[scribus] Why Can't Scribus See My Fonts?

Mike Sleger chappa-ai at q.com
Sat Jun 11 13:47:55 UTC 2011

Hey, thanks.  I think it's more a matter of intuitiveness than an issue of non-programmers, although I have found in my profession (CAD engineer/programmer - design layout automation - at Micron Technology) that non-programmers often have a different perspective about how things "should" work (sometimes requesting the impossible - which when I get to become "miracle worker" at work).  But although I'm a very good programmer (if I do say so myself), I don't have any exposure to Windows or Mac programming.  I mostly work with Cadence Design Framework II Skill and MS VBA for Excel, with a little bit of Perl and Visual Basic (raw code, not the graphical interface).

So, how could the fonts issue be improved?  In Windows, a font is installed if it's in the /system/fonts/ folder.  However, you can still install fonts "in place", in that, they're installed on the system but NOT copied to the fonts folder.  In this second case, Scribus does not recognize the fonts until a path to them is added under preferences, despite the fact that they're "active" on the system.  The downside to this is ALL fonts in that path are then suddenly "active" to Scribus, whether they're installed fonts or not.  (Bad approach.)  On Windows I always kept my active fonts to a minimum to improve system performance (something rather important, particularly on Windows systems due to all the extra plumbing in the operating system).  However, whenever a "new" font (one I already have but not yet installed) is desired for a Scribus document, rather than increase my installed fonts list, I instead chose to exploit the Scribus architecture:  I created a Scribus Fonts folder and pointed to that in preferences.  This results in a smaller fonts list in the application, and also keeps the "officially installed" fonts to a minimum.

Now on the Mac things are a bit different (one of the reasons I switched!).  Although I'd used a font manager on windows (Font Expert - it's great!), it was 100% compatible with the "Windows Way" of installing fonts (but not the "Scribus Way" of recognizing installed fonts).  After a couple weeks of online research, the manager I chose for Mac is Suitcase Fusion 3.  It's a nice program (with room for some feature improvements which have already been reported - and accepted - to the developers) and uses a "font vault" methodology for managing fonts.  I don't know the internal architecture of OS X and how fonts are "installed" versus "not installed", but MS Office, iWork, iLife, etc. all behave "properly" with regards to which fonts are active/installed via SF3.  Scribus on the other hand still doesn't "see" the activated fonts unless a path to the vault (the only place fonts are physically located in SF3) is added to preferences.  This then has thousands of fonts available to Scribus (way too many), causing slow startup, long menu lists, and probably a crash somewhere down the road.  Using this approach, I created a test document using "uninstalled" fonts and exported to PDF (embedding the fonts), and the PDF displays perfectly.  This means I can thus use "uninstalled" fonts in Scribus.  (Bad idea.)  The alternative would be to use my Windows approach of setting up a dedicated Scribus Fonts folder and store copies of the desired vault fonts in this location.

Since the same fonts issue exists on both Windows and Mac (installed fonts not in a standard system fonts folder aren't seen by Scribus), I'd expect the problem exists on Linux also and suggests a bug or design methodology judgement error by the Scribus development team.  Scribus shouldn't be looking for a font file to assess whether it's "installed" or not.  Instead, it should be using the same method that other applications use:  refer (somehow) to the system's INSTALLED fonts.  I would assume most users (especially those in commercial printing) have many more fonts on their systems than what are actually installed on their systems, because you just never know when you're going to need to use "that" font....


On Jun 11, 2011, at 12:20 AM, a.l.e wrote:

> hi mike
>> Well, adding the vault path to Scribus additional font paths makes
>> ALL fonts in the vault (thousands of them) show up in the Scribus
>> fonts menu, whether they're installed or not.  This is a bit overkill
>> to have fonts managed by an independent manager available to
>> Scribus.  I think there's a problem in the methodology of how Scribus
>> detects installed fonts.
> this where non programmers can really give a hand in the scribus development!
> test it throughly, tells us about what you have found and how it could be improved...
> or find out the way it is done correctly and write a blog article / a wiki page or simply an email post about how to do it right :-)
> (personally, i don't work with mac and many fonts, so i can't really help here...)
> ciao
> a.l.e
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