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3. Display (X and the font servers)

Strictly speaking, it is not absolutely necessary to set up font servers to use TrueType fonts with X servers. If you wish to use static files instead of a font server, please see the instructions for setting up TrueType fonts for ghostscript.

3.1 Setting up the xfs Font Server

At this point I assume you have a working /etc/X11/XF86Config file that loads explicitly specifies each directory in the FontPath. We will convert it to use the xfs Font Server.

3.2 Setting up the xfstt Font Server and installing TrueType fonts

At this point I assume you have a working xfs font server and wish to add TrueType support via xfstt.

3.3 Using TrueType fonts

At this point it should be possible to use a TrueType font in applications like GIMP, Netscape or StarOffice. Since most TrueType fonts aren't monospaced you probably don't want to use one of them with xterm - these programs use monospacing the size of the largest character cell.

3.4 Installing additional TrueType fonts

If you are using the xfstt font server, it's trivial to install additional TrueType fonts.

3.5 Internationalization

xfstt has the ability to generate multiple font encodings, provided that the TrueType font contains the necessary glyphs. To enable fonts other than iso8859-1/unicode-1, you must manually edit the /etc/init.d/xfstt script:

/etc/init.d/xfstt
- start-stop-daemon --start --quiet --exec $XFSTT -- \
      --port $portno --daemon 
+ start-stop-daemon --start --quiet --exec $XFSTT -- \
      --port $portno --encoding iso8859-1,koi8-r,windows-1252,symbol-0 \
      --daemon 


The recognized encodings in Debian 2.1 are:

The first 128 characters in the iso8859-x encodings is always ASCII. The windows- fonts embrace and extend iso8859-1 with additional characters such as "smart quotes." (Since these extensions, such as "smart quotes" are undefined in iso8859-1, they are usually rendered as question marks.)

Excellent source for additional information on character set encodings are at

3.6 Security Issues

I used Unix sockets above, but the standard Debian packages also configure xfs and xfstt to listen to TCP/IP ports 7100 and 7101, respectively. Access to these ports should be controlled by the trusted-clients field in /etc/X11/xfs/config, but this option is not implemented in XFree86 3.3.2.3a.

This means that anyone, anywhere, can connect to your font server. Since xfs (and presumably xfsts) "clone" to support more users there's a trivial denial-of-service attack against these systems. It's probably safe to use the font servers on dialup lines (since you're present to handle problems), but DSL and cable modem users should use a firewall.


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