How to get Microsoft Truetype fonts in Ubuntu 7.04 and make them look good

When installing GNU/Linux, the first thing I need to do is install the Microsoft fonts. And things are no different with Ubuntu 7.04, so here I will explain the steps I take to achieve this.

Someone with username calande has posted a short and simple procedure on the Ubuntu forums to start with. Follow calande’s instructions exactly, and you will be well on your way to having those nice Microsoft fonts.

I personally prefer 8 point Tahoma fonts, and have accordingly adjusted the “Application font”, “Document font” and “Desktop font” settings in the GNOME font preferences application (System ==> Preferences ==> Font).

If at some time you’ve tried making the fonts look more like on Windows by opening the GNOME font preferences configuration tool and setting “Font Rendering” to “monochrome”, you should open it again now and quickly change it into something else, like “Best shapes” or “Subpixel smoothing”. Do not worry, the xml files you installed in the previous step override the settings here, for just the right font sizes. So only the large and bold fonts will get antialiased (fuzzy), whilst the small fonts remain nice and sharp and non-antialiased. Just like in Windows, or at least as near as possible.

While we have now come quite a long way, we are not yet quite finished. Because one thing I noticed with the way things are at this stage: the Microsoft Tahoma fonts have some seriously annoying artifacts. For example, the number “8” looks wrong, as it has an extra set of pixels activated in the top right side of the lower circle. Fortunately, there is a way to fix this.

To solve aforementioned problem, we turn once more to the wonderful Ubuntu forum, and in particular read the thread titled “Improved subpixel font rendering for Feisty”. I did things a little differently though, although the result is completely identical. Just follow the following instructions:

  1. First startup the software sources application (System ==> Aministration ==> Software Sources), you will be prompted for your password.
  2. Then select the “Third party software” tab, click on “Add …” and then add the following line

    deb feisty fonts

  3. Repeat step 2 if you wish to have access to the sources, only this time replace the “dep” part in the repository line with “deb-src”. However, I believe this is entirely optional for our needs.
  4. Next, start the update manager (System ==> Administration ==> Update Manager) and install the updates.
  5. Finally, restart X (or reboot if you wish). The fonts that looked bad earlier should look alright now.

And that’s it. Apart from small details, such as changing the fonts Firefox uses, the fonts should look much better.


One Response to How to get Microsoft Truetype fonts in Ubuntu 7.04 and make them look good

  1. […] distribution, such as Ubuntu in this case, I have uploaded a screenshot of my desktop. See also my recent post on configuring Ubuntu to use Microsoft fonts, for an example of how you can achieve similar […]

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