How to Use a BDF font with X11
Before you start, it would be good to know if you already have a font
directory in your home directory. Run "xset q", which will
display various current X11 settings. One of the things it lists is
your Font Path, which is the set of locations that are searched for
fonts. If there is a directory in the list that is in your home
directory, then you should use that directory, and you don't have
to create a new directory.
First (if you haven't done this before) you need a place to put the fonts.
I suggest a directory called "fonts" in your home directory. Depending
on your X11 version and configuration, you may need to make this directory
prompt: mkdir fonts
prompt: chmod 755 fonts
prompt: cd fonts
Next, move the bdf file(s) into the fonts directory. These steps are
the same if you just created the directory, or if you are adding new
fonts to an existing directory. Again, the chmod may not be necessary
in all cases. Please keep in mind that the filename is NOT the name
that X11 will use for the font -- the X11 name is stored inside the
prompt: mv /some/other/location/new_font_file.bdf ./new_font_file.bdf
prompt: chmod 644 *
If you are setting up a new font directory, you have to tell X11 about it.
If the font directory already exists, and the fontpath already knows about
it, you only need the second command below:
prompt: xset fp+ $HOME/fonts
prompt: xset fp rehash
In order to have this directory available with every login, you'll also
need to add the above commands to your X11 startup script. This is
usually the .xinitrc or .xsession file in your home directory. Under
CDE, this is usually .dtprofile (in your home directory). Other X11
setups may use different files -- please ask your site administrator if
you can't find the appropriate file.
If you want to be able to refer to a font with a convenient name, you
could edit the BDF file and change the name on the line labelled "FONT ".
However, you can also make an alias for the file. By editing a file
called fonts.alias in your fonts directory, you can give any
font another name. The format is simply a line that contains the new name,
tabs or spaces, and then the original name. The file can contain as
many entries (lines) as you like. This file should also be made
world-readable. After editing this file, you need to run
"xset fp rehash" again.
If you have problems, check the following:
- make sure the fonts and the directory (and all of its
parents) are world-readable.
- Make sure that if you've downloaded a compressed file, or a font in a
tar file or zip file, that you perform the appropriate unpacking or
- Don't forget to run mkfontdir, and xset fp rehash.
- All BDF font filenames must end with ".bdf".
- Make sure you don't have two fonts with the same name -
you have to look in the files for this, for a line that starts with
"FONT " followed by the X11 name of the font.
Tom's BDF Font Editor
Tom's X11 Fonts
Tom's Big Nethack Font