Polishing existing font management infrastructure and adding extra components to make handling fonts very easy and user-friendly in GNOME

Picking up some ideas left over from UbuntuDownUnder/BOFs/FontHandling.


The free desktop has made some amazing progress with system-level font support, now we just need some interface polish to expose and complements some font-related functionalities.

Use cases



RaphaelBosshard: Would it be possible to sort fonts into multiple categories? Like "Design", "Handwriting", "Futuristic", "Western", and so on?

Yes, hopefully once the ability to create font sets and activate/deactivate them easily is there.

The two last suggestions (international fonts + not font deps in the langpacks) may cause problems IMHO: who defines what is basic, what is optional? We're moving away from the omnibus/pan-unicode font approach. Where else can we do the mapping between locale and appropriate fonts than in the recommends of the language packs? The common fonts.conf can only do so many combinations this is why there is a /etc/fonts/conf.d. The testing will be distributed out to the LocoTeams.


Possible inspiration

source package control-center. I redesigned the ui and used libglade. It is very similar to the old viewer, but it allows to install fonts (it is the same as dnd in fonts:///). I had forgotten it, when I read this spec. I think it could be useful.

Possible inspiration could also be some commercial stuff who is widely in use..

Extensis Suitcase:

Designers and other people who often handle with fonts use it for over ten years.. So this UI works. And the program (available for WIN and MAC) also.

Linotype FontExplorerX

Another tool who was widely in the press the last time is the Linotype FontExplorerX - it is freely available (as in beer) for WIN and MAC - and even people who used the de-facto standard "Extensis Suitcase" in the past, now switching to this tool - because it is free and has extra support for the programs it is most used with (a complete and working auto-activation of the fonts used in the document of these programs)

So these commercial tools should be also mentioned when talking about a usable font manager for Gnome. The working principle is not too complex - move or copy the fonts which the user want to use in the .fonts/ folder, and remove them, if the user don't need them, or do this via links. Because its in fact generally that simple, the designing efforts really could be put on the user interface and nice features. Because I found no perfect tool in the past I would start a new one who is oriented on the tools who are used in printing and design companys nowadays - if someone is interested participating in such a project, leave me a message here or via mm (at) mpathy (dot) de - until then, I start a little bit for myself! -- mpathy

Perhaps something like FontCase


Data preservation and migration

Outstanding issues

Look at defoma and it's use cases vs. the use of fontconfig.

BoF agenda and discussion

discussion of related specs: FontDesignToolkit OpenFonts


FontManagement (last edited 2010-03-16 11:33:47 by allan-stokes)