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Re: Default font: Transition from DejaVu to Noto

Hi Fabian,

On 2023-09-12 08:24, Fabian Greffrath wrote:
as has already been stated elsewhere, fontconfig upstream's move to
Noto as the default font has most probably not been done for
aesthetical reasons. That is, it is not the "most beautiful font"
that people "like better" then DejaVu, but the single usable fallback
font with the widest glyph coverage.

That might be true.

However, I think that the acceptance - or rather lack thereof - of
the Noto fonts in Debian has indeed to do with the way they are
currently packaged. There is no pendant to the fonts-dejavu-core
package which only installs the generic serif and sans-serif flavors.
Instead, even the fonts-noto-core package installs a full pack of 268
(!) font files. This is discussed in detail in #983291 [1].

The way they are packaged is absolutely a restriction. How important restriction it is depends on what you want to achieve.

If I recall it correctly, the primary suggestion in that bug report is to split fonts-noto-core into an LCG and an "other" package. If that would happen, you would be able to install Noto for LCG scripts only (only a handful fonts, even if you include things like math and symbols). I'm sure that some people consider that to be sufficient. They don't see it as an issue if "tofus"[2] show up once in a while, since they don't understand those characters anyway.

Personally I dislike "tofus". They give me a feeling that my system is broken, even if I still wouldn't understand the beautiful characters that are not rendered properly.

Maybe I'm colored from having used Ubuntu for more than a decade. The Ubuntu desktop has for a long time installed fonts packages which cover a lot of Asian etc. languages. By default. For everyone. So the ongoing switch to Noto is not such a big deal on Ubuntu. fonts-noto-core gets installed by default, and quite a few font packages for non-latin scripts are dropped.

Some people have complained.[3] But overall I think that most users like the idea with a worldwide font coverage.

I realize that Debian has done it differently, and for that reason installing fonts-noto-core in Debian — whether as default or fallback — is a bigger change. But if we would want to enter 'the worldwide coverage path', splitting up fonts-noto-core wouldn't make much of a difference, would it?

So, if asked for my personal opinion, I could live with DejaVu Mono
as the default monospace font (for aesthetical reasons) and Noto Sans
and Serif as the default sans-serif and serif fonts (for pragmatic
reasons), respectively, but only if the latter are packaged

So you see that as a condition.. Please consider what I wrote above. Also, I realized that I failed to really argue for my position when starting this thread, so I have posted another long message in an attempt to structure the discussion:



- Fabian

[1] https://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=983291

[2] https://fonts.google.com/knowledge/glossary/tofu

[3] https://discourse.ubuntu.com/t/20924


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