Bitmap fonts in Linux

I like to use bitmap fonts in gvim, and in some other places as well. Default, fontconfig does not permit that. To change that I did the following:

  1. sudo su (in Ubuntu; in Slackware just su would suffice)
  2. rm /etc/fonts/conf.d/70-no-bitmaps.conf
  3. ln -s /etc/fonts/conf.avail/70-yes-bitmaps.conf /etc/fonts/conf.d and (to be sure) ln -s /etc/fonts/conf.avail/70-force-bitmaps.conf /etc/fonts/conf.d
  4. fc-cache -f -v
  5. as regular user also fc-cache -f -v

In slackware 14.1 I discovered a new obstacle to nice crisp bitmap fonts, a new line in /etc/fonts/conf.d: 10-scale-bitmap-fonts.conf. Since bitmap fonts only look sharp at their natural size, this makes no sense, it makes your system display blurry fonts. Remove this option to get rid of that.

At some point I also restarted X, which is probably not necessary. Some of the other steps may also be skip-able, but I haven't tested that. BTW the bitmap fonts I wanted I put in ~/.fonts. In the end I could confirm the fonts were loaded using fc-list as regular user.

Links to pages of other people that took the trouble to write about this and that may have additional useful information: