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Fonts: Java - Sun JRE

Users may find the default Java fonts and their display in Java applications unpleasant. Several methods to improve font display in the Sun Java Runtime Environment (JRE)[1] are available. The methods may be used separately, but many users will find better results by combining them.


Anti-aliasing[2] of fonts is available with Sun Java 1.6 on Linux. To do this on a per user basis, add the following line to the user's Template:Codeline.

export _JAVA_OPTIONS='-Dawt.useSystemAAFontSettings=setting'

Replace Template:Codeline with one of the following seven values: Template:Sn

The Template:Codeline and Template:Codeline settings work well in many instances.

For the above change to take effect, Template:Codeline must be sourced as the normal user.

$ source ~/.bashrc

Open a new instance of a Java application to test the changes made.

Font Selection

TrueType Fonts

TrueType fonts appear to be the best supported format in Java. Java applications that are coded to use a specific TrueType font must be given the path to that font. These fonts are located in the directory Template:Codeline. Add the following line to Template:Codeline to enable these fonts.

export JAVA_FONTS=/usr/share/fonts/TTF

Source Template:Codeline as the normal user for the change to take effect.

$ source ~/.bashrc

Default Fonts

The Lucida fonts distributed along with the Sun JRE are the default for Java applications that do not specify a different font's use. The Lucida fonts were designed for low resolution displays and printers, many users will wish to use other fonts. The default Java font can be changed on a system-wide basis by the creation or editing of a file named Template:Codeline.

As root, change directory to Template:Codeline. Copy Template:Codeline to Template:Codeline. Then, as root, open the new Template:Codeline in an editor.

# cd /opt/java/jre/lib
# cp
# nano      ## Editor is the user's choice.
Note: Encodings other than Latin-1, or ISO 8859-1,[3] are shown in other Template:Codeline files in Template:Codeline. Some users will find these files to be better sources to use for editing. In all cases the edited file should be saved as Template:Codeline.

The Java font names in the configuration file are in the form of, for example,Template:Codeline. These generic fonts are mapped to the installed fonts using X Logical Font Description (XLFD)[4] names. The Template:Codeline, in the example below, is used as a placeholder in the XLFD name for the point size. The Java application replaces Template:Codeline at runtime.

Tip: The utility, xfontsel, may be used to display fonts and to discover their XLFD name. Xfontsel is part of the xorg-utils package.

Below is an excerpt of a Template:Codeline file after modifications have been made. The Lucida fonts have been replaced by DejaVu fonts.

# Version -- a version number is required.
# IMPORTANT -- Do not delete the next line. Ever.

# Component Font Mappings
#       -fndry-fmly-wght-slant-sWdth-adstyle-pxlsz-ptSz-resx-resy-spc-avgWdth-rgstry-encdng

serif.plain.latin-1=-misc-dejavu serif-medium-r-normal-*-*-%d-*-*-p-*-iso8859-1
serif.bold.latin-1=-misc-dejavu serif-bold-r-normal-*-*-%d-*-*-p-*-iso8859-1
serif.italic.latin-1=-misc-dejavu serif-medium-o-normal-*-*-%d-*-*-p-*-iso8859-1

After the changes have been saved to Template:Codeline, the editor may be closed and the user should drop root privileges. Open a new instance of a Java application to test the changes.