Font Installation on Unix and Other Systems

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Font Installation on Unix and Other Systems

Windows and Macintosh systems have one central directory where all applications access their fonts. Unfortunately, in Linux and Unix, each application implements fonts differently: the X Window system has its way, word processors want it a different way, printing systems want it another way, and so on.

Several font installation examples are documented below with links provided by IDAutomation’s clients. If they are not helpful, contact the operating system or application vendor for installation procedures.

IDAutomation’s TrueType and PostScript fonts are created to the standards set for TrueType and PostScript fonts, and can be treated as any other font for the purpose of getting the vendor’s assistance. IDAutomation can only support the font tools, the symbology and the fonts themselves as stated in the statement of support – IDAutomation is unable to assist with the installation of the fonts on Unix or Linux systems. Assistance for installing fonts on a Unix platform can be obtained from the consulting company mentioned in the tutorial about installing fonts in Unix for Oracle Reports or consider IDAutomation’s Java Barcode Packages, which work on any operating system with a Java Virtual Machine.

TrueType font installation – Linux and Unix:

Sun Solaris Xsun supports TrueType fonts. Use the Font Administrator GUI, /usr/dt/bin/sdtfontadm, to add them to the server’s list of fonts.

Currently, Linux does not provide native support for TrueType fonts, but it is possible to install and use TrueType fonts with xfstt, a free TrueType font server. More information on xfstt is available at the following links:

TrueType font installation – Linux Example

Font Installation:

Enter the following commands in sequence from a terminal window (Assuming the ttf file has been downloaded to “/usr/local/fonts/ttf” directory)

cd /usr/local/fonts/ttf
ttmkfdir > fonts.scale

This will create two files, “fonts.scale” and “fonts.dir”, containing a list with full font names for each true type font. Finally, add this directory to XWindow’s font search path. Redhat users can make use of “chkfontpath” tool to add search path.

chkfontpath -a /usr/local/fonts/ttf

If the “chkfontpath” utility is not available, then manually edit the “/etc/X11/xfs/config” file (or “/etc/X11/fs/config”). Find the line “catalog = “.  Add the directory to the end of list, separated by commas.

Sometimes, the font server needs to be restarted for the changes to take place.

This information was from one of IDAutomation’s previous customers.

Other helpful Linux font installation links:

PostScript font installation – Unix, Linux & other OS’s

With most PostScript installations, PostScript interpretation is done in the printer. All that is needed is to get the proper PostScript commands onto the stack in the printer. For instance: When a PostScript program has been created to print a document, prepend the .pfa font to the file, then when the PostScript program is ready for use, add the following line in the program: /FontName findfont 12 scalefont setfont. This will load the font named “FontName” from the font dictionary, set it to a scale of 12 and set it to the active font; this will work with any OS. If the flat text document were sent to LPT1 on a windows machine by typing or copying, not by the printer driver, the same thing would be achieved. For additional information, refer to the installation of PostScript fonts on Unix using X11 example.

Other helpful Unix font installation links:

Font Installation on Sun Solaris for Oracle Reports:

The ASCII version of IDAutomation fonts does not always work with X-Server on Sun Solaris with Oracle Reports. This is what one customer did to get the fonts working.

Please note that the following steps were used to install the sample version of the IDAutomation Interleaved 2 of 5 fonts, sADVI25f, on a Solaris machine. In order to get the ASCII version font to work properly in another environment, please substitute the font name to be loaded for IDAutomationC128M.

Customer’s Solution: 

“I told you that the binary version *.pfb worked on my X-Server but I need this font for Oracle Reports. Oracle Reports can only handle the ASCII version, so the problem was not solved with the binary version. But I found a solution”:

(0) Make the ASCII-file work:
I found a website that explains how to generate ASCII out from a binary font file. For Sun Solaris this is the groff-package, which you can download from After you have downloaded this package copy this file to /usr/local/. Then do the following:
1. gzip -d groff-1.17.2-sol8-sparc-local.gz
2. pkgadd -d groff-1.17.2-sol8-sparc-local
This two steps install the needed files. With these files comes an executable called pfbtops which lies in /usr/local/bin after the successful installation. To make an ASCII version of the pfb file do the following:
pfbtops IDAutomationC128M.pfb > IDAutomationC128M.pfa
The result is a ASCII version of the font which I can use with my X-Server. This file looks completely different in a text editor than the original but it works, and the version in the header is now 1.0.
(1) Installation on Sun Solaris:
1. cp IDAutomationC128M.pfa /usr/openwin/lib/X11/fonts/Type1/outline/
2. cp IDAutomationC128M.afm /usr/openwin/lib/X11/fonts/Type1/afm/IDAutomationC128M.afm
//The following two steps are only needed when you have transferred it
from a Windows Client
3. dos2Unix /usr/openwin/lib/X11/fonts/Type1/outline/IDAutomationC128M.pfa
4. dos2Unix /usr/openwin/lib/X11/fonts/Type1/afm/IDAutomationC128M.afm
5. cd /usr/openwin/lib/X11/fonts/Type1
6. ln -s ./outline/IDAutomationC128M.pfa IDAutomationC128M.pfa
7. Modify fonts.dir and fonts.scale and add the following line:
IDAutomationC128M.pfa -adobe-IDAutomationC128M-medium-r-normal--0-0-0-0-p-0-iso8859-1
8. Modify fonts-alias and add the following line:
IDAutomationC128M.pfa "-adobe-IDAutomationC128M-medium-r-normal--0-0-0-0-p-0-iso8859-1"
(2) How to test the correct font installation on Solaris:
1. set the Display-Variable to the correct X-Server
2. "xset q". This command shows you the fontpath of your current X-Server. This is an executable which you can find under
/usr/openwin/bin. This command produces an output similar to the following:
# xset q
Keyboard Control:
auto repeat: on key click percent: 0 LED mask: 00000000
auto repeating keys: 0000000000000000
bell percent: 50 bell pitch: 400 bell duration: 100
Pointer Control:
acceleration: 2/1 threshold: 4
Screen Saver:
prefer blanking: yes allow exposures: yes
timeout: 600 cycle: 600
default colormap: 0x21 BlackPixel: 0 WhitePixel: 255
Font Path (as one single line):
Bug Mode: compatibility mode is disabled
DPMS (Energy Star):
Server does not have the DPMS Extension
FBPM (Frame Buffer Power Management):
Server does not have the FBPM Extension
3. "xlsfonts -l | grep <fontname>". This command shows if the X-Server can talk to the font. This command can produce the following output after the installation of IDAutomationC128M:
# xlsfonts -l | grep 25f
--> 32 255 some 0 22 94 0
--> 32 255 some 0 22 94 0 IDAutomationC128M
4. "xfd -fn -adobe-IDAutomationC128M-medium-r-normal--0-0-0-0-p-0-iso8859-1". This command spans a window on your X-Server-Desktop which contains all the characters from the corresponding font. If there is something wrong with the specified font then this command will produce an output similar to:
"xfd: no font to display". When all is correct a window will appear with all the characters."

This is all of the information IDAutomation has concerning the font installation on Sun Solaris.