Generating up-to-date TTF files for the Terminus font

On in “Devstuff” by Tblue7 comments
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Look here for the most recent version of Terminus (TTF)!

My favourite monospaced programming font is Terminus — I use it on each of my two machines.

The downloadable tarball contains scripts to generate versions of the font which can be read e. g. by the X server or used with a Linux TTY. That works wonderfully.

My old favourite text editor (Geany) used fontconfig to manage fonts, so I didn’t have to to change anything to make Terminus work with it. But recently I switched to a more feature-rich IDE: Netbeans. Since Netbeans is a Java application, it cannot use the font files which the X server (and fontconfig) can read but instead needs TTF files.

Luckily, there is a TTF version of Terminus available on the web. It works with Java (and Netbeans, too), but that’s where my problems began: Firstly, the font seems to miss the €uro symbol and secondly, it uses slanted single quotes, which simply look ugly to me (too much like backticks). It also seems to be based on an extremely old release of the Terminus font (dated back to 2004; that wouldn’t even bother me that much if it would work flawlessly).

So what’s the solution? I figured out how to generate my own TTF version of Terminus (even with outlines!) which fixes all my problems I mentioned above. It isn’t perfect (well, the outlines aren’t), but it works. Better than nothing, right?

Since I am such a generous person (ahem), I decided to make the files available to the public. You can get them at; please read the README.txt file for licensing information.

To make your JRE aware of the fonts, copy them to its font directory (/opt/java/jre/lib/fonts on Arch Linux).

Some closing and/or useful remarks:

  • According to commentator Infinality:

    [The fonts] must be rendered in monochrome B/W. If you render them in grayscale or subpixel they will be smeary.

    Thanks for the hint!

  • The “ge1” patch has been applied to the BDF source files.

  • Beware of the italic version: It’s extremely ugly (it has been generated automatically by mkitalic).

  • I only tested the fonts on Linux and with Sun’s JRE. That means I didn’t test how the font outlines look (as I said above, some of them are not totally equal to the bitmaps), since Java uses the embedded bitmaps (which should be fine, since I didn’t alter them).

  • Tools I used to generate the fonts: FontForge, AutoTrace.

  • For more information on how I actually generated the TTF files, read Now you can easily generate your own TTF versions of the Terminus font.

  • Happy coding!

Comment by vim_commando

You sir just made my day. Getting Terminus into netbeans just made it that much more attractive to use.

Comment by Hans Erik

I have just downloaded and test your latest Terminus version with the euro sign. The euro sign is nice, but the old version had a correct content for uppercase of the Scandinavian character Æ. Can it be fixed?


Hans Erik

Comment by Tblue

Hans Erik: Both the ‘æ’ and ‘Æ’ characters look fine to me using Netbeans. Which application are you using? Have you tried using the original Terminus font (if that’s possible)?

Comment by Infinality

Thank you! The font files you provided are working very nicely, however it may be good to stress that they must be rendered in monochrome B/W. If you render them in grayscale or subpixel they will be smeary.

Thank you for your work on this. I haven’t found a better TTF build of Terminus anywhere else (and I’ve looked).

Comment by Din

It is definately the best Terminus build!

Thank you very much for it.

I have noticed that vertical lines does not looks solid because there are space between vertical lines of pseudo graphic symbols (for example 9474, 9500, 9508, 9553).

I have tried to change the values of “Typo Ascender” parameter from 833 to 827 and Typo Descender from -167 to -161. The spaces disapeared, but I am not shure how to change this values correctly.

Is it possible to fix this?

Comment by IGnatius T Foobar

Thanks for the TTF files; they are much appreciated. I don’t use Netbeans, but it’s nice having Terminus on my system so I can use it in vi on a daily basis.

Comment by Sam

Thanks for doing this. I recently tried out a distro of Linux with Terminus and really wanted to bring that font over to my Mac. Other TTF files I downloaded did not render very well in Lion, until I stumbled onto your version.