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Kpathsea: A library for path searching

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4.3.3 Fallback font

If a bitmap font cannot be found or created at the requested size, Kpathsea looks for the font at a set of fallback resolutions. You specify these resolutions as a colon-separated list (like search paths). Kpathsea looks first for a program-specific environment variable (e.g., DVIPSSIZES for Dvipsk), then the environment variable TEXSIZES, then a default specified at compilation time (the Make variable default_texsizes). You can set this list to be empty if you prefer to find fonts at their stated size or not at all.

Finally, if the font cannot be found even at the fallback resolutions, Kpathsea looks for a fallback font, typically `cmr10'. Programs must enable this feature by assigning to the global variable kpse_fallback_font or calling kpse_init_prog (see section 5.2 Calling sequence); the default is no fallback font.

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