Microsoft fonts for Slackware

I was bitten by the whole "crappy non-enlargable web fonts issue when I removed Dropline GNOME and upgraded to Slackware 12. Basically, the font that Yahoo was using for its news article text was hosed. It was trying to use, in this order, Arial, Helvetica, clean, sans-serif. Now, Slack doesn't come with the first two, but it does have a "clean", and that's the crappy non-scalable font you see.

(As an aside, running fc-match arial actually does show for me that it's aliased to DejaVu Sans, which would be totally cool with me. Same with Helvetica. But for some reason I don't understand, firefox is ignoring this and jumping to the "clean" font. If someone knows why, enlighten me, please!)

My eventual solution was to install the Microsoft Arial font. Along the way, I made some SlackBuild scripts, and here they are. (Apparently I can't just bundle the font and give it to you, as it would be a violation of the distribution terms.)

Files to Get

Get cabextract and install it. I have a cabextract package for Slackware 12 here for your convenience, if you so desire.

(And now, a quick note: if you only want Arial, then you just need msftfonts-arial.SlackBuild, slack-desc-arial, arial32.exe, and arialb32.exe.)

Grab all these files and put them in the same temp directory somewhere:

Building and Installing the Package

If you just want the Arial font (which should be enough to get by with if you feel like you are somehow polluting your system, which, incidentally, you are :-)) then run sh msftfonts-arial.SlackBuild (as root, preferably) and the package will then be found in /tmp/build/msftfonts-arial-1.0-noarch-1beej.tgz.

If you want all the fonts, run sh msftfonts.SlackBuild (as root, preferably) and the package will then be found in /tmp/build/msftfonts-1.0-noarch-1beej.tgz.

Then just installpkg that puppy.

(It is almost certainly illegal for you to distribute the resultant package, so don't do it.)


This whole thing was inspired by a similar tool for RPM packages by . You can also download the fonts from him.

The cabextract tool for extracting files from the EXEs.

Thread on alt.os.linux.slackware about the issue.


Brian "Beej Jorgensen" Hall, .