[self-interest] Re: Error "unknown font: arialBold"

Russell Allen mail at russell-allen.com
Tue Sep 13 01:50:36 UTC 2011

Hi Guilherme, guys,

The Linux port of Self uses the plain X Windows primitives that were used on the original Sun port. This includes using the base X font handling, where the font lives on the X-Server (i.e. the client) and is rendered there. In the last few years, Linux distros increasingly use pluggable rendering mechanisms and bypass the core X stuff. For fonts, they use Xft which renders the font on the X-Client (i.e. the server side) using Freetype and sends the rendered image over the wire. Ubuntu and the other distros are therefore removing fonts from the base system and putting them in Truetype form in the Xft system. 

It used to be that if we couldn't find a font on Linux we defaulted to Times. Times isn't available anymore as its been moved to the Xft system.

To give a quick fix, I've changed the last ditch font default to 6x13, which works for me on Ubuntu 11.04.  Please try out the snapshot at


It's not very pretty, but it works.

I'll try to write up a better description and a list of our options for fixing this long term.

Cheers,  Russell

On 13/09/2011, at 11:10 AM, Guilherme wrote:

> Ok.. Thanks for the replies!
> I'll keep looking and will post any news here.
> In any case, it would be interesting to find out which Linux distributions the Self works correctly. For thus, we can see how the system fonts directory, try to do the same thing on Ubuntu 11.
> --- In self-interest at yahoogroups.com, Chris Double <chris.double at ...> wrote:
> >
> > On Tue, Sep 13, 2011 at 3:39 AM, Ian Woollard <ian.woollard at ...> wrote:
> > >
> > > Yes, I have the same problem. I tired installing the microsoft core true font package, and rebooting, but unfortunately it didn't seem to make any difference.
> > 
> > If you search the mailing list on yahoo.com you'll find a discussion
> > of this with a workaround. I don't have a link handy unfortunately.
> > 
> > -- 
> > http://www.bluishcoder.co.nz
> >

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