By default install Noto fonts for Unicode ranges not already covered by default

Bug #1866038 reported by Henri Sivonen
This bug affects 2 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
fonts-noto (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

There is currently movement towards protecting browser users from font fingerprinting. This means refusing, by default, to load user-installed fonts, which makes the set of fonts that each OS installs by default even more important than before.

Firefox bug:

W3C CSS WG issue:

Currently, Windows 10, macOS, Android, Chrome OS, and, to a lesser extent, Fedora provide broader installed-by-default Unicode coverage than Ubuntu.

Examples of living scripts that have enough active users to make it to the list at but are not supported by default in Eoan include Javanese, Sundanese, Batak, Balinese, Modern Yi, Mongolian, and New Tai Lue.

Egyptian hieroglyphs is an example of a dead script the Eoan doesn't support but Windows 10, macOS, Chrome OS, and Android do support.

To remedy this with minimal disk space impact, I suggest the same approach that Apple took. Apple bundles with macOS those Noto fonts that cover scripts that were not already covered by the previous installed-by-default set of fonts on macOS. In the macOS case, the on-disk footprint of the Noto fonts that were required to take macOS to Android/Chrome OS-competitive Unicode coverage was only a couple of megabytes. (The fonts are hidden in /Library/Application Support/Apple/Fonts/Language Support/.) In the case of Ubuntu, the set of Noto fonts required to reach the Chrome OS / Android level of script coverage is a bit larger than in the macOS case but should still be manageable.

Please install, by default, those Noto fonts that provide support for scripts that are not properly supported by the fonts that Ubuntu already installs by default.

Revision history for this message
Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

Status changed to 'Confirmed' because the bug affects multiple users.

Changed in fonts-noto (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
Revision history for this message
Iain Lane (laney) wrote :

Thanks for this. Really interesting issue, sorry it's taken a while to respond.

Gunnar, do you have any thoughts on this?

Revision history for this message
Gunnar Hjalmarsson (gunnarhj) wrote :

On 2020-09-15 11:31, Iain Lane wrote:
> Gunnar, do you have any thoughts on this?

Yeah, I think my idea to ship Noto fonts by default and give them the highest fontconfig precedence, effectively replacing DejaVu, would cover the proposal in this bug.

@Henri: What I have in mind has basically already been done in Kubuntu. It would be great if you could put the Kubuntu ISO (<>) on a USB stick, run the live session, and see if the default Kubuntu fonts are to your liking.

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