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4. X Window System

The X Window System, the primary GUI used on unices such as Linux, does not currently include native support for TrueType fonts. However X does provide for programs called font servers which can provide font rasterization services for X servers that do not support certain kinds of fonts or do not have the fonts installed locally.

There are two open-source font servers that support TrueType fonts, xfstt and xfsft, and also a number of commercial products.

4.1 xfstt

Xfstt is a font server designed exclusively to serve TrueType fonts to the local machine. As such it supports only TrueType fonts and makes the assumption that the client has the same byte order as the server, so if you want to use the font server to serve other types of fonts and/or serve fonts to multiple machines on a network, you are probably better off using xfsft (see below).

You can download xfstt from in the /pub/Linux/X11/fonts directory. The current version is 0.9.9.

Usage of xfstt is fairly straightforwardly explained in the INSTALL and FAQ files included in the archive.

4.2 xfsft

Xfsft is a modification of the standard X font server to add TrueType font support using the Freetype library. If you need to use TrueType fonts with a real font server this should do it for you.

You can download the beta of xfsft from its home page at

Note that xfsft requires that you construct a fonts.scale file that lists the fonts to be used. This can be done manually or by using ttinst, available from the same location.

4.3 Commercial font servers

There are a number of commercial TrueType font servers. Some commercial Unices, such as HP-UX, include TrueType-capable font servers; if you have such a machine on your network you can use its font server and access the fonts from your Linux workstations.

Gallium FontTastic, a TrueType-capable font server, is included with ApplixWare, a commercial office suite for Linux. See ApplixWare for information on using TrueType fonts with this combination.

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