Complete Linux font management

During my old days of using Windows, font management was one thing that Windows had a hard time with. I never really found a good Windows app that would handle complete font management, that was easy to view a list of fonts and install/remove them, without paying a lot of money.

During my old days of using Windows, font management was one thing that Windows had a hard time with. I never really found a good Windows app that would handle complete font management, that was easy to view a list of fonts and install/remove them, without paying a lot of money. I believe Suitcase is/was one of the highly rated programs, but it's not cheap. Back with Windows 95/98, you could only drag so many fonts into the Fonts system folder and Windows would bog down and complain too many fonts were installed. Then along came font managers, which I tried many different ones and some worked, like Adobe's Type Manager, but most of them lacked a nice interface to preview the fonts before you started going through and activating them. Then there's the issue of having Administrator rights to activate the fonts, so I would have to activate hand picked fonts by the users or activate everything (thousands of fonts) which worked OK with Windows NT 4.0 and newer.

My Windows days are long gone now, and in Linux I've filled that void very easily using a nice little program called "Font Matrix". Font Matrix is a complete font management system for X11. And I mean complete. It can import fonts from any folder, and you can activate them with a click of the mouse. You can preview each font before you activate it, in fact the complete font list itself showcases each font, while you can create your own custom string to preview the fonts as well. Each user in X11 can activate/deactivate their own fonts, without root privileges which makes it very nice. Try that in Windows without Administrator access!

And what's even more useful is if you want Windows fonts to be compatible with Windows documents, you can copy over the TTF/OTF files from the Fonts system folder from Windows XP, to your existing or separate fonts folder, activate them with Font Matrix, and voila! they are available for any application like OpenOffice opening a MS Word document so that everything is preserved. What's even more interesting is that by doing this, you can also run Windows apps in Wine and they will also have the extra fonts available. By default, Wine doesn't include the extra web fonts and such that Windows XP has provided, so using Font Matrix will give you the best in both worlds.

If you do any sort of design work, add Font Matrix to your open source software suite, you will not be disappointed. Font Matrix, combined with Scribus, Inkscape, Gimp, OpenOffice, will give you a complete and powerful productivity workstation at a cost that can't be beat: completely FREE.

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