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Chapter 6. Fonts

By default installing support for an internationalized language in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 also installs the required fonts for the selected language. Table 2.1, “Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 International Languages” summarizes a list of the fonts installed for supported languages. This chapter also explains how to install additional fonts.


A common sign that proper fonts for a particular language are not installed is characters appear as boxes with numbers. This is the unicode box which indicates that the fonts required to display the text are missing. The figure below illustrates an example.
Fonts Missing

Figure 6.1. Fonts Missing

Please ensure that you have the correct language support packages installed for your language to display content correctly.
Red Hat Enterprise Linux uses two subsystems to manage and display fonts on the Desktop: Fontconfig and the core X Fonts system. The newer Fontconfig font subsystem simplifies font management and provides advanced display features, such as anti-aliasing. This system is used automatically for modern applications developed using the (Qt 3) or (GTK+ 2) graphical toolkits. For backward compatibility with older legacy X applications, Red Hat Enterprise Linux includes the original font subsystem, called the Core X Font subsystem. This system is provided through the X Font Server (xfs). The xfs service manages the look and scalability of older fonts within some X applications. Legacy fonts will be discussed later in this chapter.
By default, the xfs service is configured to run by default in runlevels 2, 3, 4 and 5 and can be managed using initscript utilities such as chkconfig and the Services Configuration Tool (system-config-services). The X Window System requires the xfs service in order to run.

6.1. Adding new fonts for a user

To add fonts for an individual user, copy the new fonts into the ~/.fonts/ directory in the user's home directory. Use the fc-cache command to update the font information cache, as in the following example:
fc-cache ~/.fonts/
More options on using the fc-cache can be obtained from the fc-cache man page:
man fc-cache
Another easier method to add fonts is as follows:
  • Double-click on the "Computer" icon on your desktop.
  • In the "File" menu, choose "Open Location..."
  • Type in: fonts://
  • When the fonts window appears, drag and drop the fonts to be installed into this window.
The new fonts you install should be usable by most GNOME applications. Some applications may have to be restarted to use the newly added fonts.