Cross platform fonts question

Martin Baxter martin at
Fri Aug 13 03:53:03 EDT 2004

>Sarah reichelt wrote:
>Hi All,
>While we are talking about fonts, would some Linux person please fill
>me in on whether they have these fonts and if not, what is the closest
>thing in the Linux world. I don't know if this varies with distribution
>and GUI so I may be asking an impossible question.
>Sans serif: Verdana
>Serif: Times or Times New Roman
>Fixed width:
>Sans serif: Monaco
>Serif: Courier or Courier New
>I use these four fonts almost exclusively although I try to avoid
>Monaco if possible because it isn't a Windows font. I don't like
>FixedSys, so if any Windows person has an idea of a fixed width sans
>serif font that works well in small sizes, I'd love to know. (XP only)


I would expect available fonts to vary between distros and installations.
Linux was "born to be tweaked" after all. Verdana is not available, being
an MS font you wouldn't expect it on Linux.
While I wouldn't go so far as to call myself a "Linux person", I do run
Mandrake Linux 10 here and FWIW here are a few of the common or potentially
useful fonts that came installed with it.

Bitstream Vera Sans
Bitstream Vera Sans Mono
Bitstream Vera Serif

all these have regular, italic, bold, bold italic

The KDE desktop, by default seems to use 2 fonts imaginatively named "Sans"
and "Monospace" as what we might call system fonts. They look OK actually.

The version of Helvetica is even uglier than usual. Helvetica is a Unix
system font however (also courier and times I believe), and barring user
changes, Helvetica is the default font that Revolution uses - ie it is the
effective textfont of a newly created stack under Linux. (In Rev 2.5 things
may well be different but I haven't checked it).

(BTW, the application I've been working on runs on mac classic, windows and
Linux. I've never set any fonts or font sizes at all except in a couple of
text editing fields, and probably as a result I haven't had any issues with
cross-platform fonts, Revolution's defaults have worked fine for me. I
think the moral of that is that if your application can live without the
use of typograhics, one answer to this problem is just to leave well alone.)

I'd be interested to hear what other Linux installations have.

Martin Baxter

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