synthetic font generation causes confusion

Bug #1593196 reported by Hadmut Danisch on 2016-06-16
This bug affects 1 person
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
fontconfig (Ubuntu)

Bug Description


the font configs just caused me lots of headache.

I have a single TTF font (in this case Swiss 721 Bold Rounded BT), where the font foundry for some reason chose to call the subfamily name given in the TTF file 'Bold'. Which is confusing, since the font is not really that bold, but that's the way it is.

Since this is just a single font and not a family, it causes fontconfig to generate synthetic fonts, i.e. it makes four out of one: The regular (unmodified), the bold, the italic, and the bold italic.

That's where trouble begins. Since the original font is already named bold, there are suddenly two bold fonts, confusing all software that handles fonts by family and subfamily, e.g. libreoffice.

1) It is in general not a good idea to generate synthetic fonts that cannot be distinguished from real font families.

2) It is a bad idea to generate synthatic fonts which have the same sub name as the original font.


ProblemType: Bug
DistroRelease: Ubuntu 16.04
Package: fontconfig-config 2.11.94-0ubuntu1
ProcVersionSignature: Ubuntu 4.4.0-24.43-generic 4.4.10
Uname: Linux 4.4.0-24-generic x86_64
NonfreeKernelModules: zfs zunicode zcommon znvpair zavl
ApportVersion: 2.20.1-0ubuntu2.1
Architecture: amd64
CurrentDesktop: XFCE
Date: Thu Jun 16 13:24:01 2016
InstallationDate: Installed on 2016-04-22 (54 days ago)
InstallationMedia: Lubuntu 16.04 LTS "Xenial Xerus" - Release amd64 (20160420)
PackageArchitecture: all
SourcePackage: fontconfig
UpgradeStatus: No upgrade log present (probably fresh install)

Hadmut Danisch (hadmut) wrote :
Hadmut Danisch (hadmut) wrote :

BTW: Is there anywhere some docs for /etc/fonts/* stuff, or is it just that 'take-it-as-it-is-or-die' thing?

Hadmut Danisch (hadmut) wrote :

I tried to fix the problem with a config file

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<!DOCTYPE fontconfig SYSTEM "fonts.dtd">
<match target="scan">
 <test name="family" compare="eq" ignore-blanks="true">
  <string>Swis721 BdRnd BT</string>
 <test name="style">
 <edit name="weight">
 <edit name="style">

fc-cache now complains about

Fontconfig warning: "/etc/fonts/conf.d/81-swiss.conf", line 16: saw number, expected string

although there is no number. It fixes the problem for some programs (e.g. gnome-specimen), but not for all (e.g. not libreoffice, which gives the same warning as fc-cache, but does not dinstinguish the fonts).

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