SETFONT(8)                            International Support                            SETFONT(8)

       setfont - load EGA/VGA console screen font

       setfont  [-O font+umap.orig] [-o font.orig] [-om cmap.orig] [-ou umap.orig] [-N] [font.new
       ...]  [-m cmap] [-u umap] [-C console] [-hH] [-v] [-V]

       The setfont command reads a font from the file font.new and  loads  it  into  the  EGA/VGA
       character  generator,  and optionally outputs the previous font.  It can also load various
       mapping tables and output the previous versions.

       If no args are given (or only the option -N for some number N), then a default (8xN)  font
       is  loaded (see below).  One may give several small fonts, all containing a Unicode table,
       and setfont will combine them and load the union.  Typical use:

              Load a default font.

       setfont drdos8x16
              Load a given font (here the 448-glyph drdos font).

       setfont cybercafe -u cybercafe
              Load a given font that does not have a Unicode map and provide one explicitly.

       setfont LatArCyrHeb-19 -m 8859-2
              Load a given font (here a 512-glyph font  combining  several  character  sets)  and
              indicate that one's local character set is ISO 8859-2.

       Note:  if  a font has more than 256 glyphs, only 8 out of 16 colors can be used simultane‐
       ously. It can make console perception worse (loss of intensity and even some colors).

       The standard Linux font format is the PSF font.  It has a header describing  font  proper‐
       ties  like character size, followed by the glyph bitmaps, optionally followed by a Unicode
       mapping table giving the Unicode value for each glyph.  Several other (obsolete) font for‐
       mats  are  recognized.  If the input file has code page format (probably with suffix .cp),
       containing three fonts with sizes e.g. 8x8, 8x14 and 8x16, then one of the options  -8  or
       -14  or  -16  must  be  used to select one.  Raw font files are binary files of size 256*N
       bytes, containing bit images for each of 256 characters, one byte per  scan  line,  and  N
       bytes per character (0 < N <= 32).  Most fonts have a width of 8 bits, but with the frame‐
       buffer device (fb) other widths can be used.

       The program setfont has no built-in knowledge of VGA video modes, but just asks the kernel
       to  load  the  character  ROM of the video card with certain bitmaps. However, since Linux
       1.3.1 the kernel knows enough about EGA/VGA video modes to select a  different  line  dis‐
       tance.  The default character height will be the number N inferred from the font or speci‐
       fied by option. However, the user can specify a different character height H using the  -h

       Several  mappings are involved in the path from user program output to console display. If
       the console is in utf8 mode (see unicode_start(1)) then the kernel expects that user  pro‐
       gram output is coded as UTF-8 (see utf-8(7)), and converts that to Unicode (ucs2).  Other‐
       wise, a translation table is used from the 8-bit program output to 16-bit Unicode  values.
       Such  a  translation table is called a Unicode console map.  There are four of them: three
       built into the kernel, the fourth settable using the -m  option  of  setfont.   An  escape
       sequence  chooses between these four tables; after loading a cmap, setfont will output the
       escape sequence Esc ( K that makes it the active translation.

       Suitable arguments for the -m option are for example 8859-1, 8859-2, ..., 8859-15,  cp437,
       ..., cp1250.

       Given the Unicode value of the symbol to be displayed, the kernel finds the right glyph in
       the font using the Unicode mapping info of the font and displays it.

       Old fonts do not have Unicode mapping info, and in order to handle them there are  direct-
       to-font maps (also loaded using -m) that give a correspondence between user bytes and font
       positions.  The most common correspondence is the one given in  the  file  trivial  (where
       user  byte  values  are used directly as font positions).  Other correspondences are some‐
       times preferable since the PC video hardware expects line drawing  characters  in  certain
       font positions.

       Giving  a  -m  none  argument inhibits the loading and activation of a mapping table.  The
       previous console map can be saved to a file using the -om file option.  These  options  of
       setfont render mapscrn(8) obsolete. (However, it may be useful to read that man page.)

       The  correspondence  between  the  glyphs in the font and Unicode values is described by a
       Unicode mapping table.  Many fonts have a Unicode mapping table included in the font file,
       and  an explicit table can be indicated using the -u option. The program setfont will load
       such a Unicode mapping table, unless a -u none argument is  given.  The  previous  Unicode
       mapping  table will be saved as part of the saved font file when the -O option is used. It
       can be saved to a separate file using the -ou file option.  These options of setfont  ren‐
       der loadunimap(8) obsolete.

       The  Unicode  mapping  table  should  assign  some  glyph to the `missing character' value
       U+fffd, otherwise missing characters are not translated, giving a usually  very  confusing

       Usually  no  mapping  table is needed, and a Unicode mapping table is already contained in
       the font (sometimes this is indicated by the .psfu extension), so that most users need not
       worry about the precise meaning and functioning of these mapping tables.

       One may add a Unicode mapping table to a psf font using psfaddtable(1).

       -h H   Override font height.

       -m file
              Load console map or Unicode console map from file.

       -o file
              Save previous font in file.

       -O file
              Save previous font and Unicode map in file.

       -om file
              Store console map in file.

       -ou file
              Save previous Unicode map in file.

       -u file
              Load Unicode table describing the font from file.

       -C console
              Set the font for the indicated console. (May require root permissions.)

       -v     Be verbose.

       -V     Print version and exit.

       PC  video hardware allows one to use the "intensity" bit either to indicate brightness, or
       to address 512 (instead of 256) glyphs in the font. So, if the  font  has  more  than  256
       glyphs, the console will be reduced to 8 (instead of 16) colors.

       /usr/share/consolefonts  is the default font directory.  /usr/share/unimaps is the default
       directory for Unicode maps.  /usr/share/consoletrans is the default directory  for  screen
       mappings.   The  default  font is a file default (or default8xN if the -N option was given
       for some number N) perhaps with suitable extension (like .psf).

       psfaddtable(1), unicode_start(1), loadunimap(8), utf-8(7), mapscrn(8)

                                           11 Feb 2001                                 SETFONT(8)


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