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Fonts: the Neverending Struggle

Hi All,

I've spent the last two days scouring Google and the Debian-User archives in
search of help with fonts under X (specifically, XFree86 4.2 and Fluxbox 0.1.7-3
under Woody).  In my search, I discovered that there is a lack of consistent,
up-to-date information.  For example, the XFree86 Font De-uglification How-To at
TLDP (http://www.tldp.org/HOWTO/mini/FDU/) proved to be the most useful, yet it
is almost eight months outdated.  Most of the other guides were even older. 
Even so, I read through most of them, but I'm now more confused than ever,
particularly with regard to the various font servers.  Just today, however, I
discovered a post by Rob
who notes the following:

> Before starting, I should state that I "think" I am running the Xserver 
> without an additional font server (ie neither xfs or xfs-xtt, not xfstt), as 
> I can't quite understand why I should need it .  I presume that the 
> libfreetype module loaded by the x-server should suffice.[So if someone can 
> explain why ought to use pne of the above font servers I would be interested 
> to listen]

AFAIK, this is correct.  XFree86 4.0 introduced support for TrueType
fonts, so a font server is useless for 99% of users.  If you have a
bunch of machines, it might be useful to share fonts amongst them, but
aside from that, 'no'.

If it's true that font servers aren't really necessary, then what is the easiest
way to get good looking fonts simply using the XFree86 config files?  

Another problem is simply the lack of decent fonts. Most of the guides refer
users to the free Microsoft TrueType font pack; however, it seems that those
links are all dead now that Microsoft no longer offers them.  When I try to do
"apt-get install msttcorefonts", I get an error message about them no longer
being available (sorry I don't my debian box handy to grab the exact error
message).  Is there a font-site-to-end-all-font-sites out there somewhere?

Font problems seem to be some of the most frustrating and difficult to deal with
in regards to Debian and GNU/Linux in general, particularly for newbies like
myself.  I've heard that the latest versions of distros like RedHat and SuSe
offer great font support and goodies like anti-aliasing right out of the box,
which is great for recent converts from the Windows world, where good looking
type is a no brainer.  But for newbies like me who prefer Debian
and--especially--who run older hardware and thus prefer more lightweight X
managers like Fluxbox over full environments like Gnome or KDE, it's a real pain!

Basically, I'm in search of how-tos or any other kind of help that fills the
eight-month gap in font coverage in those older how-tos.  

Thanks to any and all help!!!

M. Kirchhoff

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