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I am getting below error while using xterm on RHEL 7.2:

xterm: cannot load font -misc-fixed-medium-r-semicondensed--13-120-75-75-c-60-iso10646-1

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  • The given answer is unsatisfactory because it suggests installing all x11 font packages, whether or not needed. Commented Mar 24, 2018 at 1:36

3 Answers 3

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With Redhat7 (or CentOS7), you need only two packages for bitmap-fonts with xterm. One package (xorg-x11-fonts-misc) covers all but a special case for the menus. Other systems will use different package names (and divide up the fonts in different ways).

Here's a listing from a script (find-xterm-fonts) which I wrote for checking whether the fonts needed by xterm are installed:

# opening /usr/share/X11/app-defaults/XTerm
    *SimpleMenu*menuLabel.font: -adobe-helvetica-bold-r-normal--*-120-*-*-*-*-iso8859-*
    *VT100.font1:       nil2
    *VT100.font2:       5x7
    *VT100.font3:       6x10
    *VT100.font4:       7x13
    *VT100.font5:       9x15
    *VT100.font6:       10x20
    *VT100.utf8Fonts.font2: -misc-fixed-medium-r-normal--8-80-75-75-c-50-iso10646-1
    *VT100.utf8Fonts.font:  -misc-fixed-medium-r-semicondensed--13-120-75-75-c-60-iso10646-1
    *VT100.utf8Fonts.font3: -misc-fixed-medium-r-normal--14-130-75-75-c-70-iso10646-1
    *VT100.utf8Fonts.font4: -misc-fixed-medium-r-normal--13-120-75-75-c-80-iso10646-1
    *VT100.utf8Fonts.font5: -misc-fixed-medium-r-normal--18-120-100-100-c-90-iso10646-1
    *VT100.utf8Fonts.font6: -misc-fixed-medium-r-normal--20-200-75-75-c-100-iso10646-1
    *tek4014*font2: 8x13
    *tek4014*font3: 6x13
# opening /usr/share/X11/app-defaults/UXTerm
    *VT100.font2:   -misc-fixed-medium-r-normal--8-80-75-75-c-50-iso10646-1
    *VT100.font:    -misc-fixed-medium-r-semicondensed--13-120-75-75-c-60-iso10646-1
    *VT100.font3:   -misc-fixed-medium-r-normal--14-130-75-75-c-70-iso10646-1
    *VT100.font4:   -misc-fixed-medium-r-normal--13-120-75-75-c-80-iso10646-1
    *VT100.font5:   -misc-fixed-medium-r-normal--18-120-100-100-c-90-iso10646-1
    *VT100.font6:   -misc-fixed-medium-r-normal--20-200-75-75-c-100-iso10646-1
# opening /usr/share/X11/app-defaults/KOI8RXTerm
    *VT100.font:    -misc-fixed-medium-r-semicondensed--13-120-75-75-c-60-koi8-r
    *VT100.font2:   -misc-fixed-medium-r-normal--8-80-75-75-c-50-koi8-r
    *VT100.font3:   -misc-fixed-medium-r-normal--14-130-75-75-c-70-koi8-r
    *VT100.font4:   -misc-fixed-medium-r-normal--13-120-75-75-c-80-koi8-r
    *VT100.font5:   -misc-fixed-medium-r-normal--18-120-100-100-c-90-koi8-r
    *VT100.font6:   -misc-fixed-medium-r-normal--20-200-75-75-c-100-koi8-r

Font-files used:
    /usr/share/X11/fonts/100dpi/helvB12-ISO8859-15.pcf.gz
    -> XTerm*SimpleMenu*menuLabel.font
    /usr/share/X11/fonts/misc/10x20-ISO8859-1.pcf.gz
    -> XTerm*VT100.font6
    /usr/share/X11/fonts/misc/10x20-KOI8-R.pcf.gz
    -> KOI8RXTerm*VT100.font6
    /usr/share/X11/fonts/misc/10x20.pcf.gz
    -> UXTerm*VT100.font6
    -> XTerm*VT100.utf8Fonts.font6
    /usr/share/X11/fonts/misc/5x7-ISO8859-1.pcf.gz
    -> XTerm*VT100.font2
    /usr/share/X11/fonts/misc/5x8-KOI8-R.pcf.gz
    -> KOI8RXTerm*VT100.font2
    /usr/share/X11/fonts/misc/5x8.pcf.gz
    -> UXTerm*VT100.font2
    -> XTerm*VT100.utf8Fonts.font2
    /usr/share/X11/fonts/misc/6x10-ISO8859-1.pcf.gz
    -> XTerm*VT100.font3
    /usr/share/X11/fonts/misc/6x13-ISO8859-1.pcf.gz
    -> XTerm*tek4014*font3
    /usr/share/X11/fonts/misc/6x13-KOI8-R.pcf.gz
    -> KOI8RXTerm*VT100.font
    /usr/share/X11/fonts/misc/6x13.pcf.gz
    -> UXTerm*VT100.font
    -> XTerm*VT100.utf8Fonts.font
    /usr/share/X11/fonts/misc/7x13-ISO8859-1.pcf.gz
    -> XTerm*VT100.font4
    /usr/share/X11/fonts/misc/7x14-KOI8-R.pcf.gz
    -> KOI8RXTerm*VT100.font3
    /usr/share/X11/fonts/misc/7x14.pcf.gz
    -> UXTerm*VT100.font3
    -> XTerm*VT100.utf8Fonts.font3
    /usr/share/X11/fonts/misc/8x13-ISO8859-1.pcf.gz
    -> XTerm*tek4014*font2
    /usr/share/X11/fonts/misc/8x13-KOI8-R.pcf.gz
    -> KOI8RXTerm*VT100.font4
    /usr/share/X11/fonts/misc/8x13.pcf.gz
    -> UXTerm*VT100.font4
    -> XTerm*VT100.utf8Fonts.font4
    /usr/share/X11/fonts/misc/9x15-ISO8859-1.pcf.gz
    -> XTerm*VT100.font5
    /usr/share/X11/fonts/misc/9x18-KOI8-R.pcf.gz
    -> KOI8RXTerm*VT100.font5
    /usr/share/X11/fonts/misc/9x18.pcf.gz
    -> UXTerm*VT100.font5
    -> XTerm*VT100.utf8Fonts.font5
    /usr/share/X11/fonts/misc/nil2.pcf.gz
    -> XTerm*VT100.font1

