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Old 03-20-2006, 07:03 AM   #1
Registered: Jan 2005
Location: Dallas, TX
Distribution: Slackware-current
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Not sure if this is a font question or browser question...

I think that slackware is well known for not being the most polished of distributions. For most of us, that isn't too much of a hangup. I like everything else about slackware, and I will get this worked through as well.

I am not sure if this has to do with my browser or with my fonts, but I cannot look at a lot of characters; the bottom of wikipedia where it has all of the foreign languages is a big one. This is where I will present my first question: is this a font problem or a browser problem? I did install the internationalization packages for KDE; I have also looked at the same page with multiple browsers [firefox, mozilla, and konqueror]. I get similar results, so I am leaning more towards this being a font problem.

I have not had this problem with IE and I also don't ever remember this being a problem with other distros [Red Hat 8,9]. What can I do to get this fixed? I saw an article once off of here about copying all of my windows fonts over to slackware. Has anyone else done this, and would doing this fix it?
Old 03-20-2006, 07:23 AM   #2
Registered: Sep 2004
Location: UK, Europe
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This is a font problem - the default Bitstream Vera fonts lack many of the international characters.

If you want to keep the Bitstream Vera fonts, use the Deja Vu fonts which are a modified version of the Bitstream Vera fonts with a larger character set.

Alternatively, you can import the Windows fonts (but I find they don't look that good on a default Slackware setup).
Old 03-20-2006, 11:19 AM   #3
Registered: Jan 2005
Location: Dallas, TX
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I tried the Deja Vu fonts, and they work a little bit better; they still don't cover everything. What are some other fonts with a very wide character set?

Who has tried the Windows fonts?
Old 03-20-2006, 12:02 PM   #4
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Since I have 3 windows boxes on my network, I found that copying them over is a brezze, and I personally like them. But, then agian, mine's not a "stock" setup.
Old 03-21-2006, 03:21 AM   #5
Registered: Jan 2005
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Where are the fonts in the Windows files kept?
Old 03-22-2006, 12:50 AM   #6
Registered: Sep 2004
Distribution: Slackware 10.2 (2.4.31)
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In your control panel if its 2000 and probably XP.
There should be a fonts folder.

I never did figure out the commandline way to get fonts installed on my linux machine. I did things with fc-cache, but my programs never saw the fonts.

I ended up using the Font Installer in the KDE control panel to get em added so all the programs could see them.
Old 03-22-2006, 07:48 AM   #7
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I dual boot and have a 1GB FAT partition for such things. I copied the fonts folder from the c:/windows/fonts folder and then ran a copy *.ttf to move all of the truetype fonts into my /usr/share/fonts folder. The fonts look pretty good, too, and on a test run it seemed that all of my character problems might be solved.

This is just to get an idea of what others are doing. Does anyone have a winning combination of windows fonts they use to make KDE really shine? As soon as I have some more time to mess with it, I will post my solution.

Thanks for all of the help.
Old 03-22-2006, 08:12 AM   #8
Registered: Apr 2005
Location: UK
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I don't know how it works in other browsers but I use Opera on Linux and the best way to get international characters is to hunt down the Arial Unicode TTF font and put that somewhere and Opera seems to fallback to that whenever it's missing a character.

This has meant that just about every language I find on the Internet has perfect text as most international users tend to stick to a single font like Arial Unicode anyway (as it's usually the only one that can render almost every language).

Seeing as I work with Windows but live with Linux, this is the perfect, cross-platform way of getting me consistent international text in a browser.

Arial Unicode is distributed with Microsoft Office 2000 or above or you can buy it from the licensee (google it) but it's not cheap otherwise. I run Office 2000 on my Linux machine so I've already got it.

Additionally Arial Unicode doesn't have EVERY langauge, there are some oddball ones like Cherokee etc. that you can get free fonts for but chances are you'll only want to install these if you ever come across them. I managed to get the "complete set" in Opera (which has a lovely international fonts dialog which shows which font it will use for each language it recognises) with Arial Unicode and free fonts. Arial Unicode on it's own is enough to display every language at the bottom of wikipedia correctly, though.

Last edited by ledow; 03-22-2006 at 08:27 AM.
Old 03-22-2006, 03:02 PM   #9
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If you have access to, say, an XP installation, you can copy all the TTF files from it to your Slackware installation and you'll get the sort of displays you want. If you have a dual-boot system, you'll find them in /fat-c/windows/fonts (otherwise, they're in c:\windows\fonts).

To install them in Slackware, here's a how-to you may find useful:
Assuming you have a bunch of TTF font files (from wherever you got them), it's pretty easy:

log in as root (or su or whatever)
cd directory-where-TTF-files-are
# create the target directory if it doesn't already exist
mkdir -p /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/TTF
# copy all the TTF files, changing the name to lower case as you go
for file in *.[Tt][Tt][Ff]
cp ${file} /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/TTF/`echo ${file} | tr [A-Z]
# go to the directory you just copied all that stuff to
cd /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/TTF
# if you got them from winders, change the mode of the files
chmod 644 *
# create the fonts.dir and fonts.scale files you need
# you should have files fonts.dir and fonts.scale, look at 'em if
you want

Now you need to add the font path to /etc/X11/xorg.conf; in the section "Files," add this line:

FontPath "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/TTF/"

That section of my xorg.conf file looks like this:

Section "Files"
RgbPath "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/rgb"
ModulePath "/usr/X11R6/lib/modules"
FontPath "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/misc/"
FontPath "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/TTF/"
FontPath "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/Type1/"
FontPath "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/myfonts/"
# FontPath "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/CID/"
FontPath "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/75dpi/"
FontPath "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/100dpi/"

You need to exit from X (if it's running) and execute

fc-cache /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/TTF

That's it.
Old 03-28-2006, 05:17 AM   #10
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Thanks! That was great.


Last edited by Randux; 03-28-2006 at 06:19 AM.
Old 07-16-2006, 03:18 PM   #11
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I am experiencing EXACTLY the same problem described in the beginning post of this thread.

But I switched in Firefox to DejaVu font and the Wikipedia home page still is missing a ton of other-language characters. Opera displays the same Wikipedia home page far better, with only a very few missing characters. But Opera knows how to switch fonts on the fly, it seems.

My puzzle now is why switching to DejaVu had virtually no effect for me, while it works for other Firefox users.

I have an old Windows 98 machine, and I suppose if I had to, I could pull the Arial Unicode font off of it--if it exists. I don't remember seeing it there; only Arial, Arial Bold, etc. I'd rather not deal with non-free fonts if I can help it.

Any suggestions--or proposed explanations without solutions, even, greatly appreciated!


characters, fonts, international

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