update-fonts-alias Man page

update-fonts-alias(8) System Manager’s Manual update-fonts-alias(8)


update-fonts-alias – compile fonts.alias files


update-fonts-alias [OPTION] directory …


update-fonts-alias assembles a fonts.alias file in an X font directory
using one or more alias files found in a subdirectory of
/etc/X11/fonts/. It is typically invoked only from the post-installa‐
tion and post-removal scripts of a package containing X Window System
fonts that provide aliases for their XLFD names, but may be invoked at
any time to reconstruct fonts.alias files. For each directory, which
is simply the last component of its path (such as ‘75dpi’ or ‘misc’),
update-fonts-alias will assemble either /usr/lib/X11/fonts/direc‐
tory/fonts.alias or /usr/share/fonts/X11/directory/fonts.alias from the
files found in /etc/X11/fonts/directory/package.alias.

This enables multiple packages to provide aliases for fonts in the same
directory. No font package actually provides the fonts.alias file in
the X font directory itself, so there is no danger of overwriting one
package’s aliases with those of another.

For instance, the two packages ‘xfonts-base’ and
‘xfonts-base-transcoded’ may both install fonts into the directory
/usr/lib/X11/fonts/misc. They each place their fonts.alias files in
/etc/X11/fonts/misc/xfonts-base.alias and
/etc/X11/fonts/misc/xfonts-base-transcoded.alias (respectively).
update-fonts-alias concatenates these two files (as well as any others
that match /etc/X11/fonts/misc/*.alias) into

The format of fonts.alias files is described in the mkfontdir(1x) man‐
ual page.

An example of how to use update-fonts-alias in package maintainer
scripts is provided in the Debian Policy Manual.


-h, –help displays a brief usage message and exits.

update-fonts-alias takes one or more X font directory names to operate
on as operands. Only the final path component of the directory name
should be specified; e.g.,
update-fonts-alias 75dpi
is correct, while ‘update-fonts-alias /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/75dpi’
and ‘update-fonts-alias /usr/lib/X11/fonts/75dpi’ are not.

indicates the width of the terminal device in character cells.
This value is used for formatting diagnostic messages. If not
set, the terminal is queried using stty to determine its
width. If that fails, a value of ‘80’ is assumed.

usage error: one or more font directories must be provided
update-fonts-alias was invoked without operands. Supply one or
more X font directory names to operate on.

usage error: unrecognized option
update-fonts-alias was invoked with an unrecognized option argu‐
ment. Use only the options documented in “OPTIONS”, above.

fatal error: path to X font directory must be used
A directory name was supplied that was not an X font directory
name. Supply X font directory names only.

warning: absolute path directory was provided
Usage of absolute paths is deprecated. Use only the final com‐
ponent of the X font directory name for directory.

warning: directory does not exist or is not a directory
The supplied directory was invalid. update-fonts-alias skipped

0 update-fonts-alias ran successfully.

1 update-fonts-alias experienced a fatal error; see the section on
diagnostic messages above.

2 update-fonts-alias was invoked with invalid arguments.


See the Debian Bug Tracking System ⟨http://bugs.debian.org/
xfonts-utils⟩. If you wish to report a bug in update-fonts-alias,
please see /usr/share/doc/debian/bug-reporting.txt or the reportbug(1)


update-fonts-alias was written by Branden Robinson.



Debian Project 2004-11-11 update-fonts-alias(8)