Spice up Your System with Open Source Fonts

Fonts are like candies: you can never get enough of them. So if you are getting tired of the fonts that come with your system, here is a hand-picked collection of a few open source fonts that deserve a closer look.

The Liberation fonts are designed as drop-in replacements for the widely-used proprietary fonts like Times New Roman, Arial, Helvetica, Courier New, etc. The Liberation font pack consists of three sets: Sans (a substitute for Arial, Albany, and Helvetica), Serif (a substitute for Times New Roman) and Mono (a substitute for Courier New, Cumberland, and Courier).

The SIL organization offers an impressive collection of fonts released under the Open Font License. Here you will find fonts designed for specific purposes (e.g., the Antika font is designed especially for literacy education) and specific languages (e.g., Arabic Script Unicode fonts) as well as all-around high-quality fonts like Gentium and Charis.

If you need a serif font that looks every bit as good as Times New Roman, try the Linux Libertine font family. It comes in the regular, italic, bold, bold italic, and small caps styles.

The MgOpen typeface collection offers four font families: MgOpenCanonica (similar to Times Roman), MgOpenCosmetica (similar to Optima), MgOpenModata, and MgOpenModerna (similar to Helvetica). Each font contains four styles: regular, italic, bold, and bold italic.

Arev is a nice sans serif font which can come in handy when you work with languages based on non-Latin alphabets. Since the font provides extensive support for diacritical signs, it’s also suitable for use with “diacritic-heavy” languages like Vietnamese.

The Droid font family designed by Ascender for Google’s Android platform consists of the Droid Sans, Droid Sans Mono and Droid Serif fonts. Each font provides support for Western European, Eastern/Central European, Baltic, Cyrillic, Greek, and Turkish languages. While the Droid fonts are released under the Apache license, neither Google nor Ascender offers a downloadable version of the fonts. But, with a little perseverance, you can get the font working on your system. Download the system.tar.gz archive, unpack it, and you will find the Droid font in the fonts directory.

Finally, if you want to spice up your documents with a pinch of handwritten text, then take a look at the Rufscript font.


21 Responses to “Spice up Your System with Open Source Fonts”
  1. Miguel Says:

    I think that this was the first time I ever saw the horrid Time New Roman used as a good standard for a comparison.

    Good tip with the Droid family.

  2. Thomas Wakefield Says:

    Your ad image for that nice little computer is compromised by the presence of that fluorescent bulb. Those bulbs are know to be of poor quality to begin with plus the worst of all, they contain mercury and are very poisonous to those exposed to the vapors when broken, which they will surely end up as in the land fill.
    Please try another image, perhaps a candle would be better?
    Thanks,
    Thomas in Victoria b.c.

  3. How can fonts be open source? Says:

    How can fonts be open source, do they have source code?

  4. Fuentes libres para tu sistema | Luxiano... Says:

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  5. Simos Says:

    Thanks for the article.

    Regarding the Droid fonts, I think it is better to post the official URL of the fonts,
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Droid_(font)
    http://android.git.kernel.org/?p=platform/frameworks/base.git;a=snapshot;sf=tgz

    DejaVu (http://dejavu.sourceforge.net/) is the default font in Ubuntu Linux and many other distributions. It is based on Bitstream Vera, adding support to many many more scripts. Liberation is the default font in Fedora.

    The Greek Font Society (http://www.greekfontsociety.gr/) digitised a set of fonts from the last four centuries, and made them available with the Open Font License (OFL). Apart from Greek, the Latin script is also supported.

  6. Drew3 Says:

    Thanks for the font info, there are many out of date Linux font pages and it is nice to see current info.

  7. Programas Livres | PROGRAMAS LIVRES Says:

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  8. links for 2008-11-30 « My place Says:

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  9. 3south.ca » Blog Archive » Spice up Your System with Open Source Fonts Says:

    [...] Linutop mag : Spice up Your System with Open Source Fonts Fonts are like candies: you can never get enough of them. So if you are getting tired of the fonts that come with your system, here is a hand-picked collection of a few open source fonts that deserve a closer look. [...]

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