[Scribus] Font management programs

Craig Ringer craig
Tue Dec 5 17:44:44 CET 2006

wtb41 wrote:
> Robin Williams's book "How to Boss Your Fonts Around" names & describes 4
> programs for
> managing fonts on the Macintosh. They are: (1) Adobe Type Manager Deluxe,
> (2) Suitcase, (3) MasterJuggler, and (4) Font Reserve. Does any such font
> management program exist for 
> Linux users?

Not that I am aware of. The closest is the KFontInstaller utility.

Such programs are largely unnecessary on Linux. They were needed on Mac
OS because the OS its self loaded the fonts, not the applications, and
it couldn't have many loaded at one time without running into problems.
This meant that users had to worry about managing font sets and all
sorts of guff.

On Linux, you can have essentially as many fonts as you need available -
though system memory will limit how many you can have _loaded_ and in
use by apps at any one time. It is _not_ possible to globally unload a
font, so "temporary font" mechanisms and such do not make sense on
Linux. Due to the low resource use for fonts and their per-application
nature they're also largely unnecessary. At worst you'll need to quit
and reload an app if it has too many fonts loaded - and apps should be
able to unload unused fonts (though Scribus can not presently do this).

There's no need for some magic font server like the Suitcase Server
either, since a read-only NFS directory and a path entry in the user's
.fonts or /etc/fonts/fonts.conf is quite sufficient to enable centrally
stored fonts. Loading fonts from network volumes is not dangerous on
Linux like it is on Mac OS 9, so there's just no need to worry.

The only use I can really think of is providing per-document or
per-application sets of available fonts to simplify selecting fonts for
jobs or provide a sort of palette. I think that's more the application's
job really - and people who used font managers this way did tend to make
per-application font sets.

Basically, on Linux most of the problems those utilities were written to
solve do not exist.

> If so, what is it and how does one go about getting it?

I wouldn't bother, myself.

If after reading the above you still want one, I'd be very interested to
know why - what you think it'll gain you, what you need to be able to
do, etc.

Craig Ringer

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