I'm not sure what is going on here, but I can tell you that
> the Verdana font is somehow being corrupted, specifically
> the sfnts data. This font works fine for me with the
> simple_plot example.
FYI, I get the same problem on Windows XP with simple_plot.ps.
It's a simple win32 gotcha: you have to open binary files on win32 as
'rb'. linux doesn't make a distinction but windows does.
win32 ps users, you need to edit
site-packages/matplotlib/backends/backend_ps.py line 356 and use
font = file(fontfile, 'rb')
The corrupted binary data hint triggered the idea - thanks Paul for
the hint and Alan for the bug report!