Tag Archives: install

Installing Fontforge in Snow Leopard

League Gothic Open Source font available from: http://www.theleagueofmoveabletype.com/

As you can see, I am finally killing the old typeforge website and updating it to the blog format which is simpler to maintain. One of the reasons is that I’ve recently acquired a MacBook Pro with Snow Leopard (Mac OSX 10.6.2) and I am trying to get back into Type Design…

Which brings us to this topic, installing Fontforge correctly on Snow Leopard. The old mac step-by-step on typeforge is very incomplete… although it’s still very simple to get fontforge running (just download and install), one of the tricky things I’ve ran into in the past is getting the libray dependencies to work correctly (specially the SVG and PNG to import images and vectors).

Before continue reading you might want to check this post: http://www.typeforge.net/blog/2011/05/23/fontforge-binaries/

Wait, library what?… that’s the usual question Mac owner students ask. These are necessary files that fontforge needs in order to handle background image import, vector import from illustrator, etc…

The thing is, when installing in Cygwin/Windows, the installer took care of it, but on the Mac, these libraries have to be installed manually. There goes the theory of Macintosh being simpler… So, if you have a Mac and you want to have Fontforge up-and-running smoothly, this is my attempt to shed some light into George Williams (very complete) install tutorial:

  1. Make sure you have the latest X11 and XCode installed – pick up your install DVDs and check the packages;
  2. Point your browser to http://www.macports.org/. Download and install it;
  3. Then browse Fontforge’s dependencies page: http://fontforge.sourceforge.net/source-build.html#Dependencies. Choose the ones you need (I’ve actually installed more than I needed). But how? (Continue reading);
  4. Start X11. Xterm should start automatically (that white command line window).
  5. Type the following command for each library you need – “port search potrace” – (to search for potrace, for example). Caution: not all libraries have the same name as in the fontforge dependencies page… So, try the following – libpng, tiff, libungif, jpeg, libxml2, freetype, cairo and pango;
  6. If the search command returns the desired results, then, for each one, run the following command – “sudo port install potrace” – for Potrace for example. Repeat for each library package… freetype, pango and cairo took a while…
  7. And that’s it. Now run Fontforge from the applications menu, or type the command “fontforge” in the Xterm command line window. Alternatively you can customize the X11 Applications menu under “customize”.

Hope this works for you as it is working for me…

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)

Installing Fontforge under Windows

Some people have been complainting about using linux to develop type design, specially people closer to me. Sometimes it really is a pain to reboot your computer and boot linux to do it and then boot it again to Windows to continue other work, so I decided to try and do it under Windows. Here is a small tutorial on how to do it the EASY way!

The original and CORRECT tutorial on How to install Fontforge under Windows can be found at Fontforge official website:


So, for people like me that don’t like to waste so much time trying to perfect out technical problems, here’s a working solution:

  1. First, you need to install a linux-like enviroment – Cygwin Enviroment
    Download the cygwin setup.
  2. Run the setup.exe and first choose your download mirror. I recommend the ftp://mirrors.kernel.org. It’s fast and reliable, at least where I’m standing – PT

  3. Then choose the packages to be installed in the Cygwin Enviroment.
    As it’s said in the Fontforge website you need the Base components, the X window system, xorg-x11-base, and xterm.
    Nevertheless, in order to guarantee better results in the future (as being able to compile usefull programs to use with Fontforge like Potrace) I recommend installing the following packages:

  4. It will take a while to download all the packages as it may reach a 225MB Download. Let the installer finish download and installing.
  5. Then you’ll need the Fontforge program.
    Download the latest cygwin binary at:


  6. Unpack the file(s) with your favorite unpacking program (like Winrar) into an easy to remember directory inside Cygwin Enviroment.
    Eg. C:\cygwin\Home\User\Fontforge\
  7. Run Cygwin (by clicking the shortcuts. Yes, you should have installed them! ;P)

  8. Run the X Window System required by Fontforge. Just type in the Cygwin Bash:

    $ startx

  9. Then (in the X Terminal) just run Fontforge from the unpacked folder:

    $ run /home/user/fontforge/fontforge.exe

  10. And here it is!

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