Any reader (assuming I still have any) with a long memory will know that I have a thing about Gill Sans, the font.
Actually, I have a thing about Eric Gill, the guy who designed it in the late 1920s. He was a very strange fellow indeed! By all accounts a devout Catholic, he nevertheless found time to have an affair with his sister, sex with his dog and do a bit of child abuse on the side. Regardless, he was a great sculptor, type face designer and all-round artist. When I was in London last month, I was able to take a quick trip to Broadcasting House in Portland Place, which is graced by a great sculpture and a couple of bas-reliefs of his:
That’s Ariel between Wisdom and Gaiety, the latter of which I suspect Eric to have been overly familiar with!
Anyway, I digress.
The point is, if you’re running Linux and you want the Gill Sans font, how do you get it, because it’s certainly not baked-in to any distros I know of?!
Well, the method I’ve always used in the past is to visit the Microsoft website and download the Euro fonts update for Publisher 98 (my, how long ago that seems!) in an XP (virtual) machine and copy the relevant TTF files across to the Linux box, because that font is included for free in that update. (Similarly, you get Frutiger Linotype -another nice font, this time designed by Adrian Frutiger in the early 1970s- for nothing if you install ye ancient Microsoft Reader).
This approach is, of course, completely in breach of the license for those fonts and thus A Very Bad Thing To Do (though it works). So don’t do it (even though you can). And I haven’t done it for ages as a result of having seen the licensing light, honest!
So that option is really (morally) out of the question these days.
So what else can you do? Well, why not instead visit this website and download the blighters with, apparently, no licensing restrictions at all?! Good question… As far as I know, it is actually impossible to produce a Gill Sans font that is legal and legitimate, because the font is copyrighted up to its ears, never mind licensing restrictions. So, I don’t know where those downloads come from originally, and I’m pretty sure that they are not entirely kosher -though I could be wrong and I would hate to cast aspersions. So, download them and use them as your conscience dictates.
I suppose you could always buy the thing, too, if you really felt like it (and had the better part of $1000 to spare!)
Either way (and here comes the technical stuff for the benefit of my forgetful brain): To install fonts in bulk (at least on Debian 6, ‘Squeeze’): copy them to the .fonts folder in your home directory (e.g., /home/hjr/.fonts), and then issue the commands:
su - root fc-cache -f -v
If there isn’t a .fonts folder already in your home directory, just create one.
Or, you can install them individually by double-clicking the downloaded/copied/purchased ttf file and hitting the Install Font button. The downloaded files can be deleted afterwards, because this process copies the font files to your /home/<name>/.fonts file.