While browsing Wikipedia, users occasionally find symbols that cannot be displayed because Ubuntu doesn't have required font packages installed. Ubuntu is doing fairly well compared to some other systems. Some translations of Wikipedia still have problems. These problems apply to other web sites too, but Wikipedia is a good example as it support wide range of different languages.

Lets have a look at the front page ( ). With the default installation of Ubuntu you can still find some boxes with hex codes instead of the human readable characters. While not everyone understands these languages, it would be nice to display them correctly. You might want to consider them as art. They allow people to get an image of these languages. Otherwise we might end up in a situation where people refer to "those languages" as "the languages displayed as hexcubes". "Oh, you are from Myanmar! Do you really speak hex cubes there?"


Create a meta-package xfonts-wikipedia, that installs all the fonts required for Wikipedia. This is an immediate straight forward approach. Creating a package that allows one to view the front page without hex cubes is a good start.

Many of the Wikipedia translations provide information about getting the fonts installed. The xfonts-wikipedia package could be promoted at the same locations, or maybe the fonts could already be installed by default?

Maybe it would be possible to create an on-demand font installer similar to current audio/video decoder installer. One that would open up when hex cubes appear and suggest the user to install a specific font package.

Fonts Missing From Default Installation

Ubuntu 8.10

The following fonts are required for displaying front page

  • ttf-tmuni
  • ttf-khmeros
  • ttf-sil-padauk
  • ttf-mph-2b-damase

Additionally the following fonts may be required for some pages

  • ttf-ancient-fonts

CategorySpec CategoryBrainDump

WikipediaFontsSpec (last edited 2008-12-01 14:03:32 by toni-ruottu)