I likewise discovered Inconsolata not too long ago (it was packaged in Gentoo and I was really pleased to discover it also available in Debian), and have been using it as the constant-width font in Quill and Parchment for program listings in technical writing.
We all tend to get obsessive about things we like, and so of course I tried it as a terminal console font. Interestingly, after a brief consideration, I decided not to use it for terminals and gedit and such. Deja Vu Sans Mono is still the king for that, especially if you’re using Deja Vu Sans and Deja Vu Serif for the rest of your UI; it means that the visual consistency across your desktop is really awesome.
Inconsolata doesn’t have anything even remotely close to the kind of Unicode coverage you need in your full-time constant-width font, and when fontconfig does a fallback it looks awful because Inconsolata’s metrics are so different from others. That’s all ok; Inconsolata is meant for program listings, and looks incredible on paper.
Anyway, Federico noted that bold didn’t work when specified as a FontDescription, it doesn’t come up bold me either when I tried to do so via a bold PangoAttribute. But if you use Wouter’s Specimen, it shows up fine (on an Ubuntu box, anyway):
So there’s a bug in our stack somewhere.
Or not. I just reread the JavaDoc for the FontDescription constructor, and lo and behold relearned what I wrote there in the first place. To get bold Inconsolata you just need to use a
',' in the right place:
desc = new FontDescription("Inconsolata, Bold 8.0"); ...
and my Cairo drawing code on screen in a XlibSurface shows bold. Great.
But nothing is ever simple. I ran the same drawing code out through to a PdfSurface, and no bold. What the hell? There’s a bug in our stack somewhere.
In my original post, I misattributed Specimen… it’s written by our very excellent Wouter Bolsterlee,
uws on IRC. Sorry!