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Better fonts for MSYS

 

December 13 2013

I discuss how to get better looking fonts for Microsoft Windows and MSYS.

==What is MSYS==

MSYS is a UNIX-like environment for Windows that, unlike Cygwin, makes native Windows binaries and not GPL-tainted. It is part of mingw and consists of a terminal program (a Windows port of RXVT) and some basic UNIX shell utilities. Since newer versions of MSYS require a special download manager to download, I use an older version (1.0.10) which is available in my software directory).

==Fonts in MSYS==

MSYS’s default font is the fairly ugly Courier. It is, because of limitations with the font rendering engine, difficult to get fonts to work with it. Indeed, it took me most of a day and some really ugly hacking to port a font to Windows that looks nice in MSYS.

==The WTm font==

The font I have ported is called “WTm”. The name is shortened from WTerm, which is my own in-house version of Cousine; for technical reasons, I had to shorten its name when porting it to Windows. It can be downloaded from here:

http://samiam.org/fonts/terminal/WTerm/WTm.fon
Once downloaded and installed (double-click on a font and click “install” to install it), MSYS can be altered to use this font by changing the line in msys.bat that invokes rxvt to look like this:

start rxvt -backspacekey ^H -sl 2500 -fg #00c000 -bg #000000 -sr -fn WTm -tnmsys -geometry 80x25 -e /bin/sh --login -i

Ovserve the “-fn WTm”

==Another font: Misc-Fixed==

X11 has a font called “Misc fixed” that many, including myself, really like. There is a Windows package of the X11 Misc Fixed fonts for Windows prepared by Sergey Khorev; while his webpage doesn't have an explicit license, the .fon file says all fonts are public domain.

I have a mirror of this font here, in the file X11.fon:

http://samiam.org/fonts/terminal/
To get this font to look nice in MSYS, install it in Windows, then the relevant line in msys.bat might look like:

start rxvt -backspacekey ^H -sl 2500 -fg #00c000 -bg #000000 -sr -fn "X11 Misc Fixed-15" -tn msys -geometry 80x25 -e /bin/sh --login -i

==And another terminal font==

While it doesn’t work in MSYS, another attrative terminal font for Windows and X11 is Zevv’s Peep font. The font is available under the MIT license; I have a mirror of it here:

http://samiam.org/fonts/terminal/zevv-peep/

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