Zack's Kernel News

Zack's Kernel News

Article from Issue 279/2024

Chronicler Zack Brown reports on the little links that bring us closer within the Linux kernel community.

Fonts in the Kernel

Recently, Bagas Sanjaya said, "The Linux kernel documentation is primarily composed of text (both prose and code snippets) and a few images. Hence, making the text easy to read by proper typography choices is crucial." He went on, "The problem is depending on the serif font selected by system, the docs text (especially long passages) can be hard and uncomfortable to read. For developers reading the docs on multiple devices, the appearence may look inconsistent."

To solve this, he proposed, "Uniform the font choices by leveraging web fonts. Most of people reading the kernel docs should already have modern browser that supports this feature (e.g. Chrome/Chromium and Firefox). The fonts are downloaded automatically when loading the page, but only if the reader [doesn't] already have ones installed locally. Subsequent docs page loading will use the browser cache to retrieve the fonts. If for some reasons the fonts fail to load, the browser will fall back to fallback fonts commonly seen on other sites."

Therefore, he said, in terms of which fonts to include in the kernel source tree, "we settle down on IBM Plex Sans (sans-serif), IBM Plex Mono (monospace), and Newsreader (serif). All these fonts are licensed under OFL 1.1 [SIL Open Font License] and can be distributed alongside the kernel docs."


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