Excessive fonts installed by default

I do not think that people being able to use local language by default is a bad thing. If that needs fonts pre-packed, that is a necessary act. Allowing people to add non-English / non-Latin characters can be messy. Nothing is as perfect as tuned by default.

No, not really. There can be a better solution than prepackaging HIEROGLYPH and CUNEIFORM fonts (seriously? who needs these?)

Sure. Hence my proposal to add that checkbox.

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The impression from the above posts is like all non-English fonts should be selectable and not be default. I don’t think the proposal was to remove these 2 sets.

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I’ve thought more about this. How about:

  1. The installer presents a list of two radio buttons:
  • Install fonts for all alphabets
  • Install only Latin fonts
  1. “Install fonts for all alphabets” is selected by default.

This assures backward compatibility, enables choosy users to install only Latin fonts, and is a lot easier to implement than matching font alphabets with the selected locale (that could be the next step).


I would rather leave what we have as it is and suggest to request an only-English version like the Minimal installer. Because what we have by default is serving a lot of users very well.

For example, India has a population of 140 crore ( 1.4 billion ) which is 1/6 of the world’s population and has 22 major languages, each might have lakhs/millions of users. Are we going to change the current Ubuntu that is working well and call 1/6 of the world’s population irrelevant ?

So does China which has more than 1/6 th of the world’s population, Russia, somewhere close. The countries like Bangladesh, Srilanka, Indonesia, Japan and many more who are very thankful for how their local languages work well in Ubuntu.

I have personally enjoyed regional languages working brilliantly inside GIMP, Inkscape, Blender, Scribus, Libre Office and so on when using Ubuntu. I once tried to use a local language inside Illustrator and it was a nightmare. I tried hours and it was not giving the intended result which could have worked fine in Ubuntu without doing anything at all.

We are talking about half of the world’s population who is reaping benefits of these pre-packed fonts. Let us not abandon them citing ease of use.

How did my proposal suggest abandoning anyone?

Also, let’s not hyperbolize. Half of the world’s population is not using Linux to begin with, let alone our particular distro. Not even in India does Linux altogether have a lead. We can’t even talk about “half of the user base” using exotic languages. Have a look at https://ubuntu.com/desktop/statistics:

Besides that, nobody is using all those fonts all at once. And let’s not even beging talking about cuneiform and hieroglyphic fonts.

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Don’t you think this is true for the English users as well ?

I can read and write in 5 languages including English. That is nothing when compared to a lot of people who know so many more due to various circumstances.

Believe me, I understand what you are trying to say. But it would be unkind to make others suffer so that we can save a bit of trouble. You have no idea how many people are thankful because Ubuntu has these languages pre-installed.

It is nice to showcase statistics, but those are not accurate figures.

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I’m not following?

I’m not following again. I said “nobody is using all those fonts all at once”. You said you speak 5 languages including English. That doesn’t disprove my point. Let alone that those 5 languages could be using the Latin alphabet.

Anyway, there are HUNDREDS of languages in fonts-noto-core. Who speaks that many?

Again, how is my proposal making anyone suffer? Will you please stay on topic and answer precisely that? Along with “Why should the vast majority of users, who do not use any of those exotic fonts, have to suffer a few seconds every time they need to select a font?” That’s millions of person-hours per day which you seem to ignore. The global utility calculation just isn’t in your favor here, if you look at the facts objectively.

Great, they’ll still have them preinstalled by clicking “next” on the screen that shows (probably among other things) the two radio buttons I proposed, with the “All fonts” one checked by default.


Where are the accurate figures? At least I’m trying to show some statistics, as opposed to vague hyperbole like “a lot of people who know so many more due to various circumstances” without any backing. What does “a lot” mean? How many people know “so many more” than 5 languages?

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Ok. Looks like we need to add a poll

Q. Should Ubuntu be English only ?


a. Yes
b. Yes


No. Please stop.

This is a non-issue and you can just uninstall the noto package if it so disturbs you.

  • Showing a long list is kind bad and time consuming. Specially that new apps try to show a rendered sample.
  • On other hand, I still remember the frustration of the encoding boxes of missing glyph. It was hard to find which fonts in packages that cover a range in Unicode without installing them.

It is not the user default display language or keyboard input languages that defines which scripts (so the fonts: Unicode range,embedded shaping/style rules beside typeface and family) the user wants to read.

There always a solution if many want that while keeping other side happy. Use same techniques of video/audio codec detection then install in GStream. But that need much changes and resources.

It is more convenient to make fonts selection dialogues in each GUI kits handle it. Using user/app custom filters or filters based on context.

