Use OpenBSDs Spleen bitmap font in Linux

Yesterday Frederic Cambus changed the default console font in OpenBSD to his self made font Spleen as written in this BSD Journal article.

To be totally honest, I stopped thinking about TTY (aka console) fonts a long time ago. It just happened to get interesting again when I got a HiRes screen and suddenly a magnifying glass was necessary to read the TTY. Yes I am one of those people who still deny the existence of graphical installers. If you want to change my mind, feel free to write me.

Anyhow, I figured that Spleen is pretty and useful because it offers glyphs with sizes up to 32x64. Typical fonts in Void Linux are 8x16 or similar, which is very small on high DPI screens. But how to use them? Spleen comes in strange formats like BDF or .dfont but we need another strange format called PSFU. If we look at the description that comes with Spleen we only get tought how to make yet another strange format called PCF. Puh, so confusing. Fonts must have been a real pain back in the “good old times”.

If you managed to read this until this point, I congratulate you. You won a short list of commands:

# assuming bdf2psf is installed
FONTDIR=/usr/share/kbd/consolefonts   # or anything you want
SPLEENDIR=$HOME/src/spleen             # or whereever you want the repo
EQUIV=/usr/share/bdf2psf/standard.equivalents # check bdf2psf manpage
FONTSET=/usr/share/bdf2psf/fontsets/Uni1.512 # check bdf2psf manpage

git clone $SPLEENDIR

for x in 12x24 16x32 32x64 5x8 8x16 # do it for all available sizes
    bdf2psf --fb \
        ${SPLEENDIR}/spleen-${x}.bdf \
        $EQUIV $FONTSET 512 \

# assuming you're in the TTY
setfont ${SPLEENDIR}/spleen-16x32.psfu

That worked for me! Except spleen-32x64 didn't work for me. It might be too big for Linux TTYs but would be too big anyways. Lets wait for 8K displays.