Viewing Symbol Fonts
The HTML pages for this course make extensive use of small pictures in gif format to show symbols in graphical browsers, as there is not yet a generally accepted standard to do this. However, it is possible to make use of the Symbol font available on PCs, MACs, and X-window workstations. Although this is not the formally-accepted standard, nonetheless it is still the de facto one, although there are problems with it. As we are considering using the Symbol font in the course, it is important for us to know that you can view this font correctly with your browser. If you cannot see the following character below as a large red Greek alpha, then you can take action, which may depend on your choice of operating system and/or browser.
One problem with this method, which may arise when you try to view the HTML with your browser, is that the Symbol font is not loaded automatically on all operating systems:
(If it is set to: Use my default fonts, overriding document-specified fonts, then you will probably see a large red Roman "a" further up this page.)
First you have to locate the file where your personal preferences for X-windows applications are stored. This file, which will be called either .Xdefaults or .Xresources in your home directory, is normally sourced automatically each time you log in. If a file with one of these names exists then that is almost certainly the one you want. If neither (or both!) exist you will have to seek advice from your system administrator (or alternatively try each in turn!). Edit the file with a text editor and add the following line (assuming you are using the Netscape browser):
Then the command to load the font manually is:
xrdb -l .Xdefaults (or .Xresources as appropriate).
You must then restart the browser. If you have got the right file it should be loaded automatically the next time you login and you should not have to load it manually again.
Here is some detailed information on how the Netscape browser handles fonts under Unix.