Freeserif Arabic version is broken

Bug #540042 reported by Usama Akkad on 2010-03-17
This bug affects 4 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
ttf-freefont (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

Binary package hint: ttf-freefont

the freeserif font has many issues.

1.there is gabs between letters that should be joined
2.too thin
3.smaller than other font with the same size
4.big difference from the English version
5.more like an art of work font than a general reading font

the font being used as a default in Firefox raised a problem for many non-latin users

I hope I provided enough information

ProblemType: Bug
Architecture: i386
CheckboxSubmission: 4190bdfb1b8df71969b6cbad70f1beb6
CheckboxSystem: 9c26adf6eed2f681ba41f94dd24c07e4
Date: Wed Mar 17 07:28:52 2010

DistroRelease: Ubuntu 10.04
InstallationMedia: Ubuntu-Netbook 10.04 "Lucid Lynx" - Alpha i386 (20100113)
Package: ttf-freefont 20090104-5
PackageArchitecture: all
ProcVersionSignature: Ubuntu 2.6.32-16.25-generic-pae
SourcePackage: ttf-freefont
Uname: Linux 2.6.32-16-generic-pae i686

Usama Akkad (damascene) wrote :
tags: added: fonts
summary: - Freserif Arabic version is broken
+ Freeserif Arabic version is broken
Steve White (stevan-white) wrote :

Hi Usama!

Please report FreeFont problems to the FreeFont tracker!
We never hear about problems reported here, unless we stumble accross them, as just happened here.

As to technical problems, we may be able to fix these relatively quickly (but we have to be informed of them!)
Aesthetic problems are a bigger issue.

I can tell you that someone proposed some changes to Arabic some years ago, and sent some initial versions in, and there were a few exchanges, but the project seems to have stalled. Perhaps I will try again to revive that, but I assume the guy simply hasn't had time.

But generally, "the squeaky wheel gets the grease". Only two reports have been submitted about Arabic, and guess what! I submitted them!


Steve White (stevan-white) wrote :


Last night I committed a change to FreeFont CVS that might be toward your problem #1.


I looked at your picture.
In order to use it, I really need the Unicode text by which it was generated.

By the way, FreeSans has no Arabic range. You are seeing glyphs stolen from some other font in the picture.

As you must be aware, there are technical problems in merging Latin text with Arabic.
Besides the weight of the letters, Arabic letters tend to go much farther above and below the baseline
than Latin letters.
I am not personally satisfied with the Arabic range in FreeSerif in that respect. I'm sure there's a solution,
but I lack the language and artistic skills to do anything about it personally.
I was in contact with somebody who did some work in this regard, but the effort seems to have stalled.
(But of course, since I got no bug reports, I assumed that I was the only one who notice the problems.)

As to the style of the Arabic range in itself, I can be no judge.
But if you don't like one font face, there is always another... That's the beauty of it!

If you want to take this farther, please open a report on the FreeFont site as I recommended.


Changed in ttf-freefont (Ubuntu):
status: New → Fix Committed
Steve White (stevan-white) wrote :

Hi Usama,

I would like to test the change I made,

Could you please provide the text (.doc or .txt or .html) file from which your image was produced?


Thank you for taking the time to report this bug and helping to make Ubuntu better. The version of ttf-freefont has been updated since you reported this issue (Ubuntu 11.10 and the upcoming 12.04 provide version 20100919-1 instead of version 20090104-7) -- could you test wether this is still an issue?

If there are still issues, could open a bug report in the GNU bug tracker ( and attach a document showing the issue as Steve suggested?

Thanks again and we appreciate your help.

Changed in ttf-freefont (Ubuntu):
status: Fix Committed → Incomplete
Adolfo Jayme (fitojb) on 2015-01-15
Changed in ttf-freefont (Ubuntu):
status: Incomplete → Expired
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