Codec is an ISO-8859-1 encoded sans-serif font in a single height designed for use in writing program code. It is supplied in Bitmap Distribution Format for installation on machines running the X window system. You can't use it under Windows, nor on a Mac.

Codec is available in four variants. Click on the name of each variant for an example.

  • Codec   The original Codec font has the full-stop (".") centred like a decimal point or bullet; this can be effective in code but is useless for text. This font is proportionally spaced rather than monospaced.
  • Codec Terminal   A monospaced version of Codec, with otherwise identical glyphs.
  • Codec Terminal Narrow   Identical to Codec Terminal, but with one pixel less space between characters.
  • Codec Terminal Text   Like Codec Terminal, but with the full stop positioned at the baseline in the normal way instead of centred.

The original Codec was an experiment applying all the features I thought I might like in a code font. But it turned out I did't really like the proportional spacing or centred full-stop, and Codec Terminal Text is the evolved outcome of lots of actual use.

These fonts were made in 1998. In 2007, Codec Terminal Text is still my preferred font for writing code, despite the arrival of many high-quality antialiased fonts in the meantime. It has very few irritating quirks and a satisfying clarity and sense of space. One detail I like is that the underscore ("_") rests on the baseline rather than hanging below it, making underscore_separated_words look much cleaner.

If you want to try Codec, download the package. It's free. The distribution is a gzipped tarfile containing four BDF files, plus a fonts.dir file for your font path, and – new for 2007! – a .psf Linux console version of Codec Terminal Text.

If you don't know how to install BDF fonts on your system, please go and find out before you download these ones.

So far, I've failed to produce a working bitmap-TTF version of these fonts – if you can do it, get in touch.

These fonts were drawn with Mark Leisher's excellent xmbdfed Motif-based BDF editor.