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       setfont - load EGA/VGA console screen font


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


       The setfont command reads a font from the file 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
       simultaneously. It can make console perception worse (loss  of  intensity  and  even  some


       The  standard  Linux  font  format  is  the  PSF  font.   It  has a header describing font
       properties 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 formats 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
       framebuffer 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
       distance. The default character height will be the number N  inferred  from  the  font  or
       specified  by  option.  However, the user can specify a different character height H using
       the -h option.


       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
       program output is coded as UTF-8 (see utf-8(7)), and  converts  that  to  Unicode  (ucs2).
       Otherwise,  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
       sometimes  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
       render 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)