Windows XP Look for Ubuntu


Like it or not fellow Ubuntu followers Microsoft Windows XP looks really good.  XP's fonts are excellent.  Ever wonder how you can get this look for Ubuntu?  You can.  You need to turn off the anti-aliasing of the fonts.  IMO Ubuntu does too much anti-alaising that the fonts end up looking a little blurry.  Windows Vista IMO has far worse looking fonts than XP using the new Aero interface.

This procedure is in no way trying to transform Ubuntu into XP.  I like many others think Windows XP has excellent looking fonts.

This procedure was taken from Ubuntu forums user calande.  I have added what I feel are some additional explanations to the procedure.  Without this person I would not have been able to bring this to you.  To view the thread from Ubuntu forums click here.  I thank this person very much.



Script for installation
I have a script to automate this entire procedure.  You can get the script here.  Script must be run as root and have 755 permission.  This procedure is also part of the fesity script section of the website.

Script for removal
If after doing this procedure you don't want the XP look on your system then please download my XP look for Ubuntu uninstall script here.  Once again the script requires root privelages with 755 permission.



If you decided to do the installation manually then proceed.  You will need to get the Microsoft core fonts.

Liscensing restrictions prevent Microsoft core fonts from being installed on Ubuntu by default.  However Microsoft does make the fonts available as a free download.

You have two methods in which to get the Microsoft core fonts.  


- Method #1:  apt-get msttcorefonts and unpack archive containing Tahoma fonts

You will have to enable the universe and multiverse repositories to do this if they are disabled.


sudo apt-get install msttcorefonts

Once the msttcorefonts package is installed you will notice that Tahoma and Tahoma Bold is missing.  You will need to extract Tahoma and Tahoma Bold from the zip file.  Tahoma is used for Microsoft desktop, title bars and menu fonts so if you are trying to get that XP look you will need the Tahoma regular and Tahoma Bold fonts.   Install Tahoma by doing the following in a terminal.

cd ~
wget http://www.stchman.com/tools/MS_fonts/tahoma.zip
sudo unzip -d /usr/share/fonts/truetype/msttcorefonts ~/tahoma.zip
sudo fc-cache -f -v
rm -f ~/tahoma.zip

What the preceding statement do is to download the tahoma.zip file to you home folder and unzip the archive to your msttcorefonts folder.  The fonts are then added to the font cache.  The .zip file is then removed as it is no longer needed.

- Method #2:  download tarball that contains all Microsoft fonts


I have a .tar.gz archive that contains all the Microsoft fonts including Tahoma.  To install them type the followiing in a terminal:

cd ~
wget http://www.stchman.com/tools/MS_fonts/msfonts.tbz
sudo tar -xvjpf ~/msfonts.tbz -C /usr/share/fonts/truetype/msttcorefonts
sudo fc-cache -f -v
rm -f ~/msfonts.tbz

The preceeding commands download the MS font archive to you home folder and unpack them in the msttcorefonts folder.  After that the font cache is them updated.  The archive is then removed as it is no longer needed.

Now that the fonts have been successfully added you may proceed.


Get the XML scripts

Now that the fonts are installed we will need to use the XML scripts to turn off the anti-aliasing.  Download the scripts here.  These scripts also have quite a few aliases so that the Microsoft core fonts are used mostly.

Unpack the scripts to your /etc/fonts folder by doing the following in a terminal:

sudo tar -xvjpf fontconfig.tbz -C /etc/fonts/

Change the system fonts fonts from the 
System--->Preferences--->Font menu.  A Font Preferences window will pop up.  Make the following changes:

Application font Tahoma 9 Point
Document font Tahoma 9 Point
Desktop font Tahoma 9 Point
Window Title Font Tahoma Bold 9 Point
Fixed Width Font Bitstream Vera Sans Mono 9 Point

Once this is done log out and log back in.  You will notice that your desktop and applications will look like XP with razor sharp fonts.

It has come to my attention that some of my readers have reported that a font size of 8 makes the font look somewhat jagged.  After a little reasearch Microsoft uses a patented technology called Cleartype.  As I said in the beginning of this article, Microsoft is great at making their fonts look great.  I have changed the font size to 9 as it offers the best look.


I hope this helps.




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