Noteworthy Linux console fonts

I spend most of my time working at the console, with an array of text-based programs running against the framebuffer. The default console font is acceptable, but can be kind of clunky, particularly when a finer grain of font would be preferable.

A clean installation of Arch Linux (or Crux Linux, because for what I can tell there’s not much difference in the font selection between the two) has a few more interesting fonts available, but it’s a little difficult to tell which ones are which. As far as I can tell there is no gallery of Linux terminal fonts anywhere; if you know of one, please tell.

In Arch, fonts are located at /usr/share/kbd/consolefonts, although sometimes a package installs a font in an unusual or isolated place. The bulk of what you see there is probably a specific character set for an individual language or alphabet.

On the other hand, some are not. Here are six or seven that are a little more interesting. This is displayed against a 1600×1200 framebuffer, so it may be that the particular size you want will require a resolution that your hardware might not support. You can set and display a font with these commands:

setfont (name-of-font-here)


A strong contrast to the run-of-the-mill default font. It has a very techno feel, but tends to push letters together in some places, which might make it tough to read.



I don’t know what else to call it but that; it’s obviously intended for a specific alphabet set, but it stands out mostly because the letter shapes are quite different from normal. I am not sure if those scrambled characters are corrupted, or intended.



The almighty Terminus font, shown here as Lat2-Terminus. This is probably my favorite, but I admit when I want it I install a package that gives me a 12-point version.


Greek Polytonic

Interesting in that it opens up a lot of “white space” (black space?) between lines, and has a character set that seems more blocked and less rounded in most places.


9×16 Medieval

Way out of the ordinary, this is a font with real flavor. Readability is only so-so, but if you throw this into your NetHack session, you’ll dig it.


Sun 12×22

A 12×22 font is enormous on one hand, but on the other, it’s probably the cleanest and sharpest on a high-resolution screen. You’ll lose a little screen space to this one, but you’ll be quite happy with the clarity. Good for typing or editing over long periods of time; bad for paneling and splitting up a console window … because suddenly there’s no space.



A scriptlike font, a little less upright and a little more relaxed. Like some of the others, this is a little smeared at times, but much more casual than the default series. What do you call it? t.


That’s all I have today. Keep in mind that these are fonts for the console, and won’t necessarily work in a terminal emulator in a graphical desktop. Chances are though, there’s a rendition of it somewhere that will work with X. ;)

P.S.: Ubuntu users, you’ll have to skim through your console fonts yourself. A lot looked different in there, when I looked last.

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6 Responses to “Noteworthy Linux console fonts”

  1. 1 jazz 2009/08/24 at 9:54 PM


    THe font links worked a few minutes ago :( Now, instead of downloading they just re-link back to the image. Were there legal issues? I was
    going to try the fonts myself, but the problem exists for links, links-graphic, and w3m browsers.

    • 2 K.Mandla 2009/08/25 at 7:04 AM

      Ah, that might be a little confusing. That’s just the file name that it appears under in your font folder. There’s nothing to download; they should already be in your system, installed by default.

      Maybe I should change that so it doesn’t look like a download link. …

      • 3 jazz 2009/08/25 at 11:37 PM

        that’s ok. Terminus I always download, but the others seem to either belong to an RPM or something. Besides, I lean more towards Sans-type fonts. Cybercafe is now loaded, tho I am 50-50 on it; we’ll see in the next couple of days. Thanks for the blog!

  2. 4 scott 2010/06/08 at 5:15 PM

    Please allow me to shamelessly promote my own fixed6x11

  1. 1 fbterm: Birth of the cool for the console « Motho ke motho ka botho Trackback on 2010/05/28 at 10:54 AM

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