Caching Out

A few brief updates on the Mac OS X 10.3 font cache bug:

  • After yesterday’s report, a few readers do report seeing bloated font cache files even though they don’t have any PostScript fonts installed. I still think PostScript fonts exacerbate the problem, but apparently they’re not the only cause.

  • Many readers have recommended Mark Douma’s Font Finagler, a $10 shareware utility that deletes your system’s font cache files for you. I personally can’t see spending $10 to delete a few files which are easily removed by hand (and, frankly, I feel more comfortable trashing them manually anyway), but at least a few dozen DF readers are happy Font Finagler users.

    A few other readers suggested OnyX, a freeware utility that presents a bunch of system maintenance tasks in a Mac-style user interface. Included amongst its features is the ability to delete font caches.

  • The cache bloating is somehow related to the fact that on login, ATSServer opens every font located in the system’s font folders:

    • /System/Library/Fonts/
    • /Library/Fonts/
    • ~/Library/Fonts/

    Thus, one way to avoid the bug is to use a third-party font manager, such as Suitcase, which stores your font files in any location other than the system’s font folders.

    Apple’s Font Book does not itself cause this problem (at least I don’t think it does), but it doesn’t avoid it, either, because when you use Font Book, it stores all of your fonts, including your disabled fonts, in the system’s font folders.

    The point here is not that you should buy Suitcase just to avoid this bug,1 but rather to explain why, if you’re already using Suitcase or a similar utility, you probably haven’t been affected by this bug, even if you’ve got the entire Adobe Type Library installed.

  1. If for no other reason than that I expect this bug to be fixed in Mac OS X 10.3.9. ↩︎