How to Decorate Fonts for Linux

One of the major things that people request here on Pimp your Linux is for better fonts on Linux. I’ve done some research on the subject, and it is quite possible to make your Linux Desktop look great, even if you have a flat panel monitor.

To start off, you might have noticed that in Linux, your favorite Microsoft fonts might not be installed. For example, I know that when I was going to school, I would always use “Times New Roman” for my documents.

Microsoft has actually released their Truetype fonts for Linux! Here’s some of them that you can expect:

  • Andale Mono
  • Arial Black
  • Arial (Bold, Italic, Bold Italic)
  • Comic Sans MS (Bold)
  • Courier New (Bold, Italic, Bold Italic)
  • Georgia (Bold, Italic, Bold Italic)
  • Impact
  • Times New Roman (Bold, Italic, Bold Italic)
  • Trebuchet (Bold, Italic, Bold Italic)
  • Verdana (Bold, Italic, Bold Italic)
  • Webdings

If you have Ubuntu, this process is very easy. (Note this might work on other Linux systems as well)

In Ubuntu make sure that you “Enable the “Universe” component of the repositories in Feisty Fawn, this is done automatically.

Then open up a shell, and type the following in:

$sudo apt-get install msttcorefonts

After the fonts have been installed, you will need to log out and then login again to be able to see and use the new fonts. If you would prefer not to log out, you can regenerate the font cache with the following command:

$sudo fc-cache -fv

To add more fonts, it’s as easy as copying the font files to the ~/.fonts directory. Remember to regenerate the font cache or logout/login after you’ve added new fonts.

For more information on this, check out the Ubuntu Blog here

Step 2:

One thing you might have noticed using your flat panel monitor in Windows is that the fonts seem very sharp. This is because Microsoft has a technology called ClearType fonts. So above we talked about Truetype fonts, which are the package of fonts that come installed with Windows systems, and now we are going to talk about a way to make your fonts look even better on a flat panel monitor.

ClearType is an effect designed for people that use laptops, and flat panel monitors. To sum it up in a nutshell, it smooths out the fonts and makes the user experience in windows much more pleasant.

Check out the difference:



If you are running Windows now, test it out.

Right, Click on the desktop, then go to “Properties”.

Click on the “Appearance” tab at the top of the window.

On the right-hand side, you’ll notice a button that says, “Effects”. Click on it, and another window should pop up.

The second drop down box should be labeled: “Use the following method to smooth edges of screen fonts”

Change this from standard to “ClearType” and make sure that the box next to it is checked.

Now click “OK” on the Effects window, then “Apply” on the “Display Properties” window, and your fonts should change.

NOTE: If you are not using a laptop or a flat panel monitor, you will not notice much of a difference at all.


If you are not using your flat panel’s native resolution, it will just make the fonts look garbled. If the native resolution of your monitor is 1280×1024 use it. Don’t switch it down to 1024×768 because the fonts look bigger in that resolution. If the fonts are too small for you at the monitor’s native resolution, just make the fonts bigger in your theme. You don’t know what you are missing out on. With old CRT monitors, you could get away with using a lower resolution to make the screen easier to read, but flat panel monitors and laptop monitors really suffer when you switch them out of their native format, especially if your flat panel is natively widescreen.

Now that you can see the difference in Windows, let’s talk about getting this bad boy working in Linux!

Microsoft has many different patents associated with ClearType fonts. You may have heard in the news lately that Microsoft has allowed SuSe Linux to install with ClearType fonts. This is one of the many features that SuSe enjoys because of the Microsoft Novell agreement. OpenSuse, on the other hand, has been stripped of this luxury. For all of us with Ubuntu, here is a great program that will mimic the effects of ClearType fonts:

The Howto is found here

the mind is hosting readymade packages for Edgy in his repo. These are the sources (enter them in /etc/apt/sources.list)

deb edgy fonts

deb-src edgy fonts

The signing keys for mind’s repo can be obtained with the following commands:

gpg –recv-keys 937215FF

gpg –export –armor 937215FF | sudo apt-key add –

Update your cache: (type in a shell)

apt-get update

Start an upgrade: (type in a shell)

apt-get dist-upgrade

The patched packages will be installed over the official un-patched versions since they have a slightly higher version number.

The two systems i.e., either the byte-code interpreter or the auto-hinter can be toggled with:

sudo dpkg-reconfigure fontconfig-config