I recently upgraded my PC from Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx to Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat, using the instructions found on unixmen.com. But as I noted in my earlier article, “Should You Upgrade to Ubuntu Jaunty Jackalope?”, upgrading Ubuntu often breaks things you’ve come to rely on, even as it adds new features and updated software packages.
Sure enough, the Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat upgrade was no exception. While the internal microphone and speakers on my laptop now work (they didn’t in Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx), there were a few minor graphical glitches … the worst of which was that, in my mind, the fonts were all messed up! The words in the title bar and menu bar of each window looked very different, and were harder for me to read.
Here’s what happened and why, and how you can fix it.
Why they changed the fonts in Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat
Apparently Mark Shuttleworth, “self-appointed benevolent dictator for life” of the Ubuntu project, was thinking Ubuntu needed a new logo. But as he explains on his blog, some people on his design team suggested that what Ubuntu really needed was a new font. “One that sets the standard for both professional design, and embracing the values of Ubuntu in the way it’s produced.” That means a completely “open-source” font, that anyone could help to develop and use in their own projects.
The end result, which you can see at font.ubuntu.com (and probably in your windows’ title bars), is very attractive in my opinion, if not as readable as the older fonts. Its licensing is currently a mess, so I don’t know how useful it is to actually put in your own projects. But a lot of people have been helping with it, and they’ve got a ton of glyphs from multiple languages in the new Ubuntu font.
How to change Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat’s fonts back
Go to System -> Preferences -> Appearance from the main menu, then click on the tab that says “Fonts.” This dialog shows you all the fonts that’re used all throughout Ubuntu, and lets you change them. See how it says most of the fonts here are “Ubuntu?” That’s because they’re using the Ubuntu font. We need to change them back.
But wait! What were we using before? It doesn’t say anywhere; it looks like that info is lost to the void. But not quite!
I don’t remember where I found the forum thread that said it, but here’s what you want to do: Change the “Application font,” “Document font,” and “Desktop font” to “Sans,” in size 10. Then change the “Window title font” to “Sans Bold,” again in size 10. Meanwhile, the “Fixed width font” should be “Monospace” in size 10. (I don’t remember all which fonts were changed, so I’m listing all of them here.)
Why don’t they give you the option to change back? Because Ubuntu’s a fast-moving project, and if they did that for everything they’d never get anything done. The idea is that the changes are all supposed to be for the better. But as I’ve known for awhile now, they aren’t always, which is why articles like this are needed.
Read my earlier article, “Should You Upgrade to Ubuntu Jaunty Jackalope?”, for more info on Ubuntu upgrades and how to keep them from breaking things (and make Ubuntu better for everyone). And whether you decide to upgrade or not, I hope you have fun with your Ubuntu computer.