[Pkg-fonts-devel] Runes

Paul Wise pabs at debian.org
Wed Nov 2 09:02:25 UTC 2011

On Wed, Nov 2, 2011 at 3:46 PM, Lars Aronsson wrote:

> In the very default installation of Ubuntu 11.04

FYI, this list is about packaging fonts for Debian, not Ubuntu or user support.

> 1. I don't know much about fonts. What is the name of the default
> runes that I saw before installing ttf-junicode? Why are they so
> ugly? If they are "not a Truetype" font, what are they? A bitmap?
> I don't even have the terminology to tell what's wrong. Is there
> an FAQ that explains how fonts work in X and Debian?

Remove ttf-junicode, open the character map program (in accessories)
and right click on a Runic character to find out the font name that
provides the default Runic characters on your system. On my system
they look reasonably well and are provided by Aboriginal Serif. Then
run these commands in a terminal to find out which file and package it
comes from:

pabs at chianamo:~$ fc-match -v 'Aboriginal Serif' | grep file
	file: "/usr/share/fonts/truetype/aboriginal/AboriginalSerifREGULAR943.ttf"(s)
pabs at chianamo:~$ dpkg -S

They are ugly because the font authors made them that way.

If the filename produced by fc-match above ends in .ttf then it is a
TrueType font.

I suggest you take a look at the OFLB documentation for info about
fonts and font design:


> 2. Can I convince you (or someone else? who?) to make ttf-junicode
> part of the default Ubuntu installation? What might be the reasons
> that it was not included already?

This is not an Ubuntu list, you should ask Ubuntu folks about that.


Probably Runic isn't an important script for most users, it is
certainly not something I've ever used or seen outside of the
character map program.

> 3. ttf-junicode is not my perfect solution. These runes don't look
> like the rest of my fonts. If I use Liberation (Ubuntu system
> default, used in my web browser), Latin, Greek, and Cyrillic
> letters look good together, but these runes look quite different.
> A better solution would be to define runic characters to be part
> of the Liberation set of fonts, complete with serif/sans serif,
> and boldface and italics variations. Do you think that is likely
> to happen? Is it hard? Where do I start?

It is indeed a lot of work to produce a font, but since you only care
about Runic here it will be a fair bit less.

Visit the Liberation fonts website to find out how to contribute to that font:


You will need to install fontforge and git (probably called git-core
in Ubuntu), then checkout the font source from git, open the source
files in fontforge, edit until you have drawn all the Runic characters
and then submit a bug report about adding your new glyphs.

IIRC Ubuntu are switching to their own font:


> You do a great work. Fonts work just fine most of the time. I can
> see runes. I just want them to be prettier. But if these three
> questions are more easily answered, more scripts could benefit.

Most of the work is done outside of Debian by the authors of the fonts
that we collect and package for Debian (which are then automatically
copied to Ubuntu).



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