No font-files missing

Packages providing font-files:

xorg-x11-fonts-ISO8859-15-100dpi-7.5-9.el7.noarch
    /usr/share/X11/fonts/100dpi/helvB12-ISO8859-15.pcf.gz
xorg-x11-fonts-misc-7.5-9.el7.noarch
    /usr/share/X11/fonts/misc/10x20-ISO8859-1.pcf.gz
    /usr/share/X11/fonts/misc/10x20-KOI8-R.pcf.gz
    /usr/share/X11/fonts/misc/10x20.pcf.gz
    /usr/share/X11/fonts/misc/5x7-ISO8859-1.pcf.gz
    /usr/share/X11/fonts/misc/5x8-KOI8-R.pcf.gz
    /usr/share/X11/fonts/misc/5x8.pcf.gz
    /usr/share/X11/fonts/misc/6x10-ISO8859-1.pcf.gz
    /usr/share/X11/fonts/misc/6x13-ISO8859-1.pcf.gz
    /usr/share/X11/fonts/misc/6x13-KOI8-R.pcf.gz
    /usr/share/X11/fonts/misc/6x13.pcf.gz
    /usr/share/X11/fonts/misc/7x13-ISO8859-1.pcf.gz
    /usr/share/X11/fonts/misc/7x14-KOI8-R.pcf.gz
    /usr/share/X11/fonts/misc/7x14.pcf.gz
    /usr/share/X11/fonts/misc/8x13-ISO8859-1.pcf.gz
    /usr/share/X11/fonts/misc/8x13-KOI8-R.pcf.gz
    /usr/share/X11/fonts/misc/8x13.pcf.gz
    /usr/share/X11/fonts/misc/9x15-ISO8859-1.pcf.gz
    /usr/share/X11/fonts/misc/9x18-KOI8-R.pcf.gz
    /usr/share/X11/fonts/misc/9x18.pcf.gz
    /usr/share/X11/fonts/misc/nil2.pcf.gz
4

I looked for missing fonts and found that xorg-x11-fonts are missing. So I tried to install the missing fonts by below yum command

# yum install xorg-x11-fonts*

And installed below fonts:

# rpm -qa | grep -i xorg-x11-fonts
  • xorg-x11-fonts-75dpi-7.5-9.el7.noarch
    xorg-x11-fonts-ISO8859-14-75dpi-7.5-9.el7.noarch
    xorg-x11-fonts-ISO8859-15-75dpi-7.5-9.el7.noarch
    xorg-x11-fonts-cyrillic-7.5-9.el7.noarch
    xorg-x11-fonts-ISO8859-9-100dpi-7.5-9.el7.noarch
    xorg-x11-fonts-ISO8859-2-100dpi-7.5-9.el7.noarch
    xorg-x11-fonts-ISO8859-1-75dpi-7.5-9.el7.noarch
    xorg-x11-fonts-ISO8859-14-100dpi-7.5-9.el7.noarch
    xorg-x11-fonts-ISO8859-1-100dpi-7.5-9.el7.noarch
    xorg-x11-fonts-ethiopic-7.5-9.el7.noarch
    xorg-x11-fonts-100dpi-7.5-9.el7.noarch
    xorg-x11-fonts-ISO8859-2-75dpi-7.5-9.el7.noarch
    xorg-x11-fonts-misc-7.5-9.el7.noarch
    xorg-x11-fonts-Type1-7.5-9.el7.noarch
    xorg-x11-fonts-ISO8859-9-75dpi-7.5-9.el7.noarch

After doing this xterm is working fine for me.

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  • 3
    I had a similar error to OP on arch linux, and it was fixed with the analog of this answer: pacman -S xorg-fonts-misc.
    – Hendy
    Commented May 22, 2021 at 4:15
3

Another possible cause for this error (courtesy of @ThomasDickey): "Bitmap fonts are handled by the (possibly remote) X server, unlike TrueType fonts (done on the client side)."

This was my problem. I was running xterm on a remote server (on Amazon EC2) and throwing the X displays back through Putty to my local Windows box, using Xming for an X-Server. Xming didn't have the errant font installed. So it wasn't xterm that couldn't find the font, it was my local X server, Xming.

I downloaded and installed xming-fonts (from https://sourceforge.net/projects/xming/files/Xming-fonts/7.7.0.10/Xming-fonts-7-7-0-10-setup.exe/download) on my local node and that fixed the error.

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