In VL 5.9 all the traditional X fonts are installed by default in VL 5.9 but only TTF and OTF fonts are enabled. This is actually determined by the default /etc/fonts/fonts.conf file which is part of the fontconfig package. I don't know if the decision to disable a bunch of installed fonts was made upstream (X.org, Slackware) or by the VL developers but I suspect the former. The issue is that the most popular Middle Eastern font packages (Hebrew, Arabic) are Type 1 fonts or other non-TTF/OTF fonts. I believe this affects a number of Asian fonts as well.
For English and other languages using the Latin alphabet popular fonts like Courier, Bitstream Charter, and Helvetica are all disabled. I should also note that the Cyrillic fonts directory (Russian and other Slavic languages) is also disabled leaving just a tiny subset of the Cyrillic fonts available in VL 5.8 enabled in 5.9.
My solution for the Culmus and El Mar (Hebrew) font packages and for some Arabic packages as well was to install a new /etc/fonts/conf.avail/51-local.conf file based on the local.conf file in the Culmus source code. It re-enables Type 1 fonts and also enables the misc font directory for compatibility between the various packages I am building. The file is identical in each font package to insure that installing one package doesn't disable another. The net result is that fonts like Courier, Bitstream Charter, and a few URW fonts also magically appear in applications if any of these font packages is installed. If, for example, the culmus-fonts package is removed the Culmus fonts do disappear as they should but there is no mechanism for a return to the original /etc/fonts/fonts.avail/51-local.conf file so the Type 1 and misc fonts that came on the VL 5.9 iso remain enabled. The VL/Slackware package management system has no capability to add an uninstall script AFAIK.
I think a much more elegant solution would be to enable all the traditional X fonts, the ones that have been around since I was knee high to a grasshopper, in our fontconfig package. If the VL developers agree I'll volunteer to rebuild that package with the new fonts.conf file and rebuild the various fonts packages I've done so far. If y'all want it the way it is I can easily write a font FAQ for those who need the disabled fonts and let my existing packages remain as is.
Code for the /etc/fonts/conf.avail/51-local.conf file I install follows:
<!DOCTYPE fontconfig SYSTEM "fonts.dtd">
<!-- /etc/fonts/local.conf file for local customizations -->
<!-- installed by Culmus-or El Mar fonts package -->
<!-- Load local system customization file -->
<!-- Enable Adobe Type 1 fonts and miscellaneous fonts-->
<!-- Enable sub-pixel rendering -->
<test qual="all" name="rgba">
<edit name="rgba" mode="assign"><const>rgb</const></edit>