Linux Web Fonts

Fonts for the Linux/Unix windowing system (X11) are typically distributed from a font server on the network. While this is true for NCD X-terminals (column "xwt" in the table) at TRIUMF, most workstations run their own local fontservers and have a different set of fonts installed depending on the software distribution and the requirements of the users.
See X11 Installed Fonts for a survey of a few typical systems.

Typically, Postscript or LaTeX fonts are used for printing while X11 is used for display, and utilities exist to convert between these formats to allow print preview, etc. Web browsers perforce use X11 fonts for display and may use PostScript for printing.

TRIUMF has a fairly large number of X11 devices:

The following fonts are installed on almost all X11 Unix/Linux systems and might be termed "core fonts". The font fixed is the fallback font which is required for the system to run. Most of these fonts are bitmapped in a variety of point sizes between 8 and 24, and do not scale nicely. Typically, HTML 2 will display cleanly in paragraph, heading, bold etc. elements, but fonts which are scaled to an arbitrary size may exhibit staircasing. A font size of 3 or CSS "normal" will typically be good for normal use, while a font size of 1 or CSS "xx-small" may be unreadable. Some (Type 1) fonts such as Utopia, Palatino and Avantgarde will scale.

Charter serif AQymtfMTGabg
Courier serif monospace AQymtfMTGabg
Fixed sans-serif monospace AQymtfMTGabg
Helvetica sans-serif AQymtfMTGabg
Lucida sans-serif AQymtfMTGabg
Lucidabright serif AQymtfMTGabg
Lucidatypewriter sans-serif monospace AQymtfMTGabg
New Century Schoolbook serif AQymtfMTGabg
Times serif AQymtfMTGabg
Utopia serif AQymtfMTGabg

The following fonts are installed on many systems, but not all:
Clean sans-serif monospace AQymtfMTGabg
Palatino serif AQymtfMTGabg
Avantgarde sans-serif AQymtfMTGabg
Bookman serif AQymtfMTGabg
Zapf Chancery cursive AQymtfMTGabg
More HTML examples with font size=1-7 may be seen here. An image of these fonts may be seen here: Linux Core Fonts

The following TrueType fonts were distributed with Microsoft Windows 95.

Arial sans-serif AQymtfMTGabg
Arial Black sans-serif AQymtfMTGabg
Comic Sans MS sans-serif AQymtfMTGabg
Courier New sans-serif monospace AQymtfMTGabg
Impact sans-serif AQymtfMTGabg
Times New Roman serif AQymtfMTGabg
Verdana sans-serif AQymtfMTGabg

The following additional fonts are part of the Microsoft fonts for the Web:
Andale Mono sans-serif monospace AQymtfMTGabg
Trebuchet MS sans-serif AQymtfMTGabg
Georgia serif AQymtfMTGabg
More HTML examples with font size=1-7 may be seen here. An image of these fonts may be seen here: Windows Web Fonts

Microsoft appear to allow free downloads of these fonts; however the license terms prohibit repackaging them. Nevertheless, some packages exist and later Linux fontservers will server them, or the TT fontserver xfstt can be used. However, since they are not (and probably cannot be) included in RedHat distributions, individual systems cannot be assumed to have them available.

The following fonts (and more) may be available on Macintosh systems:
Geneva sans-serif AQymtfMTGabg
Chicago sans-serif AQymtfMTGabg
Monaco sans-serif AQymtfMTGabg
New York serif AQymtfMTGabg
Mishawaka sans-serif AQymtfMTGabg
The following approximations may be made:

Times = Times New Roman (serif)
Courier = Courier New (serif monospace)
Utopia = Georgia (serif)
Helvetica = Arial (sans-serif)
although there are some size issues. A font with a given point size does not necessarily have the same pixel size on Microsoft and Linux systems, or even on different Linux systems depending on the screen resolution, whether 75 or 100dpi fonts are installed, and what resolution X11 is configured for. A comparative screen shot is available here (made on a Linux system with TrueType fonts available).

A typical CSS entry might be:

body { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif ; }
pre { font-family: Courier, monospace ; }
which allows graceful fallback to, at minimum, the correct serif style. An ordered list of fonts should be used, preferred first, with core fonts from both Windows and X11 included, together with the font style.
Most recent browsers (Netscape 7, Opera, Konqueror) allow specification of the CSS font types serif, sans-serif, monospace, cursive and fantasy.

Netscape vagaries

Netscape 4, currently the TRIUMF standard, has some odd behaviour. When printing, only Times and Courier fonts are supported and text is rendered in these, so the printed page looks different from the version onscreen. The Opera browser uses correct fonts, while Konqueror appears to make a giant bitmap and display a screen image.
Another oddity of Netscape 4 is that if a named font cannot be found, Netscape uses the default monospace font. Thus Courier is typically substituted for Arial, Verdana etc. Listing font alternates as suggested above should fix this problem.

Some information on font issues with Linux may be found on the Font De-Uglification page.

A tool which allows comparing two fonts may be found here

The CSS specification on fonts may be found here

A CSS font sampler is available here from, though some of the statistics are at variance with my findings.

Andrew Daviel, TRIUMF, June 2002