Nautilus and fonts

This will be quick because I’m doing something else, but I want to write this down and ask people about it. Why is it that Nautilus shows the same icon for all TTF files? Wouldn’t it be fairly simple to write a thumbnailer that showed two representative letters like “Ij” from each font (or some other letters if it didn’t contain the Latin alphabet)? And the same program would be the default application for TTF and would just show a sample from each font when you double-clicked a font’s icon in Nautilus. And there’d be an “install this font” button on the page, so you could download a font and install it without arsing around with dragging it to ~/.fonts. OS X has something like this and it’s dead useful. It would be simple to write in perl and I could do it in an evening. Has someone already done this and I haven’t found it and it’s just not shipped by default in Ubuntu so I’m not seeing it, or is there some reason it’d be a bad idea, or should I just do it?

15 Responses to “Nautilus and fonts”

  1. Uh, it actually used to do this!

  2. Denis says:

    There’s already a font thumbnailer in gnome-control-center. Its code is at but it has been removed and might be added back in the next version of Gnome. This lack of thumbnail and viewer might be temporary, and only with 2.24. Let’s hope so.

  3. Oh, that’s good to hear. Thanks. Good thing I asked.

  4. nona says:

    Yes, I was slightly irked that this functionality disappeared – from what I can tell from it was unintentional though. The fonts:/// functionality was purged from gnome-cc because gvfs didn’t support it (yet?), and in the process gnome-font-viewer and the thumbnailer were remove too. It seems 2.24 was released without anyone noticing, and while it’s going to be restored in 2.26 it seems nobody has the time to backport it to 2.24.

  5. Lasse Bigum says:

    I would think this also can be used for this purpose.

  6. Frank says:

    Is the font viewer thing in gnome control center the font app that you’d reach by going to fonts://? That one was discontinued during the GVS transition afaik. Just a lurker so i don’t know :)

  7. Chris says:

    Why rush with the GVFS transition if there are regressions?

    I guess this is caused by time based releases.

  8. Denis says:

    @Lasse: Gnome Specimen only works with fonts already installed.
    There’s also Fonty Python and Fontmatrix.

  9. Ryan Pavlik says:

    I’m on Ubuntu Hardy and I see previews (It shows Aa), at least when I browse ~/.fonts/ and also apparently works on my desktop. Haven’t upgraded to intrepid yet.

  10. I wrote most of the code to do this back in the gnome-vfs days (it was originally in a separate “fontilus” package, but was then merged with gnome-control-center).

    As no one has had time to update it for gvfs (including me), it is currently disabled. It’d be cool to get it all working again. The thumbnailer worked pretty well.

  11. There is code in bugzilla to bring fonts:// back to gvfs, BUT the desicion was made to not add it anymore mostly because we though (and still think) that we need a good program to do fonts management and that nautilus is most certainly not that program. ;-)

  12. Liam Quin says:

    There were some issues with it — e.g. Aa isn’t always the best string to use, e.g. to distinguish Japanese or Arabic fonts, and it died if you had more than a couple of thousand fonts in a folder, as I recall. It was/is a cool hack but not a good substitute for font management. The (sadly defunct) gfontviewer was useful, and fontmatrix is on the way to becoming the Linux font manager of choice, although it’s qt based. I’d like to see fonts:///// back too –Christian is right, nautilus isn’t a font manager; it’s also not an image manager, nor a music manager, but it shows previews of those files.

    Liam (Ankh)

  13. Pravin S says:

    I think we should add button in gnome-font-viewer so person can easily look at the content of font and install same
    also if person can install then there should be something for uninstalling font just a button like
    i think we should start such a development