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Old 07-23-2008, 07:18 PM   #1
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Damn Small Linux Fonts

I have installed DSL 4.2.5 but the Fonts are too small to read.How do I increase the font size or increase the resolution please.
Old 07-25-2008, 07:53 AM   #2
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Sorry but what is DSL?
Old 07-25-2008, 11:28 AM   #3
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DSL is 'Damn Small Linux' (as also written out in the title of the initial posting).

Changing default font size and screen resolution depends on the window manager that is used. It's been a while since I toyed with DSL, if I remember correctly it used XFCE, though I'm not quite sure. Even so, Googling for documentation on your window manager in charge you will certainly find some info about this.

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Last edited by FranDango; 09-20-2008 at 07:18 AM.
Old 07-25-2008, 10:35 PM   #4
Registered: Jun 2008
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The default window manager in DSL is JWM (Joe's Window Manager). DSL also comes with Fluxbox installed, but I don't know nuthin' 'bout no Fluxbox.

Here's the link to the online guide for configuring JWM: There's probably also a decent walk-through on the DSL wiki.

(I, on the other hand, kinda just stumbled upon the solution one day when I was exploring my /home/dsl/ directory one day. As a wise man once said, I'd rather be lucky than talented!)

JWM uses a series of text config files that you can edit. They are kept in /home/dsl/.

(Make sure you're saving your /home/dsl/ directory on a USB key or your hard drive or sumthin', or else all this work will be lost when you reboot - and then you will cry.)

The config files all start with .jwmrc. The one you'll use for changing font sizes is .jwmrc-theme.

I'm sure there are other ways to do this stuff. The following is just how I do it...

(If I end up insulting your intelligence with my habit of writing out so many of the steps in excrutiating detail because I never know how much you already know and I always hate it when I'm looking for a good walkthrough and the author leaves out key steps because he/she assumes that I as a Linux user really ought to already know way more than I acually do <BREATHE!!!> . . . forgiveness please!)
  • Open Emelfm file manager.
  • First, you need to know which fonts are available to the X engine. You can do this in the bash shell, but I do it in Emelfm. (Thanks again to stress_junkie for showing me how to do this)
    • In the command field at the bottom you'll want to type:
  • Now you'll want to edit the .jwmrc-theme file:
    • Click the H button in the top-left corner of the left-hand window to reveal the hidden files.
    • Scroll down until you get to the .jwmrc-theme file.
    • First, you should really back the file up before you start editing. I made a copy of it called .jwmrc-theme_backup and left it in the same directory.

      (I had to learn the hard way to always back up config files before I start playing with them. That was a frustrating day...)
    • Change the font used for any of the different elements by replacing the font name (the default should be smoothansi, if my memory is correct) with the name of the font you want to replace it with. Most of the fonts have their point size specified in the font name. Go to the font page at the JWM site for an explanation on how to read the font names.
    • Save the file. You probably shouldn't close Beaver yet, because you might want to make more edits after you see how things look.
  • Now you'll want to see the effect your edits make:
    • Refresh the window manager. I think the menu option is in the DSL menu under Exit by default. (I moved it on my computer.)
    • If you did everything right, the elements you edited should look just the way you want them to. If not, go back into Beaver and try again. Play around with different fonts until you get a scheme you like.
    • You should probably make a backup of your freshly-minted theme to go along with your backup of the default theme.
  • Note: A few more fonts are available as easy installs via the myDSL extension system. Read the extension's info for installation instructions.
  • I have yet to teach myself how to install fonts from scratch. The official DSL forums or Google should help you out in that regard.

Anyhoo, that's how I did it.

Another way - probably the officially-recommended way, now that I think about it a little - probably a much smarter way now that I REALLY think about it a little bit more - is to:
  • Go to the /opt/jwmThemes/ directory, where you'll find a file called default.thm.
  • If you open it up you'll find it's identical to the default .jwmrc-theme file.
  • Make a copy of this file with your funky new name and edit it instead of playing around with the actual config file.
  • When you're ready to see how it looks, you can either drag-n-drop your new .thm file on the setTheme.lua program that is located in the same directory, or you can double-click on your new .thm.
  • You'll have to add opt/jwmThemes to your /opt/.filetool.lst file to make sure the themes you save here are backed up.
  • There's a readme.txt file in this directory that also shows you how to download and install pre-made themes.

So, was all that clear as mud, or simply the worst-written How-To ever written in the history of online community advice?

You may be thinking to yourself at this point, "surely there's an easier way to simply change font sizes on the desktop!"

As far as I know, DSL has no easier built-in way to change fonts or font sizes and, while there are GUI font managers out there that would probably work just fine in DSL, I haven't found any in the myDSL browser.

As such, I hereby assign you with the task (nay, the QUEST!) of bashing together a nifty script to automate the whole process, and post it back here when you're done so the rest of us can use it. K?

Old 07-25-2008, 11:56 PM   #5
Registered: Jun 2008
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Showing just how much of a noob I really am, while looking up ways to tweak xeyes to make the app even funnier, I JUST stumbled across a better way to list your installed xfonts. Instead of xlsfonts, you'd probably prefer xfontsel. It lets you explore your xfonts via a whole bunch of different filters, such as available sizes for example, and gives you a preview of the fonts. Then you can select and paste the full font name into your config file.
Old 07-29-2008, 02:56 PM   #6
Registered: Jun 2008
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Just ONE more thing...

If you just want to change the font for your desktop icons, right-click on any of the icons on your desktop to bring up the menu. Select DFM for X11 and then Desktop Options. This will bring up a control panel for playing around with the configuration of DFM (Desktop File Manager), the little app that allows for desktop icons and "traditional" folder windows (something that JWM doesn't support by default, apparently).

In the DFM control panel, there's a place for you to write in what font you want for your desktop icons. Use the same Xfont naming format described above.
Old 07-29-2008, 03:02 PM   #7
Registered: Jun 2008
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And another I JUST discovered...

If you want to create an icon that you can double-click to bring up the X Font Selector, it's DFM makes it really easy.

Right-click on any of the icons on your desktop. Select Create and then New program icon. In the dialog box that pops up, type xfontsel, then click create.

This will put a new shortcut on your desktop for the X Font Selector. You can right-click and select options to change the icon and rename the shortcut. Using the JWM config files you could put a shortcut in the "start menu", as well.


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