update-fonts-scale Man page

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


update-fonts-scale – generate fonts.scale files


update-fonts-scale [OPTION] directory …


update-fonts-scale assembles a fonts.scale file in an X font directory
using one or more scale 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 scalable fonts
usable by the X Window System whose X LFD font names are not in the
font files themselves, but may be invoked at any time to reconstruct
fonts.scale files. For each directory, which is either an absolute
path to an X font directory or (preferably) simply the last component
of its path (such as ‘75dpi’ or ‘misc’), update-fonts-scale will assem‐
ble either /usr/lib/X11/fonts/directory/fonts.scale or
/usr/share/fonts/X11/directory/fonts.scale from the index files found
at /etc/X11/fonts/directory/package.scale, where package is the name of
the package installing the fonts.

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

For instance, the two packages ‘xfonts-scalable’ (real) and
‘xfonts-nifty’ (hypothetical) may both install fonts into the directory
/usr/lib/X11/fonts/Type1. They each place their fonts.scale files in
/etc/X11/fonts/Type1/xfonts-scalable.scale and
/etc/X11/fonts/Type1/xfonts-nifty.scale (respectively).
update-fonts-scale concatenates these two files (as well as any others
that match /etc/X11/fonts/Type1/*.scale) into

The format for fonts.scale files is given in the mkfontdir(1x) manual

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


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

update-fonts-scale 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-scale 75dpi
is correct, while ‘update-fonts-scale /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/75dpi’
and ‘update-fonts-scale /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.

DEBUG determines whether low-level diagnostic messages are issued to
standard error output. A null (empty) or unset value indicates
that they are not, and a non-null value indicates that they are.

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

usage error: unrecognized option
update-fonts-scale 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-scale skipped

Notes are only displayed under special circumstances; see “ENVIRON‐
MENT”. above.

note: index references nonexistent font file filename
The index file /etc/X11/fonts/directory/package.scale, refers to
a nonexistent font file, filename. This is normal when package
has been removed, but not purged from the system. In other cir‐
cumstances, it likely indicates an error in package.

0 update-fonts-scale ran successfully.

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

2 update-fonts-scale 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-scale,
please see /usr/share/doc/debian/bug-reporting.txt or the reportbug(1)


update-fonts-scale was written by Branden Robinson.



Debian Project 2004-11-12 update-fonts-scale(8)