Font Server Error

Posted on 2000-05-06
Last Modified: 2013-12-02
Help~, I am facing a problem:
   When I type startx in terminal (I login with root), it shows:
   failed to set default font path 'unix/-1'
   Fatal server error
   could not open default font 'fixed'
   When I reboot the system, it shows:
   Shutting down X Font Server [FAILED]

How can I fix this problem ????
Question by:ahchong
  • 3

Author Comment

ID: 2784160
p/s: I can't go into my X-window now

Expert Comment

ID: 2784216
I'll just make sure xfs (x font server) is running:
/etc/rc.d/init.d/xfs stop
/etc/rc.d/init.d/xfs start
ps -alef | grep xfs | grep -v grep
If xfs shows up as a running process, then you can proceed to do 'startx', otherwise, you may need to look into the  xfs init script in /etc/rc.d/init.d, I had experience that xfs fails to take --droppriv option well, then xfs fails to start, although appears succesful.
Fails to stop is not a problem, since you probably doesnot have it running, thus nothing to be stopped.

Accepted Solution

modulus earned 115 total points
ID: 2784315
Your font server cannot find the list of fonts.  This is due either to you removing/moving the directories that contain the fonts, or to changing the config files that tell the server where to find the fonts.  Probably you did the last one.  A common way that people do this is to run one of the tools (XF86Setup or xf86config).

You report the error message:
failed to set default font path 'unix/-1'
If that's not just a typo in your report of the error it should be 'unix:/-1'
This is a line which tells xfs to bind a socket to the server for the fonts.  It occurs in the file /etc/X11/XF86Config in the section 'Files' for the variable 'FontPath'.  If you are using RedHat's patched version of XF86 3.3.6 (ie from 6.2 or rawhide) then this line should not be set.  Instead you should have an actual list of directories containing the fonts on your system as the value of font-path.
i.e. In /etc/X11/XF86Config replace

 Section  "Files"
      RgbPath "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/rgb"
      FontPath "unix:/-1"


 Section "Files"
   RgbPath    "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/rgb"
   FontPath   "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/100dpi:unscaled,/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/misc:unscaled,/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/75dpi:unscaled,/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/Type1,/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/Speedo,/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/misc,/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/100dpi,/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/75dpi"

Note that in this list of font directories the _order_ of the 100 and 75dpi font directories means that you will get large fonts.  I do this because a lot of the people I admin for like it - you may not - if you don't just change the order in the list.  There is more information on this at (the excellent Font De-Uglification Howto).

With regard to the error about not being able to shut down - it's likely that xfs was not started.  If you are not running the patched XF3.3.6 then before you try to shutdown

1. examine if running font server by:
 "ps -ax | grep "xfs"
      shows that there are xfs daemons running or not

2. check that the init scripts are actually staring xfs:
" ls /etc/rc.d/rc3.d"
 should reveal a S90xfs file which is a symlink to /etc/rc.d/init.d/xfs
      scripts with a "S" at the start are run with the parameter "start"
      so one gets "xfs start" at boot up.

3. search for the config files for xfs using:
strings `which xfs` | grep "^/"
(note that there are _backticks_ in the above command, `   not ' !)
to find out likely places that the config files are.  Should find one at
4. review the syslog by
      more /var/log/messages | grep "xfs"
5. XF86Config  has a FontPath statement in it .  Removing this gets the font
      server to use its own internal defaults.  Can be useful for debug.
      That is the file I described above: /etc/X11/XF86Config
6. The file /etc/X11/fs/config contains a line "catalogue=/usr..." which can
      be used to construct the appropriate lines for FontPath in XF86Config
      by just banging in the lines from config without catalogue, with a
      preceding FontPath on each line and with the absolute address enclosed
      in quotes`. This allows one to operate without xfs.
7. Finally, can run "chkconfig --del xfs" to prevent xfs starting at boot time
      which is useful for debugging distinction between X11 and xfs.

I'm betting if you try the fix at the top of the file that things will work for you though.

best wishes,

Author Comment

ID: 2784459
modulus :
   thanks a lot !!!! I have configured my linux and now I can enter my X-window. As I am the beginnner of linux (I am using Redhat Linux 6.1 with GNOME workstation), what is the use of /usr/X11R6...,/usr/X11R6... , it is the font's library ??
   Ops, forgot to ask you, can you give me your ICQ UIN or email address, as I am the beginner of linux, I need more help(s) from you, THANKS !!

Author Comment

ID: 2784460
Adjusted points from 50 to 115

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