As a user you could still make advanced override rules based on app name or query to skip fonts even without uninstalling them. Some thing similar to https://askubuntu.com/a/1286426/26246 Fontconfig Rule.

I’m not sure why anyone would get triggered by my proposal, when it respects the language of the majority of users, and preserves the existing default (all fonts installed).

While you think it’s a non-issues, thousands[*] of users do think the excessive fonts are an issue. Please see the links in my OP, plus two more (the most that Discourse lets me post):

I wish it were that simple. But if it were, those AskUbuntu questions I’ve cited, wouldn’t exist. The Noto package isn’t the only problem, though I’ve addressed it specifically on Launchpad.

[*] Look up the “1% Internet rule”. For every user who took the time and effort to register and post or upvote a question or answer about removing fonts, there are ~100 interested in that, who didn’t.

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[*] Look up the “1% Internet rule”. For every user who took the time and effort to register and post or upvote a question or answer about removing fonts, there are ~100 interested in that, who didn’t.

Your are so right … I wouldn’t mind the (for me) useless fonts, if there would be an easy way to hide them in various programs (like libre office). But there isn’t. So with every fresh ubuntu install I have to look up, how to remove or disable them. This is very annoying.

One thing I learned from my sister, a graphic designer (and a good one if I may say so): There’s no such thing as 'excessive fonts’ :grin:

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my 2 cents on the topic:

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For me, we should be able to select regional fonts during installation. If someone select “Chinese” as primary language and localization, those fonts should be automatically installed. If not, people should be able to install them afterwards, during installation or maybe in a very much needed section in system settigs…

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Hi all, late in the topic…

In any Linux installation I make, first wasting time thing to do is getting rid of the dozens fonts which I don’t need given the languages I deal with.

Why do that ? Because all these fonts appear in any app’ ! And by chance I daily use at work LibreOffice, Gimp, Scribus and many other heavy editors where choosing / searching / installing / removing fonts is part of my daily tasks…

Why installing all alphabets since OS-installer asked your main language and area ? ? ?

I understand a distro should address any language in the world - and I love it - but it’s not needed in each installation of a distro.

Depending on Noto is both a good and a bad thing. Good because it covers almost any language. Bad for the same reason : does one user need to see the whole choice of alphabets in all his app’s ?

There should be a tool to mute the non-needed fonts without breaking further updating and dependencies.

If I don’t need Noto fonts, it’s quite a pain to remove them… And I need to remove them because I don’t want to see their whole list in my app’s, where I only want to see the dozens / hundreds fonts I personally choose to use in my projects.

cause I quite agree here :

…unless the fonts I won’t use because they’re not from languages I speak / read / understand.

It’s a real use-case and real questions here, no bitterness at all.

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It is about our international community and preference in
fonts is the at most importance for choice of each users
Ubuntu experience. That experience is the
upmost importance to derive the best experience to each
user of Ubuntu. This makes Ubuntu diverse of its own O.S…
In your terms I may not have the ability to change my font
to one you disprove of which could be my favorite?
…NO I say !
My apologies to our Community for being out spoken.
Ubuntu being diverse, cutting edge and security matters to me.
I hope that @sabdfl agrees.

even then you probably don’t want to see square boxes in websites … :wink:


I never have problems of fonts in website, would you believe ? For last 10 years more or so…
I may be wrong about that but I guess nowadays many if not most sites provide or delegate fonts displayed.

It’s quite easy to understand why it’s a pain in the whatever to have to scroll through dozens if not hundreds of unneeded fonts in LibreOffice or Gimp or Scribus or any editor for what matters here.

I don’t want Ubuntu to get rid of any fonts - I want as a user a safe and easy way to deal with only my favorite fonts, everywhere in my « workflow ».

Only not-so-easy way I’ve found is to uninstall the fonts I don’t need. But I don’t like that method.
And it’s not safe with some heavily « dependent » fonts ( Noto… )
In multi-user context I’m also happy all these fonts are there by default. But all the users of a system don’t need the full-set of them all, everywhere in all app’s.

I’d rather have an utility to manage fonts for :
⋅ muting some of them by « alphabet » or « language » or « family » without uninstalling,
⋅ « starring » some of them to tell the system, yes those ones I want everywhere for everyone,
⋅ matching some of them only to given app’s,
⋅ matching some of them only to given users or groups…

As is, having all these fonts installed by default implies never-ending list of fonts in all app’s while most of them won’t ever serve the user.

Of course people who never deal with fonts won’t care - so you may think it’s a narrowing use-case.
But it’s not, something’s lacking in fonts management. The all or nothing approach is not enough.

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