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TrueType is an outline font standard originally developed by Apple Computer in the late 1980s as a competitor to Adobe's Type 1 fonts used in PostScript. The primary strength of TrueType is that it offers font developers a high degree of control over precisely how their fonts are displayed, right down to particular pixels, at various font heights.

Background information

The FreeType project of David Turner attempts to create an independent implementation of the TrueType standard (as well as other font standards). FreeType is included in SUSE 10.0, and is available for prior releases.

There are potential patent infringements in FreeType 1 because parts of the TrueType hinting virtual machine were patented by Apple, a fact not mentioned in the TrueType standards. (Patent holders who contribute to standards not published by a major standards body such as ISO are not required to disclose the scope of their patents.) FreeType includes an automatic hinter that analyzes glyph shapes and attempts to generate hints automatically, thus avoiding the patented technology (see Freetype - Patents). The automatic hinter generally improves the appearance of free or cheap fonts, for which hinting is often either nonexistent or automatically generated anyway, but it can degrade the appearance of professional hand-hinted fonts, and does not work at all well for non-Western text that requires a different approach to hinting. As a result, many people prefer to enable the patented hinting technology.

FreeType 2 is a font service and doesn't provide APIs to perform higher-level features, like text layout or graphics processing (e.g., colored text rendering, "hollowing", etc.). However, it greatly simplifies these tasks by providing a simple, easy to use and uniform interface to access the content of font files.

FreeType 2 is released under two licenses: BSD-like FreeType License and the GPL. As such, it can be used by any project, F/OSS or commercial.

Font installation and rendering issues

Many Linux users are unsatisfied with font rendering under X11, but it can easily be improved. Note that some of the following refers to patented technology. You do not need a special license for your private usage, but you might need one in order to distribute any of the packages that we will build. For patent information, refer to External links below.

Getting some TrueType fonts

Online updates

Most Linux distributions contain a basic set of TrueType fonts, but these are often not the best ones that we can find. Microsoft released some high quality TrueType fonts as freeware some years ago.

In order to install them, start YaST and do an online update. Look for the update fetchmsttfonts. It should be checked by default (Unless you also have some pending package management stack update). fetchmsttfonts is a script that automatically download and install the MS TrueType corefonts for you. These fonts are freeware and do not require a license for any Microsoft product.

Vista ClearType fonts

If you want to get the new Microsoft ClearType fonts, you need to install the fetchvistafonts from the openSUSE Build Service.

openSUSE 11.0 users: If there's no openSUSE 11.0 package available, use package for SLE_11 or openSUSE 11.1 instead.
  • Open a terminal use zypper to install the package


su -c 'zypper in fetchvistafonts-11.1-5.2.noarch.rpm'

Warning: The GUI installer fails to trigger the necessary install script.

From Microsoft products

If you have a license for a Microsoft product, especially the Windows operating system, you can use additional fonts. They are in the %WINDIR%\FONTS directory of your Windows installation, copy them into /usr/local/share/fonts and execute the following: openSUSE <= 12.2

su -c SuSEconfig

openSUSE >= 12.3

su -c "fonts-config --verbose"

This is necessary in order to make X11 aware of the new fonts.

If you have a license for the Windows operating system without having it installed anywhere, you can download some fonts that belong to the Internet Explorer web browser that is part of the Windows operating system. The most valuable font distributed with the Internet Explorer web browser is Tahoma. Get it from here. In order to extract the actual TrueType fonts, execute the following:

cabextract --lowercase

Copy tahoma.ttf and tahomabd.ttf into /usr/local/share/fonts and run SuSEconfig or fonts-config.

Congratulations, your TrueType fonts are now installed!

Adjusting your desktop preferences

Installing TrueType fonts does not modify your desktop preferences in any way. In order to take advantage of your new fonts, open your KDE or GNOME control center and choose one of your new fonts. The best screen fonts are Arial, Tahoma or Verdana at sizes from 8 to 10. If you prefer a serif font, try Georgia.

Note that anti-aliasing is no longer necessary since the TrueType bytecode interpreter was activated. Disable it completely or restrict it to sizes above 12 or 15.

You might want to adjust the preferences of your web browser as well. For Mozilla Firefox, open Edit - Preferences - General - Fonts & Colours and choose your new fonts there.

See also

External links