Category Archives: Technical

Install Cygwin (Lullabot)

Install Cygwin on Windows XP, by Addison Berry.

Lullabot is a great place to look for software and webdev tutorials.
The Install Cygwin tutorial is part of a vast library of free video tutorials they put out regularly.
So, in addition to our own Install Fontforge on Windows, we recommend you check out this great video tutorial. You also subscribe to their tutorials/podcasts using your favourite client like iTunes.

Windows XP doesn’t come with native tools for working with some common development tasks such as creating and applying patches. In the *nix world the tools diff and patch are standard in a dev toolbox. Cygwin will give Windows users a Linux-like command line and the ability to install a number of common Linux tools. This video will show you how to install the Cygwin base as well as diff, patch and CVS, which is the version control system that uses for all of the core and contributed code.

The advantage to using the command line tools is that many online references for these tasks, including the handbook, tend to use this rather than GUI instructions because they can depend on the command line being the same across systems, while various GUI tools will have many different ways to accomplish the same thing. Command line may seem scary to those that haven’t used it but it really is as easy as typing in some words and watching magic happen.


(Originally published on 2007-11-14)

Changing Fontforge background color

How to change Fontforge’s application window background color.
It’s more or less easy, but in the end you can preview your Type Designs against a better contrast background.
For me at least, I like to see the resuts better against a white background.

First you need to create a file called .Xdefaults on your home directory

Then, edit it with the following line:
Gdraw.Background: #FFFFFF

This will change the Background to (Hex) RGB White.

Then open Fontforge. Navigate to Menu File: Preferences and edit the ResourceFile field pointing it to your .Xdefaults file
Eg. /home/Pedro Amado/.Xdefaults

Restart Fontforge and that’s it! White Background Windows

(Originally published on 2006-04-22)


Sometimes you boot Cygwin, try to start-up X by invoking the “$ startx” command and you get this annoying message:

This problem is probably due to using incompatible versions of the cygwin DLL. Search for cygwin1.dll using the Windows Start->Find/Search facility and delete all but the most recent version.  The most recent version *should* reside in x:\cygwin\bin, where ‘x’ is the drive on which you have installed the cygwin distribution.  Rebooting is also suggested if you are unable to find another cygwin DLL.

cygwin1.dll error - incompatible versions of the cygwin DLL

You look for a duplicate cygwin1.dll and nothing shows up!… (hurray for windows search…)
Here’s my quickfix:
First of all you really have a duplicate cygwin1.dll.

One in the right place:

And another in the wrong place…

Don’t worry if actually don’t see the dll inside the system32 folder, THAT IS the problem (I faked things a bit to do the printscreens)

First, navigate to your computer drive into th System32 folder inside the Windows folder:


Then turn on the option to see invisible files. It should appear.
If it doesn’t work (like it happened to me) use a file manager from another program like Filezilla (the FTP manager) and turn on the option to see invisible files.

Filezilla see invisible files

Navigate to that folder and then locate the duplicate and delete it from the System32 folder:

Filezilla navigate to system32 folder inside Windows system

Remove the cygwin1.dll from the system32 folder using Filezilla file manager:

Remove the cygwin1.dll from the system32 folder using Filezilla file manager

(Originally published on 2007-09-14, updated on 2007-11-08)

Installing Fontforge on Linux (Fedora Core 3)

There’s nothing to it.
Just follow the most simple steps described below.

  1. Just download the .rpm from Fedora Core Server (Official Stable Package):

  2. Double-click it and let the file roller install it.

  3. Go to your Applications panel > Graphics > Fontforge.

  4. Run it! It’s the easiest way. Even simpler than on the Mac!

(Originally published on 2005-11-02, updated on 2006-02-07)

Installing Fontforge on Mac OS X (PearPC)

Well… I haven’t been able to get my hands on a Mac (it’s a matter of weeks), but I did a similar test. More or less like I did with Fedora Linux (dual boot), I installed Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger under PearPC 0.4pre on my Toshiba Laptop (P4 2.6GZ, 512RAM) and it ran ok on X11.

So, what are you waiting for?

  1. Grab yourself a copy of Mac OS X and X11.

  2. Download Fontforge for Mac OS X:
  3. Unpack Fontforge. If necessary, use a tool like Stuffit Expander.
  4. Run the Fontforge.pkg (you need administrator priviledges)
  5. Now it’s installed. But wait a minute… where is it?.
    Easy. Remember Fontforge is an X Application. So first you have to run X11 (The X Window System for the Mac) in the applications folder.
  6. Now just run Fontforge under the Applications Menu.
  7. All Done. Happy editing!

(Originally published on 2005-11-02, updated on 2006-02-07)