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  CGI Programming by Collin Forbes
  Finding Fonts for Postcards   Updated: Thur, 20 Apr 2000  

About BDF fonts
The BDF format is an older unix (X11/R5) font standard developed by Adobe. It stands for "bitmap distribution format" and represents the bitmapped characters in an ascii format. The BDF format has been long superceeded by other font formats, but a small number of faces are still available on the Internet and it's possible to convert fonts from other formats to BDF.

Adobe Bitmap Distribution Format Specification (PDF)

The postcards distribution includes two public domain (or otherwise restributatble) BDF fonts:


The official font of talk.bizarre by Dan Heller (enhanced by Miles O'Neal).


A font resembling the VGA screen font on an IBM PC.

Finding BDF fonts on the Internet
As mentioned earlier, it is possible to find BDF fonts on the Internet. Because they are a text format, they are sometimes indexed by search engines. Search for "STARTFONT 2.1" to get pages of font resources.

Making BDF fonts from Truetype fonts
There exists a utility called "ttf2bdf" which is part of the FreeType Project. This lets you convert any Windows-style TrueType font into a BDF font of a particular size. Be sure to use the iso8859-1 character mappings.