Installing some Microsoft fonts in Linux

You cannot get away from Microsoft’s hauting all the time. And our fight for open standards, including open document, is still miles ahead. We need workarounds, in other words.

Scenario 1: You just received a Microsoft Word document from a friend or client, which uses Arial as the basic font. The document has a special layout which depends on that font. However, your Linux system does not have an Arial font so that you could still view the document without any layout glitch.

Scenario 2: You are asked by your client or boss to edit a document, which official font is Times New Roman. The problem is you don’t have Times New Roman in your Linux system.

Solution for Ubuntu or any Debian-derived Linux system:

  1. Fire up a terminal (Konsole or Gnome Terminal).
  2. At the terminal, enter this command: sudo apt-get install msttcorefonts
  3. Close all your open documents and reload Better yet, restart your X (by closing all open programs and press Alt-Ctrl-Backspage).

The msttcorefonts package contains the following Microsoft fonts: Andale, Arial, Comic, Courier, Georgia, Impact, Times New Roman, Trebuchet MS, Verdana and Webdings.

Here’s a problem, though. The only other popular fonts not included in the msttcorefonts package are Arial Narrow and Tahoma. Of course, we don’t have a close alternative to Tahoma. Well, let’s give it to Microsoft; Tahoma is MS’ corporate font and we don’t need to use the font as we don’t want to get associated to the software monopoly giant. (For Linux, there is no default ‘corporate’ font for all distributions but I heard that Deja Vu is being groomed to be one.)

And for Arial Narrow, if the consideration is the font’s width, I recommend Lohit Tamil as an alternative.

Just be patient in negotiating with your client or boss. Otherwise, contact me to help you out.

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