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Bug#306290: ttf-mph-2b-damase and fontconfig

Hi Paul,

first of all, I recently bought a new laptop and switched to
Ubuntu after Debian miserably failed to install on that computer.
So I cannot any longer perform any testing on Debian itself.

Now for your questions:

> About the fontconfig problem, would it help if I put a really
> low priority in the defoma hints file? Currently it is at
> priority 20.

I never really understood what defoma was good for.  My impression
was that fontconfig does not care at all what is configured in
defoma, but that impression may very well be wrong.  The
fontconfig package (at least Ubuntu’s) does contain some files
that have ‘defoma’ in their name.

> Or does fontconfig also have a hints file system that I could
> use?

Fontconfig has at least three places to configure preferences:


The individual settings in these three files are somehow merged in
some order of preference, presumably with the per-user settings
given most weight.  Please do

   man 5 fonts-conf

to learn more about the file format.  Note that fontconfig tends
to make it difficult to mark specific fonts as (dis)preferred
since its very purpose is to make manual configuration
unnecessary.  Fontconfig has a website and mailing list archive at


In the latter you can read more about how various people
nonetheless managed to (dis)prefer specific fonts.  I don’t
remember the details.

> Or would it be possible to modify the ttf so that fontconfig
> prefers other fonts?

All I can think of is removing the insufficiently supported
scripts (Kharoṣṭhī, Limbu, etc.) entirely.  But as the author of
the font pointed out previously, he would not like this, and there
may be a certain very limited usefulness of incomplete script
support in the case of those scripts where a proper font does not
yet exist.

> Another possibility might be to put something in the package
> description about the limitations of the font with respect to
> Kharosthi and Limbu/etc, and conflict with other fonts that are
> better than it for certain parts of Unicode (when these enter
> debian).

As I said, a proper Kharoṣṭhī font does not yet exist.  I don’t
know about Limbu etc.

> If either of you could write a succinct, objective explanation
> of the problems as you see them, I would be glad to include
> them, so this font could at least find a larger
> audience. Perhaps a longer explanation could be put in a
> README.Debian file included with the package.

I don’t really know what I could add to my description of the
problem in earlier posts in this bug report discussion, plus I am
very busy with other work now.  Could you maybe try to write
something up based on our earlier discussion?  I’ll be happy to
look it over and add anything important that seems to be missing.

> Assuming I can find an appropriate workaround/fix for the above
> problem, are either of you debian developers or could you
> suggest somewhere for me to find a sponsor other than the normal
> debian-mentors list?

No, neither one of us is a Debian developer, and I don’t know
where you could find a sponsor.  And as a I said, at this point my
interest has become rather indirect, inasmuch as the Debian
package concerned may or may not trickle down into Ubuntu, the
distribution that I switched to.


Stefan Baums
Asian Languages and Literature
University of Washington

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