Secret to G fonts in LibreOffice on KDE Neon

after font install
January 7, 2020

The list of people who have been burned by this grows daily and still it won’t get fixed in Ubuntu based distros. Work with Linux Libertine in LibreOffice because that used to be the default font. Finish writing your book or other work which needs to be sent out for editing. Send it out to an editor who uses LibreOffice but uses it on Windows. “No problem” you think. “I used a standard LibreOffice font.” Boy have you just gotten screwed!

I went through this little tale myself this past Sunday. Tuesday afternoon now and I can just now sit down for a while. Two hours on the phone trying to decipher why my 598 page book opened as a 900+ page document with bizarre page breaks on their machine.

In their infinite wisdom the boys and girls at Ubuntu (possibly all the way back to Debian itself) have decided to package “Linux Libertine O.” The LibreOffice package from packages “Linux Libertine G.” Do you think the font selection logic could say “Hey! Only the last letter is different, use this one?” Noooo. So instead of looking like this:

how it should have looked

It looks like this:

how it actually looked

Not even close.

I ended up burning the entire day setting up VMs with various flavors of Windows and Ubuntu to test raw installs. I deliberately set up a Ubuntu Mate minimal installation so I wouldn’t get all of the extra baggage that could gunk up the works. After that I pulled down the Linux Libertine font file directly from In the Windows VM I installed 6.3.4 of LibreOffice directly from the LibreOffice Web site.

LibreOffice on Windows

Given the ordeal of the weekend, this is what I expected, the G flavor of the font families. Next I installed LibreOffice in the Ubuntu Mate 18.04 minimal VM.

LibreOffice on Ubuntu Mate

Perfect! Exactly what I expected! So. Move back to my KDE Neon host computer. I uninstall LibreOffice which was installed from the PPA to get a much later version. I use the font management software to manually uninstall all of the Linux Libertine fonts I had installed while troubleshooting the problem. Then I install Libre Office directly from the Web site and reboot. Guess what? No Linux Libertine fonts. (It’s possible I should have rebooted before installing, but still.)

Now I’m ripping my hair out because I don’t want to run in a VM I’ve allotted two CPUs while working on three different books. My editor is going to convert the one he is working on to Liberation Serif and Liberation Sans because thankfully that does match. I just have to worry about the other three.

Oh, I’ve been down a road much like this before. Some yahoo decided to remove FreeTimes from the t1-cyrillic package and I’ve got quite a few books in print which I wrote using that font as primary. &%*&^%*&^ing 12 year old boys being allowed to “maintain” a package for a distro! I used FreeTimes because it looked good and was available everywhere. Not anymore!

Yes, I searched. This has been a looong standing problem in the Ubuntu world. I even found this bug report.

Ubuntu Bug Report

Gotta love a “Won’t Fix” from 2014. Just let the bug rot until it is logged against an unsupported version and you can close it.

So, after much scrambling and diet Mt. Dew consumption I found where LibreOffice gets the font. I pull it down and extract it in my newly rebooted KDE Neon host. I use the font manager to install the font files and vola!

after font install

The only stupid thing I did was not leaving the “O” versions installed. Perhaps it is less stupid than I think right now? The font chooser won’t choose a visually matching font so it should be easy to find scrolling through. I can always use this hack to identify fonts in use. Then use this to search for the place they are used.

Now it is time to write one more blog post then work on those other three books.




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