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When Kpathsea looks for a bitmap font name at resolution dpi in a format format, it first checks each directory in the search path for a file `name.dpiformat'; for example, `cmr10.600pk'. Kpathsea looks for a PK file first, then a GF file.
If that fails, Kpathsea looks for `dpidpi/name.format'; for example, `dpi600/cmr10.pk'. This is how fonts are typically stored on filesystems (such as DOS) that permit only three-character extensions.
If that fails, Kpathsea looks for a font with a close-enough dpi.
"Close enough" is defined by the macro
`kpathsea/tex-glyph.h' to be
dpi / 500 + 1. This is
slightly more than the 0.2% minimum allowed by the DVI standard
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