Linux Tip: japanese characters render with small bitmapped font

fixing japanese font issues in linux

This is the first in a series of little linux tidbits that I’ll post. They are for my own benefit, in case I ever get alzheimer’s and need to configure SAMBA or something. If these are of any interest at all to anyone else, it’s a miracle. The problem will be in this summary, the explanation and answer are “below the fold” under “more…”

Japanese characters in gnome2 are renderred using a small, bitmapped font instead of beautiful kochi gothic or mincho.

In gnome2, pango is the system that maps applications’ requests for fonts with the actual fonts. In this case, pango is returning a crappy font instead of the one we want. Specifically, it is returning fonts in /usr/share/fonts/bitmapped-fonts, which are provided by the bitmapped-fonts rpm. You can’t remove the rpm without causing trouble.

page 48 of the character map has the characters in question.

edit /etc/fonts/fonts.conf and unspecify /usr/share/fonts. Respecify only the subdirectories that you want. fonts.conf specifies top-level directories and scans below.

then, run /etc/init.d/xfs reload, and restart all applications that you want to test.