On SL5.2 there is a missing link for the fonts to be used by JRE 1.6.0_11. The directory /usr/lib/jvm/java-1.6.0-sun-220.127.116.11/jre/lib/fonts points to /usr/share/fonts/java which actually doesn’t exist. However, the 1.5.0_16 JDK installation uses /usr/java/jdk1.5.0_16/jre/lib/fonts which contains all the right fonts. Altering JAVA_HOME to JDK 1.5.0_16 and launching the Java application again, it displays the fonts correctly. The quick workaround to get it working with 1.6.0_11 is to copy the existing JDK1.5.0_16 fonts directory under /usr/share/fonts/java.
Posted on scientific-linux-users: http://firstname.lastname@example.org/msg04301.html