An easy way to install Microsoft's TrueType core fonts on linux

Questions or comments? Contact me at Good luck! / noa


Just the fonts

The original unaltered .exe files as downloaded from when they were available here

If you don't have a rpm based distribution, you can compile the tool to extract the .ttf files from the .exe files, cabextract from source, found here

How to install

Installing Microsoft's TrueType core fonts for the web on any rpm based linux box with TrueType support is now easy. The instructions below have been tested on various Red Hat and Fedora Core systems, but they are fairly generic so they should apply to any redhat-like linux distribution, such as mandrake or yellowdog. If you are running debian, please have a look here. If you are running suse, please have a look here

  1. Make sure you have the following rpm-packages installed from from your favourite distribution. Any version should do.

  2. Install the cabextract utility. For users of Fedora Core it is available from extras. Others may want to compile it themselves from source, or download the source rpm from fedora extras and rebuild.

  3. Download the latest msttcorefonts spec file from here

  4. If you haven't done so already, set up an rpm build environment in your home directory. You can to this by adding the line %_topdir %(echo $HOME)/rpmbuild to your $HOME/.rpmmacros and create the directories $HOME/rpmbuild/BUILD and $HOME/rpmbuild/RPMS/noarch

  5. Build the binary rpm with this command:

    $ rpmbuild -bb msttcorefonts-2.5-1.spec

    This will download the fonts from a Sourcforge mirror (about 8 megs) and repackage them so that they can be easily installed.

  6. Install the newly built rpm using the following command (you will need to be root):

    # rpm -ivh $HOME/rpmbuild/RPMS/noarch/msttcorefonts-2.5-1.noarch.rpm
  7. You might need to reload the X font server. Normally this is done as a part of the installation process (this is done by chkfontpath). However in some situations it seems like you need to reload or restart the font server manually. I am told that the last argument needs to be restart and not reload on Mandrake 9.0

    # /sbin/service xfs reload

    A bug in RedHat 8.0 makes the X server lose the connection to the font server if the font server is restarted instead of reloaded. That will cause assorted strange behaviour (changed fonts in newly opened applications, applications hanging). Logging out and logging in again will solve the problems, or just use 'reload' instead of 'restart'.

  8. Enjoy your new high quality fonts. To verify that the installation succeeded, please use the command 'xlsfonts | grep ^-microsoft'. You should see a whole lot of microsoft font names there. Please note that you need to restart all programs that you want to make aware of the new fonts. Note also that not all fonts have 'microsoft' in their name, some of them will be from 'monotype' instead.



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