Emacs, Fedora and ttfs

It all started with finding a good font for programming in emacs. I don’t know why, but the default things that come with the Linux distributions are so uncool that they are reason enough not to use open source. I have been spending some time on this, even posted on the fedora forums but then nobody could help me. Well, the only help I got was from the debian dude.

According to my “extensive research”, most people prefer the terminus font. Since I spent considerable amount of time on this, I thought it might be a good idea to document it. And the fact that I am sitting here alone in the lab on a fine christmas morning is reason enough for justifying this act of total boredom.

The Terminus font (http://www.is-vn.bg/hamster/terminus-font-4.14.tar.gz), created by Dimitar Zhekov, is the best monospaced bitmap font ever. I goofed up by trying to install the font from Dimitar’s website and thats when I decided to search for a ttf version of the font.

A bit of googling gave me the ttf version of the font. You can download the terminus fonts here. Make sure you download the ttf version and not the tar.gz file. The following commands work only for ttf fonts.

In Fedora, the fonts used by all users are in /usr/share/fonts folder. Since the font we have downloaded is a ttf or truetype font, lets make a folder called truetype in the fonts directory.

# mkdir /usr/share/fonts/truetype

Now lets move the ttf file that you have downloaded into this directory. Or you can directly download the ttf files into this directory.

# cd /usr/share/fonts/truetype
# wget http://fractal.csie.org/~eric/Terminus.ttf
# wget wget http://fractal.csie.org/~eric/TerminusBold.ttf

Ok, so we have all the fonts in the folder. The next step is to create an index of all the scalable fonts that we have downloaded so that the font server can use them.

# mkfontscale && mkfontdir

This will create 2 files fonts.scale and fonts.dir. Now update the font cache.

# fc-cache -fv

The new directory /usr/share/fonts/truetype has to be added to the X11 font path.

# chkfontpath –add /usr/share/fonts/truetype

Some applications will not recognize the newly installed fonts until the X server is restarted. So restart the X font server.

# /etc/rc.d/init.d/xfs restart

Running chkfontpath command without any arguments should now list /usr/share/fonts/truetype also.

To use this font in emacs, you can run xfontsel and select it from there. Type xfontsel in the command line

# xfontsel

Click on fmly. If you have installed it properly, terminus should be listed there.
Click on wght and select medium. Select other options as you might want it. Click on the select button to copy the font specification into your clipboard. The following specification looks good: -*-terminus-medium-r-*-*-18-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

And if you are wondering how it looks like, here is a screenshot:
Emacs using Terminus font

Interesting Links
1. The Terminus Font
2. Installing ttf fonts on Redhat based systems
3. What are TrueType fonts



  1. sajith said

    Shiv, try proggy fonts sometimes.

  2. stuntmanshiv said

    Yes sir. Proggy clean looks good.

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