firefox does not recognize some font styles

Bug #86689 reported by Mitja Pagon
This bug affects 2 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
firefox (Ubuntu)
Mozilla Bugs

Bug Description

Binary package hint: firefox

Firefox does not recognize certain font styles in the chrome or when rendering the page. For example, choosing "DejaVu Sans Bold" as the Application font in Gnome will cause the UI to use that font, but choosing "DejaVu Sans Condensed" will cause the UI to be rendered in "DejaVu Sans".

ProblemType: Bug
Date: Wed Feb 21 13:34:57 2007
DistroRelease: Ubuntu 7.04
Uname: Linux mpagon-laptop 2.6.20-8-generic #2 SMP Tue Feb 13 05:18:42 UTC 2007 i686 GNU/Linux

Tags: mt-eval
Revision history for this message
Alex Latchford (alex.latchford) wrote :

Hello Mitja,

Thank you for the bug report, can you please attach two screenshots to this report, one of Firefox outlining the problem font and one of the font within Gnome or KDE which you expect it to be?

Thanks, Alex.

Changed in firefox:
assignee: nobody → admin-yawnster
importance: Undecided → Low
status: Unconfirmed → Needs Info
Revision history for this message
Mitja Pagon (sect2k) wrote :


I've attached only one screenshot, since it it very easy to spot the issue in it.

If you look at the "Application, Places, System" menu, or any other aspect of the GNOME desktop, you can see that the font (DejaVu Sans Condensed, 10pt) is very different, in both size and typeface, than the on in Firefox menu and dialogs (not evident in this screenshot).

While not a show-stopper bug, it certainly decreases the overall polish of the Ubuntu desktop.

Revision history for this message
Alex Latchford (alex.latchford) wrote :

Aha yes,

This was not an issue for me as I am using the default fonts, however if you make a change then it should be reflected in the Firefox GUI, I have set this to confirmed and hopefully it should get looked at sometime soon..

Thanks, Alex.

Changed in firefox:
assignee: admin-yawnster → mozilla-bugs
status: Needs Info → Confirmed
Revision history for this message
Paolo Lacdao (kwapaw) wrote :

I've only just started using Feisty Fawn, and ran into this concern as well. It took a while before I traced it down.

New versions of fonts are also included as part of the updates in a new Ubuntu release. In Edgy, the version of ttf-dejavu included in 2.7-2. In Feisty, 2.14-2 is included. I checked the DejaVu project page to find out what changes were made in between those two versions, and noticed an important change from 2.8 to 2.9. Starting in the 2.9 version, the "condensed" and "extralight" families of the DejaVu font were now treated as styles and not families. This means that from that version on, there is no longer a separate file for "DejaVu Sans Condensed", but rather, it now appears as a style under "DejaVu Sans".

Apparently, Firefox is unable to extract the font style, thus the GUI elements in the application use "DejaVu Sans" instead. If you also wanted your default content font to be "DejaVu Sans Condensed", you wouldn't be able to find it under Edit > Preferences > Content > Fonts & Colors > Advanced. Editing the settings in about:config will work to change the default content font, but the GUI fonts will still not be "DejaVu Sans Condensed".

I wanted a solution to this problem, and thus, what I did was to download the 2.7-2 deb of the ttf-dejavu package from Ubuntu packages ( I know downgrading is generally not recommended, but I wanted a fix. I haven't noticed any problems in using 2.7-2 thus far.

I take this as a Firefox limitation, since the changes in the DejaVu font state why such reclassification was made. Hopefully this could be fixed in future releases.

P.S. By the way, this font concern also applies to the 2.2 version of OpenOffice that is part of the Feisty Fawn release.

Revision history for this message
Disabled Account (disableacc-deactivatedaccount) wrote :

I've changed the bug description to more accurately describe what is going on.

description: updated
Revision history for this message
waker (wakeroid) wrote :

too bad this bug is still unsolved.
the truth is, it's a generic problem with how XUL handles fonts.
it strips off font style (and other parameters), and uses default .ttf file of the family (which is Book in case of DejaVu Sans).
it is the same in case of Lucida Grande font, which consists of 2 .ttf files.
firefox just changes weight of Regular font, instead of taking Bold font (on webpages).
looking at fontconfig trace, firefox never queries Lucida Grande Bold font, but uses Lucida Grande instead.

Revision history for this message
Patryk Bajer (bayger) wrote :

This bug still exists in Ubuntu 9.04 and is so annoying. It ruins visual consistency of the desktop.

Revision history for this message
Kasper Henriksen (infenwe) wrote :

There is a very simple work-around at least. Add the following line to the file ~/.mozilla/firefox/<profiledir>/chrome/userChrome.css:
* { font-family: dejavu sans condensed; }
Unfortunately it doesn't fix the font in the yellow tooltips in the UI (e.g. hover over the toolbar buttons), but that's about the only thing I can spot that it doesn't catch.

Revision history for this message
Thomas Hotz (thotz-deactivatedaccount) wrote :

Does this bug still exist in newer Firefox versions?

Changed in firefox (Ubuntu):
status: Confirmed → Incomplete
Revision history for this message
Eric Ongerth (ericongerth) wrote :

Yes, the same problem is still in effect as of Firefox 20.0 on all of my Ubuntu 12.04 LTS systems including a clean install.

The problem and a successful workaround are described well here:

From reading other bug reports and issue trackers, it appears that application teams (Mozilla and others) and GTK+ developers have pointed at each other, so the problem is stuck in the "probably won't fix" zone and has been for several years now. This is bad for a lot of users who find DejaVu Sans Condensed to be by far the clearest, most readable and comfortable font on their machine, especially for web browsing.

I am sorry that I currently have to trick Firefox into recognizing this font by forcing a font substitution. At least it works, which is more than I can say for Chrome... thus far I have not discovered any way to make DejaVu Sans Condensed available in Chrome's font picker. That issue alone is completely constraining my choice of browsers.

B Bobo (yout-bobo123)
Changed in firefox (Ubuntu):
status: Incomplete → Confirmed
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