Friday, February 27, 2009

More on why fonts suck

Again, I'm amazed at how a simple task can be made difficult by Microsoft.

Today, I decided I'd like to install the Liberation fonts for use in Windows - I prefer them as default fonts when I browse the web. So I downloaded the distribution file, unzipped it, and proceeded to copy the TTF files into the Fonts directory. I was greeted with a confusing message that Windows was still using the font files, and couldn't copy them.

I rebooted, and tried again. Windows gave me the same message. No luck.

Frustrated, I looked up the instructions and realized that Microsoft wants you to use the menu action File - Install New Font. So I try that - and get the same error.

I'm completely unable to install fonts as a local user on my Windows system. At work, we are not given Administrator access, in case we might mess up our desktop system. That's fine; I never login as root under Linux, so separation of privilege is okay with me. But where this separation just works under Linux, it's broken under Windows.

Why does this need to be so complicated with Windows? I'm just installing a font.

When I ran Linux at work, if I wanted to install fonts as a local user, I just copied the TTF files into my .fonts directory. That's a directory in my home directory, not a system-wide setting. It was always easy! Not so under Windows.


  1. Probably a stupid question, but did you try copying the fonts one at a time? Click and drag, not copy and paste, too. That really pissed me off in Windows. When I moved to Linux it was a welcome relief that the fonts folders were just folders. Nothing special about them, just the place programs went to look for fonts.

  2. Yup, I tried a bunch of different things: copying fonts one at a time, all at once, rebooting, using the File menu, ..

    It seems clear that Microsoft only wants the systems administrator to install fonts on Windows. Non-admin users cannot install their own fonts. This is broken behavior to me, because it's so easy to install my own (local) fonts under Linux.

  3. In Windows, a Font can be a Virus. Probably.

    Obviously, you should not be allowed near this windows computer, because every configuration you mess with brings it closer and closer to destroying everything.

  4. The solution I found is incredibly stupid. Put the fonts somewhere else and create a symbolic link in the Fonts folder. I don't have access to actually DO anything to the other font files, or to add fonts, but I can put in a link.


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