interactively using the xfontsel command. Adding Fonts to Fontconfig

Adding new fonts to the Fontconfig subsystem is a straightforward process.
  1. To add fonts system-wide, copy the new fonts into the /usr/share/fonts/ directory. It is a good idea to create a new subdirectory, such as local/ or similar, to help distinguish between user and default installed fonts.
    To add fonts for an individual user, copy the new fonts into the .fonts/ directory in the user's home directory.
  2. Use the fc-cache command to update the font information cache, as in the following example:
     fc-cache <path-to-font-directory>
    In this command, replace <path-to-font-directory> with the directory containing the new fonts (either /usr/share/fonts/local/ or /home/<user>/.fonts/).


Individual users may also install fonts graphically, by typing fonts:/// into the Nautilus address bar, and dragging the new font files there.


If the font file name ends with a .gz extension, it is compressed and cannot be used until uncompressed. To do this, use the gunzip command or double-click the file and drag the font to a directory in Nautilus.