Tag Archives: x11

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…

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)

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)