Manually installing a new font on Linux

One of my sons is learning Ancient Greek, as so had to install a good quality Ancient Greek font on his machine.

After looking at what was available we settled on the Unicode Galatia font from SIL.

SIL publishes a number of free, high-quality, TrueType fonts for ancient languages that a lot of scholars use. Many of these, including Galatia, are available as Unicode fonts.

There is an .exe installer package for Windows, as well as a .deb package for Debian based Linux systems.

To install on my Fedora 19 workstation I downloaded the GalSIL21.zip archive.

In keeping with my practice of installing anything that doesn’t come in an rpm to either /opt, /usr/local or another volume I created a /usr/local/share/fonts/sil-galatia directory for the new fonts.

Then I extracted the .ttf files and copied to this new directory.

To make the system recognize the new fonts I ran the following command as root while in the new sil-galatia directory:

fc-cache -f -v

That’s all there is to it. In Fedora 19 even LibreOffice will recognize the change (yay!).

Once the font is installed there’s also the small matter of being able to actually type Greek characters. To do that you’ll need to add an additional keyboard to the default (on my system that’s the US English keyboard).

For Ancient Greek the keyboard to add is Greek (polytonic).

On Windows 7 just go to Control Panel… Change Keyboards… Change Keyboards… Add… Greek… Polytonic.

In Fedora 19’s Gnome 3 environment you need to open up Settings… Region & Language… Input Sources (click “+”)… Add an Input Source (click the 3 vertical dots, a/k/a “More”)… scroll to the bottom of the list an click Other… Greek (polytonic) and Add.

There is a “Greek, Ancient (to 1453)” keyboard available in Gnome 3, but it requires the use of the old style X bitmap fonts, so go with the polytonic keyboard instead.

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About phil

My name is Phil Lembo. In my day job I’m an enterprise IT architect for a leading distribution and services company. The rest of my time I try to maintain a semi-normal family life in the suburbs of Raleigh, NC. E-mail me at philipATlembobrothersDOTcom. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own and not those of my employers, past, present or future (except where I quote others, who will need to accept responsibility for their own rants).