[Scribus] Linux's font system

avox avox
Tue Dec 5 00:26:15 CET 2006

wtb41 wrote:
> Craig Ringer wrote:
>>I don't think that's really true except on Mac OS 9 with a font manager 
>>like Suitcase or ATM installed. Most other OSes don't really draw the 
>>distinction to the same extent. 
> My reply: The System fonts v. Personal font division exists on my Linux
> system. For example,
> when I enter fonts:/ into Konqueror's location bar, I immediately am
> presented with a menu 
> with 2 options: (1) fonts:/Personal/  and (2) fonts:/System/. Furthermore,
> the font installer that
> is part of the KDE package also has that dichotomy. One needs SU status to
> install system fonts.

And neither Linux nor OSX load all system fonts into memory on startup --
that's just too expensive.

The fonts are usually in the folder of the applications they are packaged
with, eg. X11, Ghostscript, Acrobat Reader (although the last one doesn't
export those). Then there are usually directories for fonts which come with
the OS or distro, locally installed fonts, user installed fonts and maybe
network installed fonts.

Both Linux and OSX use fontconfig to build a database of the available fonts
(these are the font-cache files you find in the font directories). Scribus
uses fontconfig to get a listing of available fonts, but also looks into
manually configured directories and at fonts which are in the same directory
as a Scribus document you load. Once Scribus knows where on disk a font is
stored, it opens the fontfile and stores some information in its own cache

Installation of fonts usually means to make the font known to fontconfig.
Currently you have to tell ghostscript about the font separately; that will
hopefully change once ghostscript uses fontconfig.
Anyway, Scribus will tell ghostscript automatically about the fonts it uses.
TeX has its own font installation problems, I wont get into that here...
So in short: if you install a font using fontconfig, Scribus will know about
it, but Scribus can also use
fonts which are unknown to other apps. 
OTOH, if Scribus is running on a different machine than the X11 server,
there might be fonts available in X11 which are unknown to Scribus.

Quite complicated, but once Ghostscript and TeX also use fontconfig, life
should be easier.


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