I recently installed KDE to try it out. When starting KDE applications, I saw a
very ugly font used in the user interface, which I thought was weird. I went to
the the KDE control center, and noticed that the default font was set to
"Helvetica", but it surely wasn't helvetica being shown.
I found out that fontconfig wasn't even aware of the helvetica font, and
apparently just picked the first font in alphabetically order instead, in this
So I wondered, why couldn't fontconfig find my Helvetica fonts? They are located
in /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/100dpi (and 75dpi). Opening up
/etc/fonts/fonts.conf, I noticed that only these directories are looked in per
So I added /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/75dpi, and suddenly my KDE looked excellent!
Should this font path not be added to fonts.conf per default?
Sorry if I'm wrong about this; I'm no font expert, but at least this should show
an example of a "real world problem".
Fontconfig was leaving out the directories full of bitmap fonts because there
wasn't any way to remove fonts from the system at run time. Now that selectfont
has been added, I've changed the default configuration to use all of the X fonts
with the expectation that many (most?) users will simply configure the system to
ignore bitmap faces and force the system to use fonts which can be anti-aliased.
The default local.conf now disables non-scalable fonts, so that a 'fresh'
install will work like the old